The Importance of Being Honest or Pre-Employment Screening

When you start a new job, your employer may wish to carry out a number of checks. The number and type of checks will normally depend on the type of a job you are going to do and the sector you will be employed in. The more senior your role is, the more enhanced the checks are likely to be.

No matter what role you have applied for, the key to a successful background screening is 100% honesty and disclosure of all required information. Hide a few facts and be prepared to face new challenges or even risk your job offer withdrawal. Unfortunately, in our recruitment career we had to withdraw offers on a number of occasions and every time it was a painful process for all parties, not to mention the consequences for the candidate.

Employment Screening
Identity Checks and Identity Verification

The aim of these checks is to:

– Verify the individual’s details against those on the Electoral Roll
– Provide confidence that the candidate the firm is dealing with is who they say they are
– Ensure all subsequent reference checks are viable
– Verify a candidate’s current and up to two previous addresses 

Employment Checks

These checks are one of the core ones and it’s important to get them right. The check would normally include verification of employment/work activity for the previous 5 years for permanent jobs, and 3 years for temp/contract jobs. These checks aim to verify the place of work, date and capacity of employment of a prospective hire.

Education Checks

Education verification removes doubts over qualifications and ensures that the new recruits have the correct credentials for the job. This check will include verification of the main education and professional / additional qualification the new hire has obtained to date.

Criminal records checks

Criminal record checks are important, whether they are mandatory for the role or not. A Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) disclosure will reveal if a person has convictions that would make an employer consider them unsuitable to do a specific job, such as a criminal history, convictions of theft, fraud or dishonesty.

Health Screening

This check would normally require a prospective employee to fill in a straightforward questionnaire and declare any medical conditions they might have. Disclosure of these conditions would not lead to discrimination of a future employee but would assist an employer to make reasonable adjustments to work station / work patterns of the new hire.

Credit Checks

This data can highlight any financial red flags, such as bankruptcies and other adverse data, which can provide valuable warning signs into a candidate’s character and suitability. This is particularly vital for the roles in financial and professional services sector (eg. Banking, legal etc).  

Failure to pass any of the above mentioned checks may result in the job offer withdrawal.

Employee Pre-Employment Screening

How does one prepare for background checks? 

  • Ensure that information on your CV is 100% accurate with no qualification or employment “enhancements”. Pay particular attention to education, professional qualifications and job titles.
  • Only specify current memberships with professional bodies or provide further information if you are no longer a member.
  • Ensure that information you submit in the Pre-employment questionnaire matches the information on your CV. If at the moment of receiving a job offer you’ve realised that your CV is not an accurate representation of yourself and your past activities, offer any clarifying information to your employer.
  • Make sure the job titles for your previous employments are accurate. Be prepared to clarify the discrepancy if found, as many employers use vague or generic job titles in their HR systems. You can be employed as a Senior Business Analyst but your official job title can be a humble “ Analyst”.
  • Make sure you declare any criminal records you have had over the period of time covered by screening, even if the charges against you have been dropped or you’ve served the sentence. Hide a tiny detail here and you are most likely to lose the job as your honesty and integrity will be questioned. This is particularly important if you are applying for jobs in Financial or Professional Services sectors. Once your offer is withdrawn, your reputation will suffer, so 100% disclosure and honesty is a must when filling in this section in the screening questionnaire.
  • If you had financial problems in the past, ensure you provide full details in the credit checks section and offer further information if required.
  • If employment history has gaps of 6 months or more, you will need to provide information for those periods. The best and most used explanations “Career break”, “Study leave”, “Travel”. You are likely to be asked to provide a character reference for this period. You can ask your accountant or bank manager to do so.
  • Salary checks: most of the companies will not confirm your previous salary to your future employer. However, you need to be 100% sure that this is the company’s policy before “inflating” your salary by 10- 25%.
  • Majority of the companies will not provide any information on your past performance, attendance etc. However, more often, than not, hiring managers obtain this sort of intelligence through their professional networks or personal contacts.

Blue Fox Recruit is flat fee recruitment provider with years of experience in the UK and EMEA markets. We will be happy to provide further advice to all our candidates and clients.

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