The importance of pre-employment background checking

Pre-employment background checking can highlight potential problems with a prospective employee prior to appointment. This is vital as it could save your organisation time, money and reputational damage.

Conducting thorough background checks on the staff you employ could help your company avoid negligent hiring. In addition, and (perhaps) more importantly, certain background checks are a legal requirement – for example, FCA-regulated roles demand that the individual in a controlled function is ‘fit and proper’ to work in that role, with the onus on your firm to provide proof that the candidate meets the FCA’s guidelines.  Another legal obligation for all UK employees (national or otherwise), which is commonly overlooked or incorrectly conducted, is the Right to Work in the UK check. The rules around conducting this check are subject to change and must be fully compliant with current guidance and legal requirements. Failure to produce evidence of the necessary Right to Work checks when requested can lead to a fine of up to £20,000 for each employee you are found to be employing illegally.


Increasingly, individuals at all levels of an organisation have access to vast amounts of confidential information relating to your business, and potentially your clients’ businesses. There is therefore a clear opportunity for fraud and/or other misconduct by employees, which could have serious consequences for your company both in terms of reputation and financial penalties. Background checking is extremely important when considering honesty and integrity.


In many cases, background checks will identify no cause for concern and will simply provide reaffirmation that the correct decision has been made in selecting the best candidate for the role. However, should they reveal an unforeseen problem you would be provided with the opportunity to take whatever action you deemed appropriate prior to the appointment of a new staff member – an opportunity you may not be able to afford to miss.


Background screening is not an option, it is essential - at minimum, you must conduct all legally required checks. If in doubt, Buzzacott’s HR Consultancy team will help you to establish the appropriate types and levels of screening necessary based on the nature of your organisation and the position being filled, with services ranging from qualification checks to criminal record checks (and many more in between), offered nationally and internationally.


If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the background checking services we offer, please reach out to your usual Buzzacott contact or fill in the form below.

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