Why pre-employment screening is vital – a blog by Ashish John Soreng, Operations Manager

Why pre-employment screening is vital – a blog by Ashish John Soreng, Operations Manager

Pre-employment screening is a notoriously resource-heavy element of the recruitment process – but one that businesses cannot afford to skimp on.

It’s universally accepted that candidates should be both legally and practically able to do the role that they are being placed into. However, in today’s competitive job market, it’s unsurprising that some jobseekers can have a tendency to stretch the truth, or fail to disclose important information. In fact, according to data from Safe Staffing, up to 75% of all applications contain some inaccurate information.

As the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) advises, pre-employment checks are designed to minimise the risk of employing the wrong person and a crucial step in the recruitment process, reducing the chance of hiring employees who might cause difficulties for the organisation, its employees, customers and suppliers. For this reason, the professional body stresses that employers need to “exercise due diligence in all cases, conducting pre-employment checks in a legal, ethical manner that consistently values fact over opinion.”

While many pre-employment checks are simply designed to determine if candidates possess the right experience and qualifications to carry out their duties and responsibilities, in some instances - for example, within the NHS or financial services - background checks are a statutory requirement.

However, regardless of the legalities, there is no doubt that sufficient vetting can safeguard against bad publicity, reputational damage, fraud and theft to protect not only employers, but also the end consumers who will be in direct contact with the candidates.

Here at Sopra Steria Recruitment, our screening tools are compliant with the GDPR legislation and can be personalised in line with client requirements. Data security is our priority and our screening process is designed in such a way that all the information is centrally managed through a secure online portal. In 2017, we carried out almost 3,000 candidate screening and vetting checks on behalf of our clients, saving them valuable time and resource with onboarding activity. In fact, one client reported an 18% reduction in their traditional full vetting cycle time.

At best, employers who fail to undertake requisite pre-employment checks risk wasting time and resources on unsuitable candidates, or failing to fulfil client briefs. At worst, they could be breaking the law.

In the inevitable rush to get a seemingly perfect candidate placed, it can be easy to overlook small details. But due diligence at the earliest stages of the recruitment process is crucial. Employers must put in place solid procedures to reduce risk which cover every relevant check as part of the pre-employment screening process. While the concept of checking that candidates are suitably qualified and able to work in the role that they are being recruited for may sound obvious, jobseekers can slip through the net if sufficient processes are not put in place. Best practice recruitment means hiring on facts not instinct, and the reputational risk associated with getting it wrong should not be underestimated.

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