In the UK, there are over 32.8 million people who are currently employed in 2023. That’s a crazy amount of individuals who are constantly seeking out new opportunities in other companies and swapping industries – not to mention all the graduates and other young adults who regularly join the labour market. 

This keeps HR professionals who are on the lookout for new staff insanely busy, and sometimes it can be hard to take a breath and reflect on whether the very best candidates are actually being hired. 

A robust pre-employment screening method can make all the difference. Instead of leaving anything to chance, background checks can validate candidates’ credentials, ensuring you get the full picture before making them an offer.

pre-employment screening
Image by pressfoto on Freepik

What should pre-employment screening checks include? 

Below we have listed the most common checks. Not all of them may be applicable to the position you are trying to fill, but most of them will. 

  • Right to work
  • Identity verification
  • Criminal History Check
  • Employment References 
  • Qualification Checks
  • Social Media Checks
  • Credit Check
  • Driving License Check

The Background Checks All Businesses Should Undertake

Right to work

The UK Government tells us that it is mandatory for candidates to prove to employers that they have the right to work in the UK. This means employers are required to carry out checks to verify if candidates meet the criteria. Otherwise, hefty fines can be a consequence of negligence. 

Organisation is key to keeping everything above board. Whether that’s in the form of an internal system or the use of a pre-employment screening agency, keeping things organised can ensure efficiency and accuracy. 

Identity Verification

Most organisations perform identity verification checks, no matter what role they are hiring for. Because of this, we don’t need to go into great detail about how crucial this check is, as the majority of businesses already implement it. 

Criminal History Check

A DBS Check is used to check an individual’s criminal history in the United Kingdom. Other countries typically call this check a ‘criminal history check’. 

This is incredibly important if the job being offered requires the candidate to work with vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, disabled or children. Because obtaining this information can sometimes be challenging, it’s best to reach out to an agency that can do the checks for the business you work for.    

Employment References 

Experience is one of the top factors that can determine if a candidate is offered the role they have applied to or not, but you probably knew this already. 

However, did you know that only 87% of recruiters conduct employment reference checks? If the company you work for is one of the 13% that does not carry out this type of check, well, you can guess what we are going to say – add it to the list!

Qualification Checks

Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, has found that in 2023 1 in every 11 people lied on their CV about their education background. Yep, you read that right. 

Obviously, this is a major red flag if a candidate is giving you false information, but without checking if the qualifications are legitimate, you run the risk of them getting away with it, which could lead to poor performance when they are actually in the role.

Therefore, it’s vital that your pre-employment screening process includes a thorough check of an individual’s qualifications to determine if it is correct. 

Checks that are sometimes necessary

Social Media Checks

As long as you have permission from the candidate, carrying out social media checks can provide further insight into whether their interests align with the company’s culture. 

At the end of the day, employees always represent the company they are working for. Therefore, this type of check can provide confidence that the individual shares the same values as the business. 

Credit Checks

Credit checks are best used when filling finance roles and positions that come with great power. They show the following information that can be used to decide if the candidate is suitable for the role:

  • How much the person owes to creditors
  • If payments are being met
  • If they applied for credit recently
  • Whether they have been bankrupt in the past

Irresponsible handling of personal finance is a clear indication that an individual should not be managing a business’s finances. 

Driving License Check

If the role requires driving or has a workplace that can only be accessed by driving, checking a candidate’s license is ideal. So it is a good idea to add this to the list to prevent hiring someone who is constantly turning up for work late or is actively breaking the law by driving around without a valid license. 


Pre-employment screening checks are an important part of the arsenal used to seek out high-grade candidates. By using the ones that provide the most value to your business, top-tier candidates can be found and offered roles within the company, creating the perfect recipe for success.