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Pre-employment Screening

Recruitment practices have changed an awful lots over the decades and thankfully so. While some recruitment drives were woefully lacking, others delved far deeper – and more intrusively – than could possibly be believed today. Notes were made on physical appearance, marital status and its implications, pronunciation, even the way a candidate held their hat during interview. Okay, so that last one isn’t true, but it might has well have been.

The fact is that these types of questions did not determine whether an applicant was actually suited to the role and as we know, that’s the point of entire recruitment process. Fortunately today, recruitment practices hold this to their core and as such, certain elements are protected by legislation.

Yet it is because of this seemingly never-ending legislation that some recruiters remain fearful, anxious that they might ask the wrong question or imply something that discriminates. It is for these people that the following should come in handy: three key steps that recruiters should not forget, if they want to correctly and legally find the right person for the job.

Be clear in the job advert

To avoid any misunderstandings and attract the relevant applicants, it is crucial that a job advert clearly states the job’s responsibilities, preferably with an attached job description. Titles can be ambiguous – coordinator, assistant, leader, specialist all translate very differently in real life. Therefore, to focus your applicant pool and not waste other people’s time, make your ad indisputable. It helps also to specify the salary range as this too is an indicator of the level of the role; too many people have spent time on pain-stakingly perfect applications only to discover that the role on offer is below their current one. It’s not fair to raise people’s hopes then dash them.

Pre-employment screening

Leafing through a CV or an application form is all very well but far from sufficient when trying to establish if an applicant has the skills and experience to carry out your role. That’s where pre-employment screening comes in – one step up from simply reference gathering, this involves a team of experts who will obtain employment, residential, personal and educational checks so that you know that your candidate is a respectable individual that hasn’t embellished on their CV. These checks can also unearth – unsavoury as it sounds – any past criminal or fraudulent activity, they type of which would affect their ability to do the role. Not carrying out such checks is, frankly, irresponsible in this day and age.

Verify a candidate’s identity

This is one step that causes many recruiters to worry: checking an individual is who they say they are. However, employers are legally obliged to ensure that their entire workforce are entitled to live and work in the UK. Thus taking a copy of an applicant’s passport at interview stage is fully within your rights. Those found employing illegal workers can face severe penalties. There are guidelines on the web that show the sorts of stamps and visas which are allow a person to work in the UK and what to do in the event that a candidate does not have adequate permissions (i.e. applying for a visa on their behalf). It’s imperative that such checks are carried out; the current fine stands at £10,000 per illegal employee.

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