Going through the process of background checks in the UK, whether as a prospective employee or an employer, can be a complex process. There are lots of myths about background checks, which vary hugely between job positions. Many people think a background check is the same as a DBS or CRB check – there is some crossover between the two, but they are separate processes. Here’s everything you need to know about background checks, including what sort of information you can find out by yourself.
Right to Work Checks
Right to Work is a procedure to work out whether an employee has the legal right to work in the United Kingdom. This is a check which you don’t really need to carry out on yourself. If you have a British passport, you are legally allowed to work in the UK. People on a foreign passport and in the UK with a visa will be well aware of their responsibilities and whether they have restrictions on remaining in the UK and working here.
Criminal Record Checks
Criminal checks are done through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), formerly known as Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). The type of DBS check required depends on the specific laws and regulations applicable to the industry. Anyone can ask for a basic DBS check, and you can ask for one on yourself. The Basic DBS check will show any unspent convictions or cautions, but again it is unlikely that you will have a serious or recent criminal matter on your record which you are unaware of.
Getting references from former employers is highly recommended for all employers to make sure that they are not hiring unsuitable staff and avoiding unnecessary expenditure. Although you cannot get references on yourself, you can make sure there are not exaggerations or lies on your CV which might be contradicted by a reference.
Similar to employment references, educational checks make sure that candidates have the qualifications, skills and knowledge which they are claiming. If you are claiming to have a degree when you haven’t, this will be uncovered in a check.
These checks are common in the financial sector to understand a candidate's financial situation and reduce fraud risks. There are lots of websites and apps which will let you sign up and see what information might be revealed about you on a credit check.
Individuals driving on behalf of a company, or have a company car, a DVLA licence check is often needed. This check verifies whether you have a licence, or points on a licence. This is something you will know about already without having to request a separate check.
Social Media Screening
The increasing use of social media for background research means that it’s worth conducting an audit of your own accounts. Search up your Insta, Facebook and Twitter accounts from a logged-out device and see just what impression any public posts give about you. Delete anything unsuitable before submitting your application.