If you’re responsible for employee recruitment in your business or company, you know how important it is to do a thorough assessment of the candidates to ensure you hire the best possible person for the job.
As a considered and integrated part of the recruitment process, DBS checks can be a useful tool to help you add an extra layer of due diligence to candidate backgrounds, making sure that those with an unsuitable or incompatible history are filtered out during the earliest stages.
It’s common practice for employers to verify education and work history, but the appropriate background checks are becoming an important piece of a thorough recruitment process, helping businesses to confirm that they are hiring the right people.
What are DBS checks?
DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service. DBS checks are enquiries to this service as to whether a candidate has any previous history with the DBS. Results from a DBS check reveal whether a candidate has a criminal record, or any warnings or reprimands.
There are three types to choose from:
Basic DBS checks, which cost £25, reveal any unspent convictions (usually recent or serious). These are not legally required but they can be used to make your recruitment process more thorough. You can ask candidates to provide their own Basic Check or you can request one on their behalf with their consent.
A Standard (£26) or Enhanced check (£44) is usually required in jobs where someone is working with children or vulnerable adults, such as teachers, social workers, carers, medical professionals and any jobs that involve working with children.
If the role requires an ‘Enhanced check with list’ the results will show if the applicant’s name is on either the adult or the children’s barred list. Enhanced checks expand on Standard disclosures and include any additional information the local police consider to be relevant to the application.
What do DBS checks reveal?
A DBS check will:
- Reveal any criminal history
A thorough background check will flag any criminal convictions of your candidates so that you can make an informed decision about their suitability for the role in your company.
- Show past infractions
You can check your applicant’s driving record and credit history. If they need to be able to drive for the job they’re applying for, you need to know if this person’s driver’s license has been suspended in the past. You can also get any relevant information regarding the candidate’s credit history, which can be useful if they’re going to be handling company finances.
- Avoid legal liability
If you hire someone without all the facts and they get involved in an accident, you could be legally liable. By investigating the person’s background thoroughly, you’ll know if they have had a DUI or any criminal convictions, so you can make the appropriate decisions.
- Get the full picture of a person
Job interviews rarely give a full or 100% accurate impression of a candidate, especially if the candidate is nervous or desperate for the position. It’s understandable that they want to show their best side, but potential employers need to know if there is anything pertinent that they chose not to mention.
- Protect your employees and customers
In your role as a recruiter, you have a responsibility to not only protect your company’s clients or customers, but also to keep all the other employees and staff safe, especially if there may be children or vulnerable groups on the premises. DBS checks can reveal any backgrounds that suggest the candidate would not make a good addition to the team.
- Integrity check
Background checks can help you tell the difference between candidates who are just putting on a good show during the application process, and genuinely good hires whose CVs match reality.
- Verify certifications and education
Background checks can help to verify any credentials the candidate claims to have. This will help to ensure that you hire people with the relevant qualifications who can actually do the job.
Used appropriately, DBS checks can enhance the recruitment process and help businesses hire the best fit for the role, as well as a positive new addition to your established, happy team.
However, it’s important to note that certain background checks are not always appropriate or even available for all sectors or roles. For jobs working with vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, or disabled people, there are legal requirements about what you must check and what you are allowed to check.
In other positions, it may not be possible to request a DBS check but other types of background checks are available. It’s the role of the recruiter to understand which checks are appropriate or legally required.
A DBS check can enhance and expedite your hiring process. You’ll be able to make sure your candidates are qualified and suitably matched to the job they’re applying for, as you’ll have more of the information you need to make an informed decision. A background check can also help prevent expensive mistakes in hiring the wrong person, as well as strengthening the right applications by verifying the honest candidates.