Why employee background screening is vital to the recruitment process


Written by Kerry Redmond

17th February 2020

Over the last few years a growing number of employers have introduced employee background screening policies into their recruitment process. A number of factors have likely contributed to this increase. Industries are having to adhere to an increasing level of compliance and regulation, from safety certification to diversity accreditation. The advent of social media has also required employers to consider what type of people their candidates are outside of work; social media checks have become common place for many employers in today’s digital age.

As pre-employment checks appear to be showing no signs of slowing down, we discuss why employee background screening has become so important and what types of background checks are essential for certain industries and employers. We’ll also identify where discrepancies might be found whilst conducting background checks and general checks that every employer should carry out to ensure they are hiring the right candidate. 

Why carry out background screening?

Improved security and safety of employees / clients / suppliers

Whatever industry or sector your business might work in, ensuring that every employee, client, supplier or third-party company that your business works with is safe, is one the most important responsibilities that you as an employer has. Threats to safety can come in many different shapes and sizes, from physical safety in the work environment to cyber security and the safety of digital assets. Conducting checks like criminal record checks or conducting past employer research can be useful checks to assess whether a candidate is safe to employ.

Regulatory compliance

For many employers working within specific industries, conducting employee background screening checks is essential in order to pass strict regulation. Failure to carry out the mandatory background checks can pose severe risks for employers. Typically, there are around five general industries that require mandatory background screening check, those are:

  • Government (local and central)
  • Financial Services and Insurance
  • Healthcare/Medical Industry
  • Nuclear
  • Transportation including Aviation and Rail

For many employers working within these industries there are often multiple phases of screening checks that must be conducted to satisfy regulation. If regulation affects your industry and you would like to find more information about screening processes, visit our services section here.

Better quality of hires

Perhaps one of the most important benefits, employee background screening checks provides employers with is the assurance that they are hiring the right employees. Implementing a screening policy has helped many employers save time and resources in sourcing the right employees and has made their recruitment processes far more efficient. According to a report conducted in 2017, the average time it took employers in the UK to make a new hire was 36 days. Last year the average employee turn-over rate was around 15%. This results in a lot of wasted time for employers trying to find and retain qualified employees. Putting in that bit of extra work at the beginning can save a considerable amount of time and resources further on down the recruitment line. Morson Screening Services was created with this in mind, the team provide tailored screening processes for employers working within various sectors. The average screening turnaround time for employers who work with Morson Screening Services is 7 days.

Improvement of company reputation

Conducting pre-employment screening checks ensures that your employees are safe, and your recruitment processes are efficient. These are two valuable attributes that will be associated with your business if you have the right processes in place. It works on two levels:

  1. Employee Value Proposition – good retention rates, ensuring that your workforce is safe and that everybody is vetted and carefully considered before they are employed shows potential candidates that you as an employer value your employees and are dedicated to creating a safe working environment.
  2. Clients – an efficient recruitment process, high employee retention rates and vetted employees proves to potential and existing clients that your business is responsible and forward thinking. Choosing to invest a bit more time in the beginning to ensure a more efficient process and better results in the end.


Types of background screening checks

  • Employment Referencing – this a basic but important background check that every employer should conduct. Assessing a candidate’s employment history is a great indicator of what they are like as an employee. Validating every reference can be difficult and a time-consuming process for many employers. Morson Screening Services provides full employment referencing checks plus validation and employment gap analysis, to ensure you have a concise and honest representation of every candidate.


  • Identity/Right to work – the right to work check is a mandatory pre-employment check that every candidate must pass before they can be employed. According to the Government guidelines all employers must; see the applicant’s original right to work documents. Check that the documents are valid. Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date they made the check.


  • Criminal Record Checks – these checks can be mandatory for certain industries such as education, law or public services. But any employer can request that a DBS check is conducted during a pre-screening process, as long as legitimate interest is satisfied. The check can sometimes cause a in delay the hiring process as records from the DBS database have to be sourced and returned to the employer, which can take a few weeks and require additional time and resources spent collecting the information. Through Morson Screening, we receive a “content” or “no content” response directly from the DBS within a matter of days, with the certificate to follow.


  • Professional Qualifications – this check is common place for many employers, especially when hiring for senior or specialist roles. It can often be difficult for employers to validate a candidate’s qualifications, and many employers choose to oversee this important process. Morson Screening Service has a dedicated professional qualification validation checking system that uses a data led validation platform to ensure every qualification is genuine and validated.


  • Financial Profiling  – for any employer working within the financial sector, conducting financial history checks is a vital part of the screening process. At Morson Screening Services we provide financial summary reports on candidates, both basic and more in detail reports. The reports are designed to flag any adverse financial history such as: bankruptcy, CCJ’s, IVA’s and offers a full credit report. The more detailed reports check FCA records and also contain a sanction check and directorship search.


  • Social Media – social media checks have become much more common place over the last five years. It is reported that 70% of employers now conduct social media checks on every candidate they process. Social media checks are a great way of limiting potential damage to your company’s reputation, especially within certain public facing industries.

Morson Screening Services provides all of the pre-screening checks listed above and much more. For more information about we can help you, get in touch with Kerry.redmond@morson.com.

Where might discrepancies be found?

With every pre-employment check there is a chance that a discrepancy might be found. But that is what the checks are designed to do.  It is important to understand what kind of discrepancies will be flagged with specific checks.

Previous employment – here likely discrepancies can appear when a candidate has several missing references. As employers are by law prohibited from leaving a bad reference, they will often refuse to give a reference, if a candidate has multiple missing references then this could be an indicator that there has been recurring issue with past employment. Another discrepancy could be false contact details, this is why it is important to check all the contact information provided as false information could be an indicator that a candidate is also providing false references.

Professional / Educational Certificates – false certification has proven a recurring issue for many employers in the past. Some pre-screening policies fail to prioritise verifying certification or what a candidate has stated on their CV or application. For some industries such medical, financial or educational this can result in harsh penalties for employers who fail to verify a candidate’s certification.

Financial History – for employers working within the finance sector, ensuring that a candidate’s financial history is verified and compliant with industry regulation is vital. Discrepancies can often appear when a candidate is untrue or fails to highlight adverse financial history. This however can often be found with a thorough credit check and financial summary report.

Criminal Checks – criminal checks are a mandatory part of many screening processes. Discrepancies here can be found mainly when a candidate is dishonest or fails to mention any active or pending criminal records or history in their application. A DBS check will typically recover any criminal history, so it is always important to confirm a candidate’s criminal history with an official DBS check. There are 4 different types of DBS (basic, standard, enhanced, enhanced with barred lists) all of which return different amounts of information on criminal history. Ability to perform more in-depth DBS checks is dependent upon the role the individual is going into.

For many employers, ensuring that every candidate they recruit is fully screened and to a standard that meets industry regulation can be a daunting task to undertake. The amount of time and resources required to fully integrate a pre-employment screening process that covers every requirement can be costly and not the most efficient use of time. Morson Screening Services has been designed to provide pre-employment screening services that cover any requirement an employer may have.

If you would like to learn more about Morson Screening Services and how we can help your business, get in touch today at Kerry.redmond@morson.com

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