Your Only Guide To Making Safer Recruitment Decisions With A Background Check


Good decisions are made when the evidence is compelling, and the risks are understood. Unfortunately, recruiting decisions are rarely based on the best available evidence. They are often driven by gut instinct or by limited research and a lack of facts. Although there are not many things in your control, one aspect you can do is performing a background check on potential employees.

What Is A Background Check?

Most countries will require some form of a check for certain positions. Usually, this happens when someone is applying for a job in a sensitive field. Assessments differ from country to country, as do what is included in them. Similarly, the UK offers a Disclosure and Barring Service or DBS check, revealing someone’s criminal history. According to the DBS specialists at, DBS checks can be performed in three different levels in Great Britain, each of which provides varying amounts of information. While individuals can request a “Basic Disclosure” by themselves, the employer must arrange any higher level. Depending on what level of DBS check you opt for, you will discover varying levels of history. It is particularly relevant to the UK since some criminal convictions can become “spent” after a certain amount of time. A Basic Disclosure will only show current criminal records, which might not be enough for some employers who will require a more profound knowledge of the potential employees’ history.

How Are Criminal Convictions Classified In The UK?

Generally speaking, the severity of someone’s punishment will dictate how long it is until a conviction can become spent, if at all. This includes:

  • Any form of community order: 1 Year.
  • Prison sentence up to 6 months: 2 Years.
  • Prison sentence up to 30 months: 4 Years.
  • Prison sentence up to 4 years: 7 Years.
  • Prison sentence 4 years and over: Never spent.

Therefore, according to these times, if you obtained a Basic Disclosure, you would not see any criminal conviction record that has become spent (apart from prison sentences longer than four years, which are never cleared). However, if you were to opt for the Enhanced Disclosure, you would be able to see both spent and unspent records. Your choice will depend on how important it is to understand a person’s history before hiring them.

Why You Need To Conduct A Background Check On Job Applicants

A background check can help your company in several ways. It can help confirm whether a candidate is qualified for the job, it can help you remove applicants who are not suitable for the role, and it can also prevent lawsuits from hiring someone who has committed a crime in the past. There are also some instances when conducting a background check on an applicant is legally required. For example, if you work with children or adults with disabilities, then you will need to complete a background check on prospective candidates before hiring them.

Why You Need To Conduct A Background Check On Job Applicants

Background checks on employees are essential for various reasons, such as if the position you are recruiting for is in a sensitive field. When recruiting for a job that doesn’t require a background check, it is often prudent to conduct at least a basic review to understand who the person is.

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