How pre-employment screening keeps your business safe

How pre-employment screening keeps your business safe
When you think of keeping your business safe when bringing on someone new, your first thought may be simply of protecting against fraud and theft. You wouldn’t be wrong. In fact, Natwest has reported that in 2018, UK firms reported more cases of fraud and cybercrime than any other nation except Colombia, with the most common crime being the misappropriation of funds by someone inside the company. However, that’s not the only risk you need to protect your business from, and that’s where pre-employment screening comes in.

Despite many organisations beginning to view pre-employment screening as an essential practice within the recruitment process, it is less common for employers to have a full understanding of just how valuable it actually is in keeping your business safe, and what it actually keeps you safe from. But don’t worry, we are here to let you in on the bigger picture.

First of all, what is pre-employment screening?

Pre-employment screening is when an employer undertakes, or engages a third party, to conduct a number of checks to ensure your new starter isn’t going to turn into a negligent hire. Here at Reed screening, our most common checks include Right to Work, references, Police checks and credit checks, and you may be surprised to know that, on average, a whopping 6/10 of the checks we conduct flag something which would have been an issue to the employer.

What is Negligent Hiring?

In a nutshell, the main purpose to pre-employment screening is to reduce the risk of negligent hiring; this is the term used when an employer takes on a member of staff who then causes a problem to the company, another employee or even your customers, and your screening or vetting is found to have been inadequate.

With negligent hiring applying as much to troublemakers as it does to candidates who lack compliance and qualifications, pre-employment screening works to not only ensure your new starter remains compliant with UK Law and any industry specific requirements, but ultimately aims to ensure your candidate can be trusted.


It is beyond crucial that all businesses remain compliant with UK Law, with the penalty for failing to do so not only holding a large monetary value, but large reputational and personal consequences also.

As a key example, the UK Government states that “you can be penalised if you employ someone who does not have the right to work and you did not do the correct checks, or you did not do them properly”. In this case, you may have to pay a fine of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker.

Along with UK Law, some industries and roles require further qualifications and licenses to remain compliant. For example, to become a Teacher in England your employee must have a degree and have gained Qualified Teacher Status, having completed Initial Teacher Training.

Protect your Current Workforce and Customers

Part and parcel of being an employer is being responsible for the wellbeing and safeguarding of your workforce and it is therefore crucial to ensure new starters, particularly those in managerial positions, hold the appropriate skills and qualifications to perform in their roles. It can seriously harm your employees to appoint an inappropriate team leader, causing harm to their morale and motivation whilst disrupting team performance.

Aside from that, it is crucial to ensure an open and honest work environment where all members of the team feel comfortable to be themselves regardless of their race, background, religion or any other protected characteristics. Screening can provide a clearer picture of your candidate, including if they have a history of discriminatory or violent behaviour both within or outside of the workplace, or present prejudice and extremist views online. This pre-employment due diligence can avoid instances of bullying, discrimination and more.

In a very literal way, it is also important to keep your workforce and customers physically safe, with a recent example of this being reported in The Guardian as the sexual abuse and exploitation of local women by international aid workers. Sarah Champion, chair of the IDC, said: “Our inquiry has found that abuse of beneficiaries is rife, and that the sector has effectively become the last safe haven for perpetrators”, and that sexual predators could still be rehired due to inadequate safeguarding mechanisms. The consequences of actions like these are huge for victims of physical or sexual abuse, and it is your responsibility as an employer to safeguard your employees and customers, starting with proper pre-employment screening.

Security and Fraud Protection

We mentioned at the start of this blog that fraud, theft and cybercrime were very valid concerns when bringing in a new member of the team, and there is a serious threat to your business should a bad hire attempt any of these crimes. Negligent employees or contractors are reported to be the Number 1 cause of data breaches.

As an example of how easy it is for an employee to wreak havoc within your business, let’s go back to 2014 when all 100,000 staff members at the much-loved supermarket Morrison’s had their payroll data leaked by a vengeful employee. This horrific incident not only landed the employee in jail, but cost Morrison’s £2 million to investigate and remediate, including plenty of compensation to rightfully angry members of the workforce. Although the employee’s actions were eventually ruled as having been unpredictable by the Supreme Court in 2020, this case used a lot of Morrison’s resources to fight, and just shows how important it is to safeguard against data leaks and fraud.

Pre-employment screening is an essential first step in doing so by catching any new starter who may have a history of this type of conduct, or who may even have been convicted of fraud in the past.


Unfortunately, a majority of job seekers admit to having lied on their CV about something.

To give you a little insight, we’ve pulled a few stats from job giant Monster:

  • 60% said they had mastery in skills they had basic knowledge of
  • >50% said they worked at some jobs longer in order to omit an employer
  • 45% gave a false reason for leaving a job
  • 25% made up relevant experiences
  • 25% used a director title when the actual title was a manager
  • 25% claimed they had a degree from a prestigious university instead of their own

This means employers have to be on their toes and not take candidates at face value, delving deeper into their claims and experience. By conducting proper pre-employment screening, you are not only able to verify their claims and ensure they are suitable for the job, but also assess their integrity and honesty. An employee who tries to deceive at this early stage in your professional relationship will not be a trustworthy hire.

But don’t panic.

Here at Reed Screening, we are experts in pre-employment screening and are ready to help you protect your business, no matter your size.  Get in contact today to discuss your screening needs or check out our on-demand screening packages to get started today.