Due diligence for hiring managers: get to know your new recruit

Hiring a new member of staff is a big decision.  Interview selection processes help businesses get to know a potential new recruit, but how do you really know you’re hearing the full truth? This post covers the basics of due diligence for hiring managers to help you decide what checks to carry out.

Remember, if you decide to implement due diligence checks as part of your onboarding process for new hires, please ensure these are conducted fairly and consistently. 

During the interview process

  • Firstly, look for consistency within a candidate’s answers, especially from one stage of the process to the next.  If you spot any differences in answers then politely recheck with the candidate – it’s easy to mishear or misunderstand. If you’re still not satisfied, then further checks may be required
  • In addition, let candidates know if you plan to conduct reference checks and ideally, explain when and how.  Candidates can start thinking about who might be able to provide a professional reference and gather any supporting documentation, like exam certificates.  Be explicit about the methods you use and seek their consent where appropriate. A candidate must be aware you will take this into consideration if it impacts a hiring decision
  • Finally, before final stage interviews are held (and with each candidate’s permission) check their online footprint.  If they have a LinkedIn profile, compare it to the CV you’ve been provided – make sure that dates & employers match.  You may also come across news articles or a blog post they’ve written, which can be interesting conversation points during a final stage interview.

After an offer has been made

  • In the UK, all companies must check that employees have the legal right to work here.  You must see the original documentation and take copies in the presence of the applicant. There’s more information on what documents are acceptable and what to watch out for on Gov.uk
  • For graduate hires or positions that require specific qualifications, you may want to ask for copies of certificates.  It’s helpful to see original copies of these and you may want to keep a copy on file.  Be reasonable when requesting these, they should be pertinent to the role, not simply a nice-to-have
  • It’s common to ask for references from previous employers. Employment reference checks usually include basic facts about a person’s employment such as dates and job title, as well as details of any absence taken and the reason for leaving.  Previous employers are not obliged to provide a reference, so you can request this but cannot insist upon it.

What happens if references aren’t complete or there’s a red flag?

A robust due diligence process incorporates multiple data points to build a full picture of the candidate’s profile. In this way, if one piece cannot be completed, there are still other opportunities to complete the information required.

Make sure that all employment offers are made subject to receipt of satisfactory references and proof of right to work in the UK. That means in the event that due diligence checks are incomplete or serious concerns have been flagged, an employment offer can potentially be withdrawn.  Bear in mind that candidates have the right to request copies of references provided from the author. Under certain circumstances, candidates can make a tribunal claim if they suspect they have been discriminated against.

Any concerns that you have as a result of conducting due diligence checks should ideally be discussed with the candidate directly. For example, you can agree to add or extend a probationary period within the contract of employment. 

For more advice on due diligence for hiring managers, please drop us an email to info@hertalis.com or fill in an enquiry form.  We offer free, confidential consultations by phone, plus complimentary reference checking for any business with under 50 employees.  

Photo by Agence Olloweb on Unsplash

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