The Vetting Process – How to Run an Efficient Operation

When it comes to the vetting process, many human resource departments and professionals alike embrace several challenges.

From handling sensitive data, performing background checks, and ensuring the best candidate experience, the process can be intensive and time-consuming.

In this article, we look at the vital components of the vetting process you should consider; the importance of the candidate experience; and the most effective way to handle and process personal data.

Pre-Employment Screening

Arguably the most important aspect of the recruitment process, pre-employment screening ensures you are hiring the right person for the right job.

Pre-employment screening requires you to verify the identity, criminal record, and credentials of a candidate. This process is also known as employment background checks.

There are ten types of background checks you need to consider within your recruitment process. It is important that you define which background checks are relevant to your business.

For example, does your industry demand that your employees must have specific background checks? (e.g. DBS Enhanced checks in the education and care sectors).

Or maybe a DVLA check, if people are driving on behalf of your organisation.

If your company has a robust pre-employment screening process, you are more likely to avoid legal, financial, and reputational consequences.

There are three factors you can look at right now:

  • What level of vetting do you require for each role?
  • Is the candidate being cooperative during this process? If not, the candidate should be rejected from the recruitment process (regardless of how well they interviewed or their skillset)
  • Are you using reputable providers for your background checks? How do they handle information security and personal data?

Post-Employment Screening

Once new employees are onboard, you should incorporate a post-employment screening procedure as part of your vetting process.

This looks at utilising the data you already have and performing checks periodically to minimise legal risks.

Your industry may require you to take out regular criminal record checks. For example, in the care industry, organisations perform DBS enhanced checks annually (some even perform checks every six months). And within the transport industry, DVLA checks are performed regularly to ensure their drivers have not accumulated any points or committed any driving-related offences.

This process goes beyond just background checks. In the digital age, most employees have access to a company’s internal software and platforms (e.g. a CRM system or social). If an employee leaves, what process do you have in place to ensure they no longer have access?

There is also the issue of consent. Even though your new employee is on the books, you have to have their permission to process their data to perform background checks.

Here is a list of factors to consider with post-employment checks:

  • Make sure that the background checks you incorporate are proportionate to the role. For example, is a credit check or DBS check necessary?
  • Obtain consent from new employees to process their data for further checks
  • Ensure you have regular checks in place for your employees. It is recommended to perform some checks more regularly more than other (e.g. DVLA, credit check and criminal record check)
  • Make the process digital. There are automated tools that will allow you to perform regular checks with ease
  • What process do you have in place for employees who leave? (e.g. an exit interview, digital access removal, etc)

The Candidate Experience

The candidate experience is often overlooked when it comes to the vetting process.

Sometimes, the process is often oversimplified. In these cases, companies post a job online (With a good salary, etc), but neglect to consider how they will process hundreds of applications.

Other times, the process is too complicated, with a rigorous 10 to 20 page online application form. A study conducted by Career Builder found that 60% of applicants abandon the recruitment process if it is too complicated.

There are several considerations to ensure an effective candidate experience:

  • Map out the recruitment process. Where will you list the job? What system will you use to manage applications? How will you onboard a new employee?
  • Ease of application. Make the process simple for the candidate, but not too simple (e.g. 1-click application), as you may have to process hundreds or thousands of applications from unsuitable candidates. Make sure to obtain the vital information you need in the first instance
  • Set up automation. This could come in the form of a ‘thank you’ email
  • Make the application process is clear and concise. Limiting this to one page will ensure a higher retention rate
  • Define when the data you have collected needs to be passed to the pre-employment screening process

Utilise Digital Tools to Improve The Vetting Process

HR departments find themselves handling large amounts of data. Both from applicants and employees.

With such a substantial amount of time spent on handling this data, you are in danger of becoming inefficient and potentially lacking in compliance.

If you are finding data handling a problem then you should consider utilising digital tools. Most HR professionals will utilise an applicant tracking service or background screening software at some point in their day-to-day duties.

When it comes to software procurement, there are several questions you should ask:

  • Will the software provider have/need access to your company’s IT system?
  • How does the provider handle sensitive data? Are they accredited to any standards (e.g. ISO27001, information security)?
  • How long is the integration process? Will there be any downtime? What are the fees?
  • How can we use this software to add value to what we do?
  • What do clients say about the software?
  • Where can I find reviews?
  • What is the availability of their support? (e.g. 24/7, Monday to Friday), etc.
  • What are the payment terms?

The Vetting Process – Data-Handling and Processing

With numerous applications, employees, and data, it can be easy for mistakes to happen.

This is particularly the case when roles, candidates and the background checks required are so different.

The key here is to maintain records that are accessible, legible, and clearly understood by all involved personnel.

Smaller organisations tend to utilise Microsoft Excel as a cost-effective method to tracking applications and handling data. The success of an Excel-based process depends on the skillset of the individual. In addition, it is important that you implement a process and procedure for maintaining data in this way. And consider how compliant such a method is.

It is recommended to look into systems that are built to manage applications and process background checks.

There is free software available, which can make the application process more efficient, whilst maintaining compliance. We offer this on the form of Employment Check Lite.

For organisations where there is a firm emphasis on performing regular background checks, we offer Employment Check Pro. Pro automates the process and makes every aspect fast, easy and removes all the time-consuming tasks associated with vetting.

For more information on our products, visit


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