Is a CV enough these days? Should businesses do their own background checks before hiring

Is a CV enough these days? Should businesses do their own background checks before hiring.jpeg



Labour turnover is on the rise. According to research carried out by recruiter Robert Half UK, more than a third of HR directors have seen a rise in staff turnover in the last three years.

Whether replacing staff or adding new team members the recruitment process is usually expensive. Even if a business advertises for free and opts to recruit in-house rather than via an agency, the time consumption is still a factor.

For a small business recruiting is a drain on resources and moreover, hiring the wrong candidate can be extremely costly.


So how do you avoid it?

The simple answer is that you can’t. How can you truly get to know an individual before they begin working for you? Ability and experience is proven on the job, trust is built and personality traits appear over time. However, what you can do is ensure you give enough time and consideration to the recruitment process, to feel confident in your selection.

The CV is a great starting place. Some believe the CV to be antiquated and on its way out, but for me the traditional CV is the place I can access all the important info at a glance. Many interviews will be handed out based purely on a scan of a CV.

I think you can tell a lot from a CV. First and foremost, the CV outlines the candidate’s staying power in previous position/s. I am always cautious of candidates who have job-hopped at regular intervals. Ambition is one thing, and flexibility a positive, but if I am investing time and money into recruiting I want to know my new addition will be committed.

A manager will dissect a CV according to the role they are recruiting for. For example, when hiring mechanics for the workshop I am looking at technical qualifications and work experience. If I’m hiring administrative staff I am checking their attention to detail, grammar and the appearance of the CV. A salesperson must be able to sell his or herself.

But what about further candidate research, should we be digging a little deeper before we hire?


Social Media

According to research conducted by online recruiter CareerBuilder more than half of employers screen potential candidates using social media platforms.

Furthermore, a study by YouGov Omnibus claims that one in five employers have rejected a potential candidate due to what they have seen on their online activity. Aggressive or offensive language, drug usage and inappropriate photographs are among the key offenders in putting potential employers off.



Conversely, a carefully cultivated online presence could pay handsomely and reward the diligent individual with a job offer.

Depending on the digital footprint of candidates, there may be information readily available to potential employers online, admittedly it’s tempting to delve. Social media profiles can provide an insight into personality, qualifications, previous work life and generally whether that person might be a cultural ‘fit’ within the company.

Whilst social media can be telling, it can also deviate from reality. We all have friends who appear differently in person than they do on their social media profiles, and for this reason social media as a recruitment tool should be handled with some care.

Additionally, as data protection policies become tighter, companies conducting social media searches should keep abreast of current laws.


Background checks

Many companies run additional background checks on candidates at some point during the recruitment process. This may be at CV review, interview stage, or the job offer may be subject to background checks.

No one size fits all, it really depends on the industry and the type of vacancy. Of course in some sectors additional screening is mandatory, such as childcare, healthcare or finance. At the very least a business must check whether a candidate is legally eligible to work in the UK and if the role involves driving, check their licence for validity.

For businesses without such requirements, additional checks are a useful approach to strengthening the recruitment process, and are now becoming more common across the board, often the services of a third party screening provider will be employed.

Should you decide to go ahead with background screening, ensure you obtain candidate consent and keep up to date with Government and data protection policies.



Reference checks are as old as the hills, and for good reason, don’t let this important stage slip through the net.

A previous employer holds the key to all sorts of inside knowledge on a candidate. From timekeeping to reasons for leaving and importantly their work performance.

A candidate may look good on paper but perform disappointingly at interview, or vice versa. Further information from past employers will be helpful in such circumstances, it’s easy to dismiss a potential star employee down to interview nerves or recruit an over-confident interviewee who functions poorly on the job.

If a referee tells me that they would not hesitate to re-employ the candidate, for me that’s ultimate peace of mind.