The CIPD has published new guidance for employers on what constitutes good practice when conducting pre-employment checks on job applicants. The ‘Pre-employment checks: an employer’s guide,’ offers advice to employers who are struggling to keep up with the pace of change in recruitment methods. CIPD’s recent social media research revealed that two in five employers look at candidates’ online activity or profiles to inform recruitment decisions, but few inform applicants that this is being done. The CIPD question whether recruiters are aware of the legalities around this kind of vetting. The guide highlights the need for all those involved in recruitment to exercise due diligence to find out if applicants might bring the organisation into disrepute, or cause difficulties with managers, colleagues, customer and suppliers. It also highlights the legal risks and ethical challenges involved if inappropriate steps are taken or applicants are not made aware of the checks being carried out and given a chance to respond to findings. Employers have wide discretion to decide whether or not to recruit a particular candidate, but to avoid risk of legal challenge they should be fully aware of data protection and discrimination law.
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