Friday, 23 August 2019 10:41

Job Offer Checks

This year was the first time that all GCSE results were graded using the new 9 to 1 system. So employers taking on apprenticeships this year might find themselves interpreting applicants’ qualifications into the older A* to G system that has been used for as long as most of us can remember.

We can probably expect a period of confusion until the relevance of the new qualification grading becomes embedded. However, as an employer, do you ever double-check the qualifications of candidates that you make job offers to anyway? And do you always take up references?

Some jobs demand certain qualifications because of their technical nature; particularly for certain levels of maths ability or knowledge of the sciences. But for more generalist roles we may be forgiven for taking claims of some qualifications at face value. After all, we don’t expect job applicants to lie on their CVs about their examination successes.

Asking for job applicants to have at least 5 GCSEs at grades C (new 4) or above might sound like a standard format for ensuring a reasonable level of educational attainment amongst candidates, but without checks there are no guarantees that you’re going to get what you pay for.

As employees further their development with career specific qualifications, establishing the validity of their claims becomes even more crucial. Industry specific awards should indicate a certain level of ability that can be relied upon in the workplace; for example CIPD for HR or IDM for Marketing.

Claims should be checked at job-offer stage as consent may be required to gather evidence from the awarding body. Failing to double-check health & safety or medical qualifications could have catastrophic results for all concerned.

Job offers are often made with the condition that the offer is subject to the receipt of satisfactory references. Again, when seeking references, the prospective employee’s express permission should be sought before any contact is made with their existing or previous employer.

Employees don’t usually want it known that they are looking for another job; at least not by their manager or boss. You must therefore make sure that it’s okay to contact a prospective employee’s current or previous employer, even if a job offer depends upon satisfactory references being received; and even if they have already provided the names of referees.

Imagine the potential upset it would cause if a candidate chose not to accept a job offer but you had already written to their manager for a reference. Not only could seriously compromise their current working environment, you might be in breach of GDPR legislation.

Including a comment confirming that it is okay to seek references as part of a candidate’s job offer acceptance should be adequate to short-cut the process.

Take note though that employers are under no obligation to provide a reference. Our advice is to always only disclose factual information when a reference is asked for. Equally, to increase the probability of receiving a response from a reference request, only ask for information such as position held, dates worked and remuneration.

Information that is subjective, such as “Does this person have a good attendance record?” is open to interpretation. What one employer considers to be a poor attendance might be considered excellent by another. A questionable reference that is opinion based may even leave the referee open to a claim against them.

Whether or not references are sought or qualifications verified, we still recommend that an effectively managed probation period is implemented, but that’s a subject that deserves its own article.

We’ll be covering all the areas discussed here plus many more challenges that employers face during the recruitment process at our forthcoming Recruitment and Retention Seminar on Tuesday 1st October. Book your place now or call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a chat about any advice or support you may need.

Read 2071 times Last modified on Wednesday, 11 May 2022 10:50


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