There is a huge number of different checks which employers might choose to run on applicants. The types of checks will depend very much on the employer, and the role. Common types of checks might include reference checking, verifying qualifications, or DBS checks. One term you might see on job adverts or websites is fit and proper person checks. But what exactly does this mean, and what does it entail?
Who needs fit and proper person checks?
Although the fitness checks have nothing to do with your physical condition or fitness in that sense, there are several parallels. The idea behind the test is about assessing someone’s character and weeding out people who might be untrustworthy or corrupt. It’s a test of personality and morals rather than physical strength. It’s a phrase which is usually used when recruiting for high level vacancies, in both the public and private sector. The test is also sometimes known as a director’s test as it usually applies to the most senior people in any organisation. It also applies to people sitting on the boards of NHS trusts, or working as trustees for charities.
How the checks are done
There is lots of guidance online about fit and proper person checks, especially in the health and care sectors. If you’re thinking about applying for a job which requires a check, you should be able to find out exactly what they’ll ask. The process is similar to applying for a DBS check, in that they’ll delve into your background to see if you’ve been convicted of various crimes. For example, the HMRC guidance on checks for people wishing to act as charity trustees is that people involved in tax avoidance schemes, or convicted fraudsters fail the test. Many NHS guidelines ban undischarged bankrupts or people who have been struck off a professional register. Applicants will have to consent to having their details checked against all relevant databases.
As well as searching registers of bankrupts and disqualified directors, there are several other checks which might be done. If applying for a role in care or charity, you may need a standard disclosure. This will weed out people who have convictions which may throw their character into doubt. Many organisations also ask for an occupational health check. This is not a fitness test either. However, it is a test of your physical ability to do the job. In practice, it’s a chat with the doctor and a basic medical to ensure you’re up to the stresses, strains and physical demands of the role.
All employers in the UK should be verifying people’s right to live and work in the UK, and this is part of the fit person check too. Applicants are usually asked to bring their passport to interview to determine both their nationality and immigration status in the UK. References are checked, along with a verifying employment history. If there are gaps in your record, you’ll have to explain them. Finally, if you’re claiming to be a member of a professional body, this will be checked out too.