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Pre-employment checks

The successful candidate must not start employment until all of the following pre-employment checks are completed:

  • Satisfactory written references (one must be from the most recent/current employer);
  • Production of appropriate documents in line with the Immigration, Asylum & Nationality Act - right to work in the UK (it is acceptable for these to be brought in on the first day of employment);
  • Verification of qualifications as requested in the person specification (it is acceptable for these to be brought in on the first day of employment);
  • Certificate of sponsorship (if appropriate) (it is acceptable for this to be brought in on the first day of employment);
  • Satisfactory completion of a Rehabilitation of Offenders form (any concerns must be discussed prior to starting employment)
  • Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks (if appropriate).


References are a way of ascertaining your preferred candidates' suitability for the role based on feedback from previous employers or other individuals who are well placed to comment on the candidates' experience, skills and attributes.  

References should ideally be obtained prior to issuing an offer letter however in circumstances where the candidate does not wish referees to be contacted until after they have received a formal offer it should be explicitly stated in the offer letter that the offer is subject to satisfactory references and that references will be obtained prior to the individual commencing in post.  

The Equality Act (2010) requires the University does not enquire about a job applicant’s disability or health unless:

  • It is for the purposes of equality monitoring;
  • It is to initiative a positive action scheme such as, Disability Two Ticks;
  • It is to identify disability support requirements, reasonable adjustments.

Therefore questions relating to sickness absence must not be asked as part of a reference request.

Recruiting managers are responsible for following up references including those for internal staff transferring roles, and agency staff. 

References should come from different sources depending on the type of appointment, e.g. Professional Support Services or Academic.

In both cases one of the references should be from the candidates current or most recent employer.

Professional Support Services staff

Two references should be provided and these will normally be from the following sources:

  • Current employer
  • Previous employers
  • College or university

The reference request form can be used for this purpose.

Academic staff

Three references should be provided and these will normally be from the following sources:

  • Current employer
  • The person who is supervising the research 
  • Another academic

The reference request form can be used for this purpose

Once a reference is received it should be studied for relevance to the position.  If there are no issues, then the reference should be sent to People and OD Operations so that it can be added to the personal file.  If there is an issue, the details should be investigated and this could lead to the offer being retracted.  For more details visit:

  • Retracting an offer

Where oral references are received these should be documented and passed to People and OD Operations as above.

If two weeks after a formal offer has been made no reference has been received then this should be chased up by the Recruiting manager.

Where temporary staff from an agency transfer to employee status references should be obtained from the employment agency.   

If references have not been returned prior to the proposed start date the Recruiting manager should contact People and OD Operations for advice.

Ultimately copies of all references must be sent to People and OD Operations for inclusion in the personal file.

Immigration and Asylum Documentation

The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act (2006) makes it an offence to employ anyone who does not have permission to work in the UK. 

The University therefore requires anyone who is offered payment for work to produce appropriate documentation before any payment can be made. 

All appointments are conditional on providing the identification required under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 before commencing work.


Verification of any qualifications, required as part of the criteria for the post, must be provided by the candidate prior to starting employment.

Rehabilitation of Offenders Form

The successful candidate must complete a Rehabilitation of Offenders/Criminal Records Declaration form whether or not they have had a previous conviction.  

Further details can be found in the Recruitment and Employment of Ex-offenders Policy.

Disclosure and Barring Service

The University has some jobs that require it to check the background of proposed appointments to positions of trust within the University and which are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

Organisations are required to use the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) in order to check the history of applicants and to assist them in assessing candidates’ suitability for such posts.

Details can be found in the Recruitment and Employment of Ex-Offenders Policy.

There are a relatively small number of University jobs exempted from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

Those that are exempted include for example, jobs involving regular contact with or the training, supervision, or sole charge of children or young persons under the age of 18 years, for which checks must be undertaken.

Certificates of Sponsorship

Overseas nationals who are not citizens of the European Economic Area or members of the new Accession States will normally require a Certificate of Sponsorship. 

It is essential that guidance on these matters is sought from HR as a matter of urgency as the requirements for advertising and subsequently the process of applying for entry clearance or leave to remain can delay the start of the appointment, possibly by several months.