Right to Work checks need not hold back SME recruitment ambitions

When it comes to attracting new recruits, SMEs often have an advantage over larger, more established companies. They can be more innovative in the work environment they offer to attract the right candidates and more agile when offering roles.

Right to Work checks need not hold back SME recruitment ambitions

Once you have identified and interviewed the ideal candidate, it is still important to remember the essential role of compliance in establishing that they have the right to work in the UK. Business of all sizes need to comply with Right to Work (RtW) legislation. No allowances are made for the size of your business and every business has to be diligent about checking candidates’ right to work. RtW checks have been a statutory requirement since 2014. The penalties for getting it wrong are significant, both in terms of financial sanctions and reputational harm.

The great news for fast-moving businesses, who want to secure the best candidates and avoid losing out in a competitive field, is that the technology to support digital checks has become more accessible, affordable and available to all – but not everyone is taking advantage of it.  

At TrustID we’ve been supporting businesses of all sizes with identity document verification for over a decade. Late last year, we carried out a survey of over 130 HR, compliance and business professionals to get their views on the recruitment challenges and priorities for 2023. One of the interesting outcomes from our survey is that only 60% of companies said that they used technology to check that candidates have the right to work in the UK. Sixty percent is not a small amount but given that RtW checks are a) a statutory requirement and b) admin intensive, we figured that any business that is using technology to perform RtW checks is likely to steal a march in the race to secure the best talent ahead of the competition. 

Our survey of HR professionals served up a good deal more insight. While nearly all respondents (96%) saw RtW checks as essential or very important for their business, almost half (46%) reported that RtW checks currently take over a week to perform. This means they run the risk of losing out on new talent to other, faster-moving competitors – basically, those companies who do have the right technology and relationship with a certified Identity Service Provider (IDSP) to carry out the checks the same day they make an offer. In a competitive employment environment, those are the kind of timeframes that today’s candidates have come to expect. Unnecessary delay could be the difference between forming your dream team or going back to the start of the whole process. 

Speed isn’t the end of the story, of course. In fact, compliance really is key. Performing RtW checks has a far-reaching purpose as they are vital to revealing people who don’t have the right to work in the UK and may be presenting documents that are fraudulent or fake. Our survey told us that 69% of respondents thought it perfectly likely that they would come across a candidate who didn’t have the right to work in the UK. Also, 42% of people thought it likely that a candidate could present a fake document as part of the hiring process. However, only one-fifth of people were very confident that they could identify a fraudulent document. Here’s where technology and the services of a third-party IDSP would definitely pay off. 

On that note, most people we surveyed (84%) were familiar with the idea of a third-party IDSP, with the same number considering it important to use a government-certified IDSP. 60% of people said they currently use technology from an IDSP or an applicant tracking service (ATS) linked to an IDSP, with a further 17% considering the use of technology for their RtW checks. The primary benefits of using technology, seen by survey respondents, were listed as; confidence in compliance, faster onboarding and the security of hiring only people with the right to work in the UK.

So, while RtW checks have been subject to many changes over recent years. Using a certified IDSP that keeps pace with regulatory changes gives a business confidence that it is compliant and streamlines staff on-boarding for faster recruitment. That’s good news for any business or entrepreneur that is looking for a clean, quick and compliant solution for their RtW checks, and allows them to focus on their other core activities. 

If you’d like to read the full research survey, you can download if you click here

This article comes courtesy of Tony Machin, CEO of TrustID, a government-certified IDSP offering industry-leading identity verification and Right to Work checks. 

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