Background Checks FAQs

What are background checks?

There are so many different types of background checks but they may include undertaking credit and criminal record checks, collecting references from your previous employers, and verifying your qualifications with universities, colleges and schools.

Vanilla provide a wide range of background checks. The organisation that requested your checks (our client), will have asked us to carry out specific checks for you. The checks may be specific to your department, role, project or contract. You’ll usually be asked to provide information and authority via an online form. When filling in the form, you’ll be presented with a variety of questions, and you may need to input historical personal data and maybe to upload copies of official documents.

The background checking process?
We know that the background screening process may be quite daunting. But, there is no need to worry, the checks are fairly standard and we are on hand if you need to ask us anything. On receipt of a request for your checks, we will send you some emails with all the information and links you need. You can contact us whenever you need help or have questions.

We pride ourselves on treating every candidate as an individual and not just a number. So please don’t hesitate to ask us for help or to send us any questions you might have.

Background check FAQs

Why do I need a background check?

There can be any number of reasons. The organisation that has requested your check may have a Pre-employment screening policy, for example. Alternatively, your role, project or contract may require checks for regulatory reasons or to fulfil certain contractual obligations. Pre-employment background checks can also be used to verify the information you supplied on your CV or application form or even during your job interview(s). Other background checks such as criminal record checks can help to reduce the risk of employing someone who may not be suitable for the role. Employers are obliged to carefully review each background check report before making any associated recruitment decisions. When background checks are carried out post-employment, they aim to re-assess risks such as this. They may also be carried out in line with post-employment screening policies, for regulatory reasons or to fulfil contractual obligations.

What checks will you carry out on me?

The organisation that requested your checks will have asked for the specific checks that they would like they would like us to undertake. Regulatory requirements will mean some roles need more checks than others.

How will you look after my data?

We take the security of your data extremely seriously, as do our clients and maintaining the security of your data is of paramount importance. Your data is only used to conduct the necessary checks.

How long do the checks take?

Checks typically take between one and two weeks to complete after we receive all your necessary data. However, this can vary depending on the types of checks being carried out and how quickly the data suppliers (such as previous employers and credit bureaus) take to respond.

When filling in the form, what fields are mandatory?

All fields that are marked with a * are mandatory fields and must be filled in. Please provide as much information as you can. This will mean that checks can be completed quickly and that we will not have to contact you for further information.

Why do I need to provide personal details like my address history?

In order to process your checks, we’ll need some personal information from you. The amount of information requested will depend on the checks that have been requested. Different checks require different information, and some checks require a great deal of both present and historic data.

What are employment history checks?

You may be asked to provide details of previous employers, including the name of the employer and its address, your dates of employment and the positions you held. When we subsequently contact those employers, they will normally be asked to provide information including (but not limited to) your employment dates, the positions you held and whether you were ever the subject of any disciplinary action. Questions may vary according to the needs of the organisation that requested your checks.

What are academic qualification checks?

Academic qualification checks cover GCSEs, A Levels, BTECs, and university degrees. We will ask you for the name and address of the academic institution you attended, the course title, your dates of attendance and the level of qualification you gained. We then contact the institution, normally asking for confirmation of your attendance, the grades you received and the qualification you were awarded. We will usually contact the Registrar or Student Records Office, even if you have given us contact details for your teacher, tutor or for another person or department. Questions may vary according to the needs of the organisation that requested your checks

What level of criminal record check will be carried out?

The type of criminal check that we might complete will vary depending on where you reside (or have resided) and the type of role that you have applied for. In the United Kingdom, certain job roles require a specific type of criminal check to be conducted, as specified by the Government.

I’ve had a criminal record check before. Do I still need to have this check?

Yes. Criminal record check certificates are usually only valid at the time that they were issued. If the organisation that requested your checks has asked for a criminal record check, then it means that they require an up-to-date certificate.

Will the UK credit check leave a footprint on my credit file?

Yes. However, the footprint, which we have to leave by law, is only visible to you.

Will the UK credit check affect my credit score?

No. Lenders carrying out credit checks on you in future will not be able to see the check footprint and the check will not affect your credit score.

Can you tell me the results of my checks?

We will not be able to share any results or the full report with you. The organisation that requested your checks are our client and only they receive a copy of the checks. If you want to discuss the results or see a copy of the final report, you will need to contact the organisation that requested your checks.

Will I be told when the checks are completed?

We will not be able to let you know when the checks are complete. The organisation that requested the checks should let you know when the checks have been completed.

Uploading documents for background checks

The type of information required will depend on the checks that have been requested. With certain checks we’ll need some examples of official documents from you in order to process your checks. If you are asked to upload an image showing an official valid document please make sure you follow the guidelines below:

All uploaded images need to clearly show the complete document. Ensure the image is clear (not blurry), fully in the picture (not cropped), and that there is nothing obscuring the document in any way. Please also note that any individual uploaded image needs to be a high enough resolution but below 2MB in size.

Driving licence photocard

Please provide image/s showing the front and back of your driving licence.


Please provide image/s fully showing the inside of your passport, plus an image showing you holding up your passport so that your face and passport photo are clearly shown. Your likeness will need to be visually verified by us in order to make a passport check.

Please note that the image provided must show the machine-readable zone (that’s the bit with the chevrons beneath the photograph on most passports) and must be fully visible, i.e. not truncated or have anything written across it.

Other supporting documents

Please provide image/s showing any supporting document in full and that the information is all clearly legible. For a complete list of supporting documents please click here.