How To: Survive Pre-engagement Vetting

By Kimberly Bale


You have just spent weeks (possibly months) searching out your next contract position, building up a relationship with your recruiter, prepping for interviews, eagerly awaiting feedback and finally… you’ve got the role!

Well…subject to the successful completion of vetting that is.

So now you find yourself dealing with a vetting team, probably someone you haven’t met before and all of a sudden they are asking you for your identity documents, address history, bank statements, blood samples (ok, maybe not the last one), and it can all seem a bit daunting.

After the high of the offer, the Pre-Engagement Vetting (PEV) process can bring you back down to earth with a hard cold thump. But, the process can be made much smoother if you have a better understanding of what you will need and why it has been requested.

My name is Kim and I am the Contractor Management Consultant at Head Resourcing. I’m here to help with any questions contractors have during the vetting process, and I stay with them as a point of contact throughout their role. From my previous experience on our vetting team, I’ve created what I hope will helpful steps to give a clear indication of what to prepare when you are going through these checks.

As a contractor, it’s most likely that you will move jobs every 3-9 months dependant on the company and position you hold. Therefore, instead of having to source the same array of information every time you go through vetting, I recommend setting up your own ‘PEV pack’ that you can simply add to when needed. I guarantee that this will be a huge help during your career.

The information every company requests will slightly vary but there are documents which will always be required for every role. These are:

Passport/Right to Work documentation
This is a legal requirement to work in the UK and includes a Passport (and BRP/Visa), or birth certificate, proof of your National Insurance number and photographic ID. You will need to bring this to our office to be photocopied and signed by a member of our team to prove that we have verified these documents.

A recent proof of address
This request is usually for a proof that has been issued within the last 3 months and includes bank statements, council tax bills or gas/electric bills with your name and correct address. This is used to confirm you reside within the UK.

Company documents (if using your own limited company)
You will require a certificate of incorporation, insurances, a proof of company bank details and a VAT certificate. If you are using an umbrella company then they can provide these on your behalf.

Having the above ‘essentials’ on file ready to send out can speed up the vetting process and avoid any delays which may be encountered.

There are a few more things you can do that will save a lot of time and reduce any miscommunication.

Reference details
Companies will request between 3-5 years of references depending on their own preference. I recommend creating a list in the example format below.

Start Date          End Date           Company          Agency                           Job Title
January 17         March 17           Tesco Bank      Head Resourcing         Java Developer
April 17               July 17               B&Q                  Sample Recruiters       1st Line Support

We will then request each reference company to verify what you have provided, so it’s important for this to be completely accurate. As an extra note – It is rare that any contracting clients request a personal reference, but it could be required. Store any personal references or contact details on a separate page within your pack.

Breaks between roles
Some clients will require evidence of activity for breaks between roles. Luckily many clients are becoming more pragmatic and only requesting evidence for breaks of 3+ months. Some will accept evidence of job seeking (emails between yourself & recruitment agencies), however other clients (especially within Financial Services) will need something more formal. If you’ve traveled, had a child, or claimed benefits within a gap period we can accept evidence of this as long as it covers the whole period. Although, most of our contractors are just taking a well-deserved break between jobs and will not have such formal evidence. In these cases, we are usually required by our client to gather bank statements as evidence. Although this may feel intrusive, this is only used as proof of earnings during the period.

Some items inside your PEV pack may not be required for every contracting role, or there may be a chance that more requests are in place (e.g. proof of qualifications), but having the above items included could really help decrease the time required for vetting and give you a few relaxing days before your contract starts.

If you have any further queries on the vetting process, give me a call.

Kimberly Bale