When applying for a job that requires a DBS check, it’s natural to be anxious about whether anything will come up that harms your chances of employment. While DBS checks aren’t exactly a test that you can pass or fail, information can come up on your past that would make you unsuitable for specific roles.
In this article, we take a look at what the different kinds of online DBS checks are, and what information about your past they’ll flag up.
What is a DBS check?
A DBS check is a criminal background check, carried out through the disclosure and barring service (DBS,) a non-departmental government body. There are several types of checks:
- Basic check: The Basic check is the most common DBS check you can have done. It checks for unspent criminal convictions and warnings. Whether a past conviction will be considered spent or not depends on the offence. The Basic check is the only one that individuals can ask to have carried out on themselves.
- Standard check: The Standard check is one level up from the Basic check. In addition to unspent convictions, it also shows spent convictions, warnings, and reprimands. You can’t request to have this check done on yourself, it must be requested by an authorised body. The Standard check is a common requirement for those working with children and vulnerable adults, although usually only in a supervised situation.
- Enhanced check: The Enhanced check is the most thorough check that the DBS carry out. It checks the same information as the Standard check, as well as any other information that local police departments consider relevant to the job being applied for. It can also be carried out with a barred-list check, to see if the candidate is on any lists that bar them from working with vulnerable individuals.
How you might ‘fail’ a DBS check
Failing a DBS check would mean that something comes up that would bar you from the job you’re applying to. This would depend on the job; areas that are stricter include healthcare and education. In these areas, a wide range of past convictions, spent or unspent, could mean that you fail your check.
For less stringent jobs, such as retail and hospitality, you’ll likely have to do a basic check. This will be far less strict, and it’s likely that you’d only fail if you had a serious unspent conviction that you didn’t disclose.
With DBS checks, it’s always best to be honest with employers. If you apply for a position and say that you don’t have any convictions, then they find out when they have a DBS check carried out on you, your potential employer is far less likely to be lenient.
Ask before you apply for the position what kind of check you’ll need to do, and if you believe that something will come up, you can check if that will be a problem. That way, you won’t waste your time, or the time of your potential future employer.