Why it’s important to screen before you hire
Many Australian employers perform background checks on prospective employees. An employment background check is an important step in the hiring process. It can reveal things about an applicant’s past that may make them a poor fit for your workplace. In this blog, we’ll look at why employment background checks are important and how to perform them legally.
Protect your property, physical and intellectual
One great benefit to background screening employees is to keep your property safe. For example, if you are hiring for a role that has access to financial accounts, personal information or identifiers, proprietary or confidential data, or any other property, it’s essential to check their background for any previous criminal or civil records relevant to the position. It’s probably not prudent to hire someone who has previously been convicted of theft-related crimes as a cashier. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the person would steal again, but you should at least be aware of the past indiscretions in order to protect your property
Background checks can also allow employers to confirm the identity of an individual. By doing this, you can also find any AKA (also known as) names, which should also be checked. Identity confirmation can also be necessary for ensuring individuals have the right to work in Australia.
Provide a safe workplace
You owe it to all your current employees to check the background of an applicant to ensure they don’t have a violent past. Providing a safe and secure workplace is important to your employees, customers, and the public. If someone has a history of violence and has convictions indicating this, you should consider this before allowing this applicant to be in contact with your staff and customers.
There are many professions that require certain certifications or degrees. If hiring for a specialised role, for instance in healthcare, employers must conduct due diligence to ensure that the applicant is as advertised. Performing an education or employment history check will provide you with the information you need to hire the person. Never accept diplomas or certificates from the applicant as these can easily be forged. Verifications should always be made with a third party.
Employment background check rules
Use of a job applicant’s personal information is subject to federal privacy legislation, federal/state/territory anti-discrimination laws and legislation dealing with spent convictions. When a conviction becomes “spent” it means that the conviction will not appear on a criminal background check in Australia. Convictions qualify as “spent” after a certain period of time with no additional offences.
In many cases performing a background check on an employee requires their consent. You can’t just go look things up online and call it a background check for employment. That’s not the legal or effective way to conduct a search.
Background checks that involve the collection of “personal information” relating to a job applicant are subject to the restrictions imposed by the Privacy Act of 1988, which include the following:
- Applicants must be informed how their personal information will be collected from them and from third parties
- Personal information must only be collected where it is relevant to a person’s application for a particular position;
- An applicant’s consent must be obtained for the collection of “sensitive information”
- Applicants must be allowed access to their personal information upon request.
How should you use the information in a background check
Generally, employers should only use information obtained through background checks to make hiring decisions when the information is relevant to the particular role. Even if the background check information is relevant, it still must not be used in a discriminatory manner.
Start background screening employees better today
There are many reasons why you should background check your employees. As a professional private investigation firm, we conduct thorough background checks that adhere to all regulations. Contact us today to find out about our packages and pricing.