Pre-employment screening is a vital part of the hiring process. Yet, it remains a step that can easily be overlooked or skipped over due to time constraints, lack of knowledge, and other factors.
Implementing employment screening as part of your business’ broader hiring framework has numerous benefits – one of which is protecting your business from making poor hiring choices.
Based on our experience carrying out pre-employment screening checks for our clients, it’s worthwhile to conduct even a basic probity check for all candidates you’re considering hiring, as re-hiring can be a costly process.
So, to help you navigate pre-employment screening, here are a few essential checks you should consider employing as part of your hiring process.
What Are Employment Screening Checks?
Employment screening checks involve a comprehensive exploration into a potential candidate’s background to ensure they are a suitable match for the hiring position. Exploring an applicant’s background typically involves looking into their:
- employment history and references,
- education records,
- digital footprint, and
- potential criminal history.
What Checks Should You Include as Part of Your Employment Screening
While the following list of checks is not exhaustive, in our experience, we have found that these checks have made a significant difference in our clients’ hiring process because of their ability to generate a better understanding of potential candidates:
Recruit with confidence and confirm the candidate is who they say they are. Identity verification is one of the most fundamental pre-employment screening checks. It ensures that your potential candidate is not using fake identity documents and does not appear on a host of watchlists. VerifyNow has access to confirm most Australian and State government-issued identity documents such as passports, birth certificates, driver’s licence, Medicare and more.
There are specific job positions that require employers to conduct police checks by law. However, an increasing range of employers chooses to voluntarily conduct criminal history checks as part of their pre-employment screening efforts to mitigate the risks of an unsafe work environment in the business. When looking at police checks, there are two main types in Australia:
- Australian Federal Police (AFP) Check: typically used for immigration or visa purposes and Commonwealth Government or general employment screening purposes.
- The Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (or ACIC Check): a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check is the appropriate and most straightforward option for most pre-employment screening processes.
VerifyNow is accredited with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), which authorises us to submit police checks on behalf of organisations and assist in their pre-employment screening process. We are also an authorised provider with the Australian Federal Police. VerifyNow can also conduct international police checks with coverage for over 150 countries.
Employment History Screening
Unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence for potential candidates to include misrepresentations or inaccuracies on their CVs. Some of the most common types of employment history misrepresentations are centred on:
- past job titles,
- Duration of employment
- Roles and responsibilities, and
- reasons for termination.
Conducting an employment history screening check ensures that there are no misrepresentations in a potential candidate’s work experience or employment history. Beyond that, it can reduce long-term hiring costs and ensure the candidate’s suitability for the role they’re currently applying for.
Suppose you’re hiring within an industry that bases a big part of the hiring decision on a candidate’s educational background, such as in the legal, health or financial sectors. In that case, a qualification check should be a foundational part of the hiring process.
A qualification screening typically involves a verification of the candidate’s proposed qualification against the institutions they attended or attained certification from, including the date of graduation.
Similar to the employment history screening check, a reference check allows the hiring manager to gain a comprehensive understanding of the candidate’s past job performance and ensure that the information contained in their CV is accurate.
Digital Footprint Screening
In a world governed by the digital age, it’s become increasingly important to assess a candidate’s digital footprint as part of the employment screen process. In other words, you want to consider a candidate’s past tweets or compromising Facebook images if you’re hiring for a high-profile position or a position that requires working with culturally diverse or vulnerable communities.
Checking a potential candidate’s digital footprint can often uncover unethical behaviour or opinions that can negatively impact the organisation’s integrity if they were hired in the position.
What You Should Consider When Conducting Pre-Employment Screening Checks
It’s of vital importance that all checks are conducted with the candidate’s informed consent. If you don’t obtain the necessary consent, you risk contravening privacy laws.
You should also ensure that you’re not conducting these screening checks in an intrusive manner. It’s important to approach pre-employment screening checks confidentially and respectfully.
These essential pre-employment screen checks play a significant role in improving your business’s hiring quality and risk management strategy. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of the pre-employment screen as part of your hiring framework, make sure to check out the latest webinar with Employment Innovations and VertifyNow.
About the Author
Khai Ngo is the co-Founder and CEO of VerifyNow, an Australian HR tech company that provides specialized recruitment and employment screening services such as identity verification, police checks, reference checks, and more. Khai hosts a HR and Leadership Podcast series called the ‘HR Think Tank’. Guests include experts, HR professionals, and business leaders from a cross-section of industries to provide insights and practical tips to help people lead their teams.
About Employment Innovations
Employment Innovations is one of Australia’s leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, payroll solutions, migration, human resource management and HR software.
The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.