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When and How to Conduct Background Checks Compliantly

Published 10 Dec 2020
4 min read
When and How to Conduct Background Checks Compliantly

When hiring a new employee, there are many things you need to consider. Are they capable of doing the job at hand? Will they be a good culture fit? Are they who they say they are? Can you trust them? At the end of the day, when looking to add headcount to your team, you’re putting your trust in them. When you put it in this context, the thought of hiring the wrong fit is scary. The last thing you want is for confidential information to fall into the wrong hands. And no, it’s not just you that gets nervous about trusting your new hires. A 2016 study from PWC found that 55% of business leaders believe that a lack of trust in the workplace is a foundational threat to their company. This means that there’s never been a more important time to get up to speed with different ways you can hire top talent confidently. So, how can you reduce the chances of business information falling into the wrong hands or minimise the chance of hiring someone who’s not who they say they are? That’s where background checks come into play.   check mark - micheal buble

Source: Giphy

So what exactly is a background check and why do you need to ask new hires for one? Read on as we share everything you need to know about background checks to keep your business and employees safe.  

What is an employee background check?

A background check is a process whereby an employer can find out a new employee’s disclosable history. The goal of a background check is to confirm that the person you’ve hired is actually the person that they claim to be. The background check includes a summary of an individual’s police history in Australia. This may include court appearances, convictions and any penalties or sentences. The main purpose of a background check is to add an additional step to help you hire the right people for your business. It can help give you peace of mind and trust in the person that will be handling confidential information or performing specific tasks. 💡 Fact: A background check may often be referred to as a national police certificate, police clearance or national police clearance.  

Why are background checks important?

When it comes to hiring new employees, we know there are a lot of things to consider. You want to hire the right person for the job and be able to trust that they will make decisions in the best interest of the company. However, it doesn’t just come down to handling important information, it can be across a range of different areas that can fall back on your company if not handled correctly. Picture this. You interview many applicants for a truck driver position and one stands out immediately. After 2 rounds of interviews, you trust that they are competent and a good culture fit. You’ve just made a formal offer to the successful applicant and asked them to complete a background check. They comply, however you find that they have a long list of serious driving offences and currently don’t have a valid driver’s license. The last thing you want is for your company name to be known as hiring unlicensed drivers. Eek!   nope don't like that gif

Source: Giphy

When might you need to conduct a background check?

It’s up to the individual business if they decide to conduct background checks on their employees. Background checks can help give businesses peace of mind, especially if their employees handle a large amount of sensitive information, or if staff regularly work with children, the elderly or other vulnerable people in the community. Some common industries that require mandatory background checks include:

  • Government agencies
  • Aged care workers
  • Early childhood and pre-school workers
  • Disability support workers


What stage of the interview or onboarding process do you ask for a background check to be completed?

Background checks are generally asked for in the onboarding process. You can ask your new hire to apply for a background check and have them submit it to you in the onboarding process.  

How can I ask for a background check and how do I ensure I’m conducting them compliantly?

When asking your new hire to submit a background check, you should provide them with a process on how to do this. You can ask them to complete the process via the National Crime Check website. The process is quick and simple for your new hires and you can choose to reimburse them for the cost associated with undertaking the request.

  • Completely online – there’s no need for any physical paperwork to be sent via postage or scanned
  • Fast turnaround – you will receive the results in under 24 hours
  • Complete it from anywhere, anytime – Able to be completed on desktop or mobile device

When it comes to staying compliant, it’s important you keep the results of the background check confidential.

The wrap up

At the end of the day, you want to hire the right people to grow your business. Background checks are just one thing you can do to help put your mind at ease and help you hire the right fit. Did you know that Employment Hero can store your employee background checks in one secure, cloud-based location? If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you streamline your HR, payroll and employee engagement processes, get in touch with one of our small business specialists today. Alternatively, if you’re looking for VEVO checks, learn more here.    

Want more?

Compliance has never been more compliant when it comes to running a business. With so much to stay on top of, it can be hard to keep up. Check out our compliance guide below. 👇  

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