Checking a prospective employee’s credentials and background is a crucial step of the hiring process, and one that should not be overlooked. Often you spend only a matter of hours getting to know someone before hiring them and a thorough screening prior to employment can significantly decrease the risk of inadvertently hiring someone who could cause your business difficulties down the track.

What is a Pre-employment Check?

A pre-employment check is a way of verifying the claims and information provided by the candidate in their CV and throughout the screening and interview stages, so you can confidently progress to the employment stage.

It should include as a minimum:

  • contacting the candidate’s referees;
  • ensuring their right to work in Australia (passport, visa and immigration checks); and
  • the candidate providing a National Police Certificate.

Some roles may also require drug and alcohol screening, a pre-employment medical, driver’s license confirmation; a Working with Children check, and verifying the validity of any qualifications and certificates needed to carry out the role. What is included in your specific pre-employment process will be based on the role requirements, your business expectations and your industry’s standards.

The cost of completing some of these checks may be expensive up front, however the time and cost to complete these far outweighs the potential unforeseen costs your business could face, should the employee ultimately not meet the requirements of the job.

Where to Start?

To effectively incorporate pre-employment checks into your hiring process, it is important to make applicants aware from the very start that their successful employment will be subject to these checks. You may wish to include this in your advertisement or mention it during your phone screening or interview process.

It is best practice to have pre-employment checks completed prior to a job offer being made, because it is much harder to deal with information that does not meet the job criteria, or business’ expectations, once the person is already working in the role. As an example, you wouldn’t want to have a new starter working in your team and find out 2 weeks later that they have a police record indicating a history of violence and theft!

What should I check?

When deciding what pre-employment checks to incorporate in your hiring process, the job requirements must be clearly set out. For example, a role which requires heavy manual labour on a daily basis, must have a person who is able to complete these tasks without risk of injury. In this situation, you may request the completion of a fitness medical, which will confirm if they are fit to complete physical duties required of the role.

Having clear position description and understanding of the duties involved in the role sets the inherent requirements and allows for an unbiased assessment of your candidates. Ensuring your pre-employment checks reflect these requirements will also reduce the risk of being seen as discriminating against a person if they do not pass the pre-employment checking process.

If you have any questions regarding pre-employment or other hiring processes, contact our specialist team for a no obligation chat today.