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Why employers In Victoria can’t afford to hire without a police check

This year has been a difficult one for Australian business with the Coronavirus pandemic bringing new financial and HR challenges. Lockdown laws in Victoria and nationally have forced many organisations to close their doors and move their workplace online. For some sectors, this change has made recruitment, candidate screening and induction problematic if these processes were traditionally completed face to face. 

With working from home the new normal in Victoria, most candidate interviews are now being conducted online and hiring decisions made without in-person meetings. This situation makes it harder for employers to validate a candidate’s identity, let alone detect the signs of employee-related business risks. 

COVID-19 restrictions have caused huge financial losses already in Australia. Early reports are suggesting that the latest wave of closures and lockdowns in Victoria will have an even greater impact on industries such as retail, hospitality and construction that operate there. 

The message here is clear: employers in Victoria simply cannot afford the risk of fraudulent activity as a result of making the wrong hire. And with increased barriers in place making it more difficult to select the right candidates for the job, it’s critical that every employer has a multifaceted and consistent screening process in place. 

Police checks in Victoria 

 One of the best ways for businesses to protect themselves against employee-related fraud is with an Australian police check

Police checks provide employers with critical background information about a candidate’s criminal history, which allows them to quantifiably build an accurate character profile and make well-informed hiring decisions. 

Screening candidates with a police check provides hiring managers with peace of mind that they have applied the appropriate governance measures to keep their business safe.  

Australian police checks are mandatory in many industries, but are fast becoming a standard part of recruitment for all Australian employers. ACIC reports that over 5.6 million checks were processed in 2018-19 alone, continuing a steady increase of 5-10% each year since 2016. 

Enhanced technology allows employers to check criminal history quickly. Police checks can now be requested online in a matter of minutes, with results returned within the hour. They’re more accessible and affordable than ever before, ensuring every business can do their due diligence when hiring someone new. 

What police checks reveal 

Australian police checks do two things: they verify a candidate’s identity and scan national crime databases to reveal if the candidate has a criminal history in Australia.

When a police check is performed, one of two outcomes is returned: 

  • No disclosable outcome: this means there is no police history on record 
  • Disclosable outcome: there are court outcomes on record for the individual that can be released. If this occurs, more information is provided with the result. 

Disclosable outcomes do not necessarily mean an employer shouldn’t proceed with a candidate. What it does is expose information that can be useful to have a discussion with about the results, or use the result to inform the final hiring decision. 

At a time when recruitment processes are taking place remotely and businesses face added financial strain, police checks make a valuable addition to any recruitment program to mitigate unnecessary risk. 

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