Hidden Dangers of Background Checks

In her 2009 Article for News Corp Australia, Emily Brayshaw writes about what she claims is a growing trend where employers are using social networking sites such as Facebook to ‘spy’ on their staff, under the guise of protecting the company.

She says that putting aside the legal and ethical implications of such behaviour, using social networks to do background checks on staff will likely result in a warped view because people who use these sites only reveal highly edited versions of their social lives and not much re their professional lives.

Emily goes on to correctly point out that detailed and meaningful background checks re employee integrity should aim to cover a prospective employee’s:

• Qualifications – tertiary, skills certification
• Credit history
• References – past employers, rather than ‘friendly’ contacts

She also correctly adds that an Employer will need to get consent from the employee to conduct any such checks, but these, and ongoing checks, could be made a condition of employment.

In closing Emily provides some handy tips and links to assist with the background check process:

Online resources for conducting employee integrity checks

• Background checks. This site provides information and resources to assist you with conducting background checks within Australia and includes verifying a person’s right to work, criminal history checks, newspaper and media checks and bankruptcy checks. http://www.backgroundchecks.com.au

• NSW Police – Application must be lodged by the prospective employee at police station close to where he/she lives. However, they can nominate for the employer to receive the results of the check. Cost of this check is $52. Time for check 10 business days. The site http://www.backgroundchecks.com.au has information on how to conduct these in your State and in NSW.

• Qualseach – http://www.qualsearch.com.au/print.htm

You will need to contact Qualsearch to be able to participate in the scheme. Cost of this check is $55 plus GST. This fee applies to all qualifications across all universities that the candidate may have done, not just the highest degree. At present, Notre Dame is the only university that has not signed up, but it is looking to become part of the service.

• ASIC register of banned/disqualified persons – http://www.search.asic.gov.au/ban.html

The check is free of charge, can be easily conducted and results are instant.



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