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  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Pre-Employment Screening Topics Pre-Employment Screening (General) Advertising job vacancies and the requirement for criminal record checks

    Advertising job vacancies and the requirement for criminal record checks

    When your organisation advertises for openings or job vacancies, they must state the essential criteria for evaluation. This informs the public about your fair and transparent policies, but it also allows willing candidates to apply.

    A standard advert should include all necessary information required by your organisation like;

    Of all these, most companies (especially those operating with high sensitivity) prioritise background checks. The general public and specific customers are also interested in a company's internal policies, especially when hiring for specific roles.

    For example, employing a person with a criminal history of "Abuses against Minors" in a child-related role will raise severe criticisms from the public, investors and even customers.

    Why Job Adverts should include requirements like a Criminal Record Check

    It can feel daunting and time-wasting to place a general advert, only to eliminate candidates by an impromptu assessment. Candidates put a lot of resources and energy into preparing for job recruitment, and it will only be unfair for them to be "dropped" in such a fashion.

    • Useful details and requirements about the job

    Every job advert should contain useful details of the requirements, including the organisation's preference of what they do not want on a candidate's criminal record check. However, according to Australian laws, it is also required that organisations do not discriminate based on a Criminal record Check.

    • Fairness and Obedience to Australian laws

    While the law does not support organisations' compromising for candidates based on their internal risk assessment, it encourages fairness and leniency on those with criminal records. The government expiatory approach to those with criminal records is found in policies like the following;

    • Prepares the candidate adequately for the task

    A detailed job advert also affords the candidate adequate preparation and a possible presentation of circumstances for such records.

    For example, a candidate convicted of a drug-driving offence may explain it was a singular occurrence, and the judge issued non-conviction sentencing.

    It is impractical and unfair to assess a candidate by their records only. The AHRC encourages organisations to be more lenient when evaluating candidates with criminal records, especially first-time offenders.

    • Promotes the organisation’s internal policies

    Including the requirements for assessing the candidate’s Criminal record Check espouses your organisation's transparency. It also tells a lot about the organisation's internal policy and Fair treatment for employers and other staff.

    • Prevents lawsuit or other proceeding arising from unfair treatments

    A transparent and detailed process will prevent the organisation from facing litigations or lawsuits from agencies.

    Many States and Territories have special agencies that look into employees' treatment and welfare in various organisations. If a candidate complains, your organisation may be wrought in legal debacle.

    • Allows for special conditions

    There are also special cases for candidates when meeting your requirement, and your advert can inform them of such provisions. For example, your advertisement could give certain legal exemptions or allow more information to be gotten on a confidential basis.

    • Explains how important the Criminal Record Check is to the role

    Although the criminal record check is the widely accepted background check, it may not be as crucial for some roles as others. Specific roles require that the organisation pay special interest to the individual convictions rather than the "pass/fail" kind of records check.

    Including the requirements in your advert will also improve your chances of getting a better fit for the job. While a criminal record check is not discriminatory, the contents of a criminal record can hinder a person for specific roles.

    Why do organisations require a Criminal record Check?

    Avoiding risk is one of the topmost strategies in any organisation's decisions/operations. Risks can take any form depending on the kind of establishment. For recruitments, there is always the tendency that an organisation may hire people who are morally or ethically harmful to the organisation.

    While these people may meet all other intellectual and performance abilities, their previous records/actions may hinder them from the roles. Most organisations now use the Criminal record check as the base requirement before admitting anyone to their operations.

    What is disclosed in a Criminal record check?

    The criminal record check in Australia informs organisations or decision makers about the candidate’s Disclosable court outcomes (DCOs), as relevant to the role they apply. As such, organisations must specify that they require a Criminal record Check based on employment.

    The Criminal record Check will show details like;

    • Court appearances,
    • Court given convictions,
    • All criminal charges in a court
    • Good behaviour bonds
    • Pending matters before a court
    • Other convictions not under the Spent Conviction scheme

    Where organisations will likely request for a Criminal record Check

    While recruiting firms now include a criminal record check as base criteria for employment, it should follow given principles. There are a lot of agencies that look into issues of unfair treatment, like the

    • AHRC,
    • E.O.C,
    • And other relevant agencies in the State or Territory.

    There are also special legislations that guide employers/organisations when recruiting in Australia. These laws ensure that the interest and rights of all parties are protected at all times. They include;

    • Fair Work Act,
    • Industrial Act/Laws,
    • Anti-Discriminatory laws (in Tasmania and NT)
    • Human Right laws
    • Privacy Laws
    • Spent Convictions Scheme

    Can a candidate complain about unfair treatment?

    Candidates who feel cheated or unfairly dismissed can complain to an available commission. These commissions or agencies investigate the matter and instigate the necessary legal actions.

    For example, a court may fine or revert an organisation's decision to dismiss a candidate if they assess them based on criminal records that are not inherently relevant to the job role.

    Candidates now have powerful leverage through many of these agencies and establishments campaigning for them. It can often prove very difficult to outwit these agencies, and it is better that your organisation act by the laws.

    While the AHRC does not explicitly prohibit any selective measures based on criminal records during advertisements, they are ever prepared to take up legitimate complaints regarding dismcrination.

    How can I obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?


    If you are an individual, you can obtain a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check online via Australian National Character Check’s application and informed consent form. The results are dispatched via email.

    Business and Enterprise Customers

    Business and Enterprise customers are able to sign up to ANCC’s business portal where they can order, manage, track and view candidates’ police check results on their business portal.

    Organisations will undergo a process of approval prior to being granted access to ANCC’s business portal for the purpose of criminal history checks.

    ANCC sends an invite to the applicant to complete their background check online and handles the application and informed consent form. Contact ANCC’s business and enterprise partnerships team today to enquire about setting up a business portal for your organisation.


    Australian Human Rights Commission (Human Rights: On the record: Recruitment (Chapter 5)) -

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