More organisations and companies around the country are requiring police checks from their applicants. This is a good step to ensure the safety and integrity of their assets and people. But without the right systems in place, well-intentioned police check requirements can backfire. This is why we have created this guide to refresh and inform organisations on how to create a more robust Australian police check policy.
Whether you are a small or medium-sized organisation, this guide can help strengthen your police check policy. It might even urge you to create one if you currently do not require it. Without further ado, here are the most important rules to follow for a strong Australian police check policy.
Perhaps the most important responsibility that comes with recruitment is to be familiar with the legislation set in place by governing bodies. To a lay person, police checks might seem like a no-brainer requirement that should be asked when applying for any job. This, however, is not always the case.
Some jobs legally require applicants to be clear of any criminal history. For these jobs, it would be fair to require a police check for employment. But other jobs do not have direct legal requirements. Even so, the employers can still ask about their criminal record only if there is a connection between the inherent requirements of the job and the criminal history.
The tricky part is knowing which rules apply to your particular state or area. Though most of these rules are applicable nationwide, some states have more specific rules on the matter. So, make sure to stay on the loop when it comes to changes and amendments in police checking. Having legal advice would also be best when dealing with this requirement.
Another important step employers must include in their police checking policy is to always state this requirement in their classified ads. This is to inform the public about what to expect when applying for the job.
It should also briefly state how criminal record information is relevant to the job. This creates an open exchange of information and leaves no room surprises on the later stages of the recruitment process. Neglecting to state this vital requirement can turn your applicants off and may even put the company’s reputation at risk.
As an employer, you might feel that applicants should disclose their criminal records. But on the side of the applicants, they might feel judged or discriminated if the requirement was not stated in the first stages of the application. This is especially true among applicants who have a criminal record. They have their reasons for not disclosing this and as much as possible, employers should try and respect that.
Transparency is one of the key things that is emphasised in the legislation surrounding Australian police check requirements. Employers that keep the process fair and open in the early stages are less likely to deal with complaints of discrimination further down the line.
If you have to ask for an Australian police check, then explain why it is necessary. Do not leave applicants in the dark by skipping over the explanation. Brief them on why certain offences may be relevant to the job and how they can affect the job. They have to see why it is necessary so that it is easier to get their consent. This leads us to the next rule.
Perhaps one of the most important rules with regards to police check requirements is to ask for consent. This can be done through waivers or some kind of contract that legally proves the applicant’s consent to fulfil the request.
Police checks contain highly sensitive information which is why many applicants shy away from it. This is understandable considering the stigma that comes with having a criminal background. Documented consent will protect the organisation while making sure that the applicant’s rights are still respected.
Criminal record checks are completely unnecessary during the first stages of the application when recruiters are just calling them in for an initial interview. In most cases, police checks should only be requested from applicants who are already short-listed.
Doing so minimises the time-consuming preparation of consent to disclosure forms and expensive charges. This also lessens the risk of disclosing confidential information when it is not important.
Another important thing that employers have to practice when it comes to police checks request is to provide applicants with ample time to prepare. If you are calling them in for a final interview where details of the police check results will be discussed, then make sure to inform them about it.
Inviting applicants in for an interview and barraging them with questions about their previous conviction can be off-putting, and again, can turn into an unpleasant discrimination complaint.
Once a decision has been made about the fate of a job applicant with a criminal record, employers have the responsibility to provide the appropriate feedback. A successful job applicant who has been accepted into the organisation might be worried about the confidentiality of the information. Will they keep it confidential? Or will it be disclosed to some members of the organisation?
Assurance is very important in the early stages of onboarding newly hired applicants. This can make their transition to the new company easier and faster. It can also lighten the stress off their shoulders.
An unsuccessful job applicant, on the other hand, might think that the rejection was due to his or her criminal record. If the reason is not the criminal record, then the exact reasons should be plainly stated. Constructive feedback can also be given whenever possible.
Police checks need to be conducted properly and accurately. It is, therefore, highly recommended to work with a reputable agency to make the process easier not only for the recruiter’s side,but for the applicants as well.
If you wish to work with a police check agency, then you can call on trusted agencies like Australian National Character Check to deliver Australian police checks for recruitment purposes.