How Background Screening Checks Affect Workplace Culture

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As background checks are becoming increasingly popular in Australia, many job applicants understand that honesty pays. Being straightforward about your past gives you a better chance to land a job rather than trying to hide unpleasant parts about your past, especially when it comes to having a criminal record.

A number of workplaces try to take shortcuts due to the costs involved with having a through background screening policy in the workplace, the costs of the checks themselves, and the human resources that must be utilised to carry out pre-employment checks. Although in countries such as Australia and New Zealand it is not possible to get a free criminal history check, the information given below summarizes why having a solid background screening policy pays dividends to businesses in the long term.

How many people lie on their resume

If you are thinking embellishing the facts on your CV can help you get the job you want, think again. Human resources managers know there are at least some lies on your well-crafted resume. See, you’re not the only one to come up with this brilliant idea.

According to a study, roughly 50% of all job applicants lie on their resume. The percentage goes as high as 70% for young people looking for their first job.

Most people will lie about their qualifications or work experience, but some 10% of the lies refer to past convictions.

There are also rare cases of complete frauds who come up with a totally false identity and credentials just to get a much-coveted job.

Why do background checks matter

In most cases, an experienced recruiting agent has no trouble spotting a liar. These people know what to look for in a resume and they’re very good at interpreting body language and non-verbal clues. If you lie during the job interview, they will know. Even if they cannot tell exactly what it is you’re lying about they will check your resume until they find out.

One of the most delicate moments during a job interview is when the HR manager casually mentions to the job applicant that they will have to submit to a background check. The HR manager will closely monitor the job seeker’s answer and body language to discover if the prospect makes them uncomfortable.

Honesty is the best policy

A person with a criminal record looking for a job has two options – coming clean about their past or trying to hide their past. Ever since background checks have become commonplace, HR personnel are discovering that more and more people choose the first option.

Stands to reason that you’re better off telling the truth from the very beginning if you know there’s a chance the truth will come out anyway. At least, you get points for honesty. Anyone can figure this out. If you lie about your criminal record and get caught you can pretty much say goodbye to that job. You cannot even pretend to be discriminated against, as they won’t deny you the job based on your criminal record but simply because you lied during the interview.

A safer workplace

The way people are learning to conduct themselves during the job interview has wide implications for their future behaviour. This is essential when it comes to people with a criminal record. Since being honest is what helped them get the job in the first place, they will be encouraged to behave the same in the future just because they see the benefits of such conduct.

This is a far cry from the times when such background checks were not widely used. An ex-felon could easily get away with a lie about their criminal history and they would continue to be dishonest, especially as they had a past to hide.

All-in-all, using national police checks as a background screening tool makes the workplace safer since you can keep dangerous people away and you can be fairly confident employees with a criminal record you know about won’t cause particular problems in the future. 

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