Can a Background Screening Check Predict the Future?

Over the previous few a long time, there was a proliferation within the adoption of background screening checks. Think about the case of nationwide police checks. Australia processed about 1,377,344 nationwide police historical past checks between 1 July to 30 September 2018. That’s roughly 5.5 million legal historical past checks for that yr. Evaluate that to only 1 million in 2004. 

Whereas many employers make use of background checks, particularly legal historical past checks like a police check Australia, one main situation has been the predictive worth of such checks? Does a legal file point out the individual is extra more likely to commit a criminal offense and does the absence of a legal file say in any other case?

The True Worth of Background Checks

Background checks could also be restricted since they solely think about the ‘legal historical past’ of a possible rent. Nonetheless, they nonetheless present invaluable perception for previous offenders. In Australia, the recidivism price inside two years is 46.four%. Which means 46.four% of inmates will return to jail inside 2 years. With the knowledge at hand, employers can assess the chance of using a person earlier than continuing.

Limitations of Background Checks

Candidates with a legal historical past are stigmatized in society and expertise issue in securing gainful employment. This makes it tougher for them to guide new lives. Individuals do change however due to prior convictions, the final assumption is that they may offend once more, though this isn’t all the time the case.

Alternatively, if an applicant’s police verify certificates is clear, it’s assumed she or he can be of fine conduct sooner or later. There’s nothing farther from the reality. A number of circumstances abound of individuals with out prior legal convictions partaking in heinous crimes. There’s no method an employer can catch that with a background verify. 

Dealing With These Limitations

Listed below are some solutions on find out how to improve the effectiveness of background screening checks:

  • Sturdy Legal Checks

The 2016 ABS Census revealed that 33% of Australians are born abroad, with practically 20% arriving since 2012. For these with legal information in overseas international locations, a nationwide police verify would possibly flip up a clear sheet. 

To mitigate this risk, employers ought to undertake not solely native police checks like a qld police check, but in addition Worldwide Legal Historical past Checks (ICHCs) for potential workers that spent over 6 steady months in a foreign country throughout the previous 5 years. Relying on the related threat related to the function, academic checks, bank card checks, legal historical past checks, and so forth must also be carried out.

  • Routine Police Checks

Many corporations carry out background screening checks as a one-time factor. The issue with this strategy is that individuals do change, generally for the more severe. That’s why common complete background checks (say each few months) are necessary to assist employers handle the chance and compliance of their workers. 


Background screening checks have restricted predictive worth as a result of the first focus is on the previous. This opens up the chance that an individual with out prior legal information however with excessive potential to commit a criminal offense sooner or later can be employed. It additionally makes it tough for remodeled offenders to get a recent begin at life due to their legal historical past. 

Whereas these limitations are inevitable, they are often drastically diminished by adopting complete and routine screening checks, in addition to taking a holistic perspective within the analysis of candidates. 

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