Q What is Pre-employment screening?

A Pre-employment screening is the term used for the checking of an applicants employment history and other relevant information and is instigated by the employer with the candidates permission as part of the recruiting process. Pre-employment screening is also known as background checking, probity checks and security checks. Academic and professional qualifications are checked with the appropriate institutions, dates of employment are checked with payroll departments and reference checks are sought from past line managers. Other checks, which may be performed, include criminal history checks, credits checks, bankruptcy checks, and Directorships and Company affiliations. It is generally used as part of the Pre-employment process, but many companies are now opting to check current employees prior to promotion and even perform regular revues.

In Australia, as in the USA and Europe, employment screening has now become a major part of risk management best practice. The new draft Australian Standard for Employment Screening can be downloaded here for your convenience.

Q Why would our company undertake Pre-employment screening?

A The Personnel Risk Management Group (The PRM Group) and their global partners have found that a staggering 25% of people will commit fraud in order to obtain employment. Once that person is on your company’s payroll, it may be difficult to remove them when their inadequacies become evident. They may also do enormous damage to your company whilst employed. There are many examples of companies that have lost millions, even hundreds of millions of dollars by having one rogue employee who may never have commenced work had they been properly screened. A new Australian Standard for employment screening, APRA's "fit and proper persons" standards for the financial industry and an increasing risk of "negligent hiring" legal claims reinforce the case for employment screening.

Q How long has Pre-employment screening been taking place?

A Pre-employment Screening has been widely conducted in the United Kingdom, Europe, South Africa and the United States of America since the early 1990’s.  Over ninety percent of Fortune Five Hundred Companies have a screening policy in the U.S.A.  Founded in 1997 by its Director, Mr Geoff Stockton, The PRM Group was the first organisation in Australia to offer employment screening services and is, arguably, still the market leader in a rapidly growing sector.

Q Do you work with just big companies?

A The PRM Group works with a diverse range of organisations ranging from government agencies, large global corporations to smaller, but by no means less important, companies.  Our services are utilised across all industry types with the level of screening dependent on the employees responsibilities. The PRM Group understand all sorts of different dynamics - some of our clients operate a blanket screening policy, where others select specific parts of our service.

Q What Industry Sectors use Pre-employment Screening?

A Pre-employment screening is mandatory in the financial industry in the United Kingdom, and many financial and insurance companies are now using pre-employment screening in Australia under the new APRA guidelines. The information technology industry is another big user of screening services. In fact, we have customers across a large range of Industry Sectors within Australia and across Asia, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa and U.S.A.

Q Why has The Personnel Risk Management Group become so successful, so quickly?

A I don't think there is a secret. We're just very thorough and rigorous in what we do best. The PRM Group staff are highly trained in investigative skills and this results in high quality results for our valued clients. At The Personnel Risk Management Group we check and re-check everything. We also offer an express service for clients who need checks undertaken on an immediate basis

Q How do people hear about The Personnel Risk Management Group?

A We are now well known in Australia and much of our new business comes though recommendation. We are passionate about what we do and develop long standing relationships with our clients.

Q What kind of experience do the directors of The Personnel Risk Management Group have?

A The principal of The PRM Group is Geoff Stockton. Geoff was employed by the Victoria Police force for twenty-two years and left the service as an Inspector. Most of Geoff's service was in the Criminal Investigation Branch. Geoff attended Detective Training School at Airlie Officers College and he has completed many “in service” courses relating to investigative work. Geoff’s background, and his talent for providing high level training, ensures that all staff also have the benefit of his experience.

Q We would like to do a background screening on a future employee, but we don’t want them to know we are doing it. Can you do these types of checks?

A There are several points of view in making comparisons between pre employment screening done with the employee’s knowledge and without. Because pre employment screening is relatively new to Australia, many employers are shy about requesting information from the candidate. In our experience, we have never had an employee refuse to complete a pre employment screening form. It is very commonplace in USA, England, Europe, South Africa and is quickly becoming commonplace in Australia. Quite simply, it will assist you in verifying the prospective employee’s credentials. Furthermore, a pre employment screening report done with the candidates written consent gains much more practical information about the candidate. It may contain details that they may have omitted from their Curriculum Vitae. In Australia, the candidate must authorise us to proceed.

Q Does the candidate have to be an employee of my company before we complete a pre-employment screening on them?

A No. Any person can be checked as long as they have signed an authority document allowing the prospective employer company and their agents to complete the pre-employment screening.

Q Can our company perform Police Criminal History checks on people without their knowledge?

A No. Police Criminal History checks can be conducted in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries with the candidate’s knowledge and consent. The candidate is required to complete and sign a specific police document requesting the check. The documents vary from country to country. Further documentation such as copies of passports or drivers licenses may also be required depending on the country involved. Companies that offer such services, without the candidate’s knowledge, are to be avoided at all costs.  To conduct online police checks in Australia, please contact a PRM Group representative on 03 9325 4555 or email aus@prm.net.au.

Q Can our company do our own Pre employment screening?

A Although it is possible to conduct your own screening, there are distinct benefits in having an independent company like The PRM Group do the checks for you. Firstly, it is The PRM Group’s core business. We have a global network and can screen people from most parts of the world, depending on legislation and protocols in those countries. Because we know most of the institutions and companies in our region, and because of our global contacts, we can obtain the information more expeditiously. We may take one day to complete what an overworked HR department may take two weeks to do. Additionally, we are INDEPENDENT. We have no contact with the candidate and we report our unbiased findings for your assessment. We will dovetail our procedures with your HR department in order to provide a seamless and cost effective method of candidate screening and permit your HR department to get on with what you know best.

Q We already have a copy of the Certificate - Why do we need to verify the details?

A There are many web sites on the Internet that provide false documentation. The unscrupulous can obtain a degree from just about any Institution in the world for a fee. False passports, false drivers licence, false academic qualifications, false résumés can all be obtained. See for yourself by typing “fake university degree” into your web browser. Academic and Professional Qualifications need to be checked with the original source to verify that they are genuine. The PRM Group has a vast database of Academic and Professional contacts where these certificates are verified and we know what the institution requirements and protocols are in order for that information to be released to a third party.

Q Fraud in the financial sectors across the world seems to be endemic. Are they the same kinds of fraud in your experience in Australia, or are there some specific areas of concern that you have about what is happening here?

A Fraud is endemic. We have Fraud Surveys conducted in 1997 and 2002 by the large accounting/consultancy firm KPMG which is Australia-centric. The most interesting detail was that of the companies that had been surveyed, the second highest response to fraud prevention was reference checking. Many companies do not check reference details and many references are taken at face value without recourse to the referee.

Q What is the most common lie told in Résumé’s?

A Experience with The PRM Group has shown that the most consistent fraud that people commit in their résumés is embellishment or faking their academic qualifications.

We have also found people lying about previous work history in order to hide prior criminal convictions or unsatisfactory work histories. There is almost no limit that people will go to, to obtain employment. We have even had people set up their own company for the purpose of having a partner or friend pretend to be a former employer so that a favourable reference may be given.

Q Can we screen the staff from our contracting companies?

A Contracts, policies and procedures can be altered to stipulate that all staff from contracting companies must be screened by The PRM Group before commencing their contract within your organisation. The level of screening can be customised to suit the needs of the contract service being provided. Contract companies will be requested to provide the screening details for all potential contract staff. Staff will be allowed to commence contract work upon the successful completion of the screening process. Do you know if the person cleaning your office late at night has been properly screened?

Policy and Procedures

Q How does pre-employment screening fit into my current policy and procedures when hiring new personnel?

A There are a number of ways that pre-employment screening can fit into your current policy and procedures as detailed below. Here we have listed the procedures used by some of our clients.

Probation Period

If your company currently has a probationary period for new employees, add an additional clause to the probation requirements. The clause will stipulate that the appointment will be finalised on satisfactory completion of the pre-employment screening process.

Contract Position

The employee takes up the position under contract. The position will be made permanent on the successful completion of the pre-employment screening process.

Delay Start Date

The candidate does not commence employment until the screening process has been satisfactorily completed.

Letter of Offer

The “Letter of Offer” stipulates that the offer is dependent on achieving a satisfactory result in the pre-employment screening process.

Contact Details

Q What is the best way to approach The PRM Group for further information or a free consultation?

A Please complete the Request Information section on this website or contact your PRM Group representative.

Our contact details are as follows:

Phone:  03 9379 3383
Skype:  03 9016 3258
Fax:      03 9379 4581

Email:     aus@prm.net.au

Web:      www.prm.net.au