This section shows you how you can make pre-employment and misconduct screening part of your recruitment process.

Develop a pre-employment screening policy

Your whole pre-employment screening policy should align with your recruitment practices and comply with:

Writing a position description

Before you write a position description, conduct a role-based risk assessment to help you decide what screening checks are needed.

Once you’ve determined what checks you’ll need, include them in the position description. Make sure to add that they’ll need to complete a declaration and consent form (DOCX 153KB) to screen for misconduct.

Or if a candidate can’t use the statutory declaration, they can use the misconduct declaration form (DOCX 137KB).

This helps discourage candidates from:

  • giving false information
  • exploiting your process or integrity weaknesses
  • continuing misconduct in new jobs.

In the position description, you must tell candidates:

  • how you’re going to screen them
  • the role’s inherent requirements
  • the role’s risk level.

Here’s some example text:

Pre-employment and misconduct screening requirements

This position has the following inherent requirements, which we’ve assessed as having a higher level of risk:

  • [requirement 1]
  • [requirement 2]

As part of our recruitment process, preferred candidates must complete a pre-employment misconduct screening declaration and consent form.

Read more about pre-employment misconduct screening at [link] or by calling [XXXX XXXX].

Writing job advertisements

You must base your job advertisements on the inherent requirements of the role.

Your advertisement must have a statement that tells preferred candidates:

  • they may undergo pre-employment screening
  • how you use their information
  • you only screen for relevant misconduct history
  • they’ll still undergo other checks, such as a police check
  • where they can read more about this policy, such as this website

If you want to screen more than the preferred candidate, write this in your advertisement and position description. But seek legal advice on how to word this.

Refer to your local recruitment policy and procedure for general guidance on advertising roles.

Interviewing candidates

Tell each candidate you interview that you’ll screen the preferred candidate for misconduct and any other checks required.

If you plan to screen more than the preferred candidate, let everyone you interview know.

In the interview, advise candidates of their rights to informed consent.

Give them a link to this policy so they can read more.

Pre-employment checks and misconduct validations

Pre-employment screening can be done by your recruitment team, hiring manager or a trusted third-party provider.

However, misconduct screening should be done by an independent consideration panel. They’ll review and assess misconduct declarations.

The independent consideration panel can be set up by your recruitment team. It can be a person or persons with seniority, in addition to strong investigative skills.

The panel:

  • maintains confidentiality and reduces the risk of unlawful discrimination and bias to the candidate
  • reviews the declaration and validates the information by contacting the previous employers
  • makes a recommendation to the hiring panel on whether the candidate is suitable or not
  • never shares any information with the hiring panel

Validation outcomes

You may want to develop a process to record the validation outcomes and the impact these have on the employment offer.

Your process must comply with the Information Privacy Principles and best practice records management.

The benefits of this are to:

  • track and evaluate your own process
  • identify trends at a local level
  • better respond to validation requests you get from other organisations
  • support whole-of-Victorian-government analysis of the pre-screening policy

Candidate confidentiality

Throughout your process, think about how you can protect the candidate’s sensitive and private information.

If you use the phone to validate information, try to verify the identity of the caller or stop the call from being overheard by a third party.

Have a way to verify the identity of anyone who needs to release information to you. This includes the preferred candidate, current and former employers.

Always explain the process and confirm the person you’re contacting has the authority to validate the candidate’s information.

Take notes of the conversation and have the written record signed by both parties. This could be through an email confirmation of your notes.

Always remind the person you’re speaking with that their comments need to:

  • be honest and fair
  • not be about the candidate’s protected attributes
  • not be about any personal characteristics not related to the candidate’s ability to fulfil the inherent requirements of the role

A candidate is generally entitled to access any information you collect about them.

Responding to concerns disclosed in screening

If anything concerning comes up through screening:

  • determine if it will impact the candidate’s ability to perform the role
  • determine if there’s a conflict of interest
  • assess the risk
  • ask the candidate if they’d like to respond to the concerns
  • make further enquiries if needed.

Read more about how to respond to negative or incomplete screening checks.

Integrity impacts

If a candidate knowingly makes a false statement in recruitment, this may be against the public sector values.

This means your organisation may:

  • not consider them for the role
  • terminate their employment if you’ve already hired them

Making an offer

You can offer a candidate a role if there are no misconduct issues that would:

  • stop them from doing the role’s inherent requirements
  • create an unacceptable level of risk

For an executive role, the contract should have a clause that states:

  • the candidate agrees they’ve provided true and correct information in their application
  • providing false or misleading information is likely to be a breach of the Public Sector Values
  • consequences of this may include termination of their employment.

Records management

Treat all information you send or receive as personal information, in line with the Information Privacy Principles and good records management.

This includes:

  • secure storage and restricted access of screening forms and outcomes those who have a need to know
  • rules on how long you’ll store and when you’ll update outcomes

Never store any of this information in your personal files, such as OneDrive.

You must develop a secure and restricted file storage location that only the people who pre-screen candidates can use.

Read the Public Records Office of Victoria guide on what you need to do.