How to Protect Your Data When Applying for Pre-Employment Screening Checks?

Employee Screening

Surveys show that 95% of employers require potential employees to undergo some type of pre-employment screening checks. This is understandable considering the important information they provide to hiring professionals; from education/qualification verification to criminal history checks. This information helps them to make better hiring decisions.

But before carrying out these checks, applicant data has to be obtained. Moreover, these checks will uncover much more information about the applicant. That’s why many applicants opt to carry out background checks on themselves.

But in today’s world, the issue of data protection is a major concern. This post will explore ways in which applicants can protect their data when undergoing pre-employment screening checks.

Know The Law

A Consent is Required

Before an applicant or potential employer carries out background checks on the applicant, formal consent from the applicant is required. Therefore, applicants must first give the go-ahead before any screening check can be carried out. Whether you are applying for a taxi driver job where you will have unsupervised access to vulnerable persons, or you will be working within a position of trust with access to sensitive information, or other kids of vulnerable groups like children, an informed consent is always required.

Complying with privacy legislation

Pre-employment checks are confidential in nature and so, mishandling of an applicant’s information is a breach of the Privacy Act. In Australia, compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles (APP) is expected from employers. Here are some of the rules as laid out by APP:

    • Employers must only collect and use personal information that is relevant to the role in question.
    • Employers must inform applicants of the type of checks needed and get an informed consent from them before proceeding.
    • Employers must ensure that the personal information obtained is accurate and complete.
    • Sensitive information must not be obtained from applicants. Examples of such include political opinion, religious belief, sexual preferences, and more.
    • Permissible Pre-screening Checks

The following are the types of checks that employers are legally permitted to carry out on applicants: academic record, character reference, credit history, criminal history check, character reference, employment history, passport check, medical screening, and psychological screening.

Use a Reputable Screening Check Company

If applicants wish to carry out background checks on themselves, it is prudent they use a reputable screening company that will adhere to the privacy laws in place and ensure data integrity.

Australian based service, Australian National Character Check for instance, specializes in carrying out national police checks, bankruptcy checks, and right to work checks. The police check application is completed online. Here is how they handle applicants’ data:

Encrypted online platform and comprehensive privacy policy

They make use of secure SSL encryption technology to ensure that their personal information is well guarded. There is a comprehensive privacy policy that any applicant can view.

Disputing results option

If any concern arises about their check, applicants can contact the organization to raise a results dispute to help clarify the situation.

Be Careful of the Information You Divulge.

Applicants should know that certain information should never be given out. For instance, information that’s not related to the role should not be divulged. Also, applicants are not obligated to give employers any sensitive information unless it is explicitly asked for.


Data protection is a big issue in today’s digital world. That’s why applicants have to ensure that they know what’s expected of them, and only divulge information that is relevant to the role.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.