New Zealand ranks top for ease of starting and doing business per the World Bank report 2020. The highly developed free-market economy in the southwestern Pacific Ocean is politically stable and ranked first in the corruption transparency index. This opens up unique opportunities for investors to establish a business in New Zealand.
However, when entering new business relationships with suitable suppliers, employees, or freelancers, caution must be applied. Carefully exercising background checks in New Zealand can minimize any liability. Employment background screening in New Zealand strengthens the hiring process and maintains a good public perception of the company.
Continue reading this post to understand the local rules and regulations concerning employee searches in New Zealand.
What is Employment Background Verification?
Employment background verification is the most crucial hiring process that establishes a candidate’s ability to work based on the declared information on their CV or resume. It usually involves checks for criminal records, financial debt history, medical records, academic certificates, past work experience, or social media activities.
Background checks are typically performed on shortlisted candidates to assess their trustworthiness or weed out fraudulent employees. It may not be limited to employee screening alone, but global companies can extend it to independent contractors, suppliers, or vendors.
The methodology followed in a standard background search process involves prior consent seeking, collection of personal data (limited to a specific purpose), verification, and analysis from private or public databases.
Benefits of Background Checks in New Zealand
Here are the potential benefits of conducting background checks in New Zealand.
Identify false claims
- Pre-employment background checks in New Zealand allow companies to identify any false or inaccurate information about the potential candidate.
- It helps companies to determine if the candidate is suitable for the position in terms of educational qualification and job experience.
Improving the standard of job applications
- Mandatory declaration of pre-employment testing in job advertisements signals a robust, risk-free hiring policy. It helps potential employees feel aligned from the start.
- This will result in genuine applications, thereby improving the overall quality of the hiring process.
Minimizes risk liabilities
- Company background checks in New Zealand report on creditworthiness and market reputation to ensure transparency when forging new partnerships with suppliers or vendors.
- This will minimize financial and legal liabilities.
Ensuring a safer workplace
- Criminal background checks or periodic drug and alcohol testing ensure a safer working environment for all employees.
Optimizes company time and resources
- Hiring can be a resource-draining process, particularly when employee turnover is the highest.
- Pre-employment background checks identify genuine job seekers and effectively reduce the frequent quitting of employees.
- Hiring the right candidate allows employers to strengthen their team instead of repeatedly looking to fill the same vacancy.
Are Background Checks Legal in New Zealand?
Employers can conduct background checks before and during employment in New Zealand. Standard checks look into applicants’ criminal or credit history to minimize the employer’s liabilities, whereas drug and alcohol testing help maintain a safe workplace.
However, employers must conduct background searches in New Zealand in proportion to the interviewed job role. For instance, jobs involving simple cash handling duties like retail assistant may not be eligible for credit history checks.
Employers can conduct employment background checks in New Zealand in-house through an HR team or contract third-party experts to stay compliant with the local rules and regulations while screening before hiring.
Things to Know When Conducting a Background Check in New Zealand
The following section discusses the most popular employment background checks in New Zealand.
- Employers must get written consent to seek the relevant criminal history of job applicants or employees.
- Employers may obtain criminal history for employment background screening in New Zealand in two ways:
- The Ministry of Justice can provide a list of criminal and traffic convictions.
- However, past criminal convictions covered under the clean slate rules are not disclosed.
- The NZ Police Vetting Service provides criminal history checks and other relevant information that did not result in convictions.
- However, employers must not get influenced by police vetting. They must provide an opportunity for the job applicant or employee to correct the information or provide an explanation.
- Employers may make a conditional employment offer before getting information from the Ministry of Justice or Police about criminal background checks in New Zealand.
- Employers need prior written consent for credit checks in New Zealand.
- This background search in New Zealand applies to job positions involving significant financial risks like accounts or financial administration.
- New Zealand’s background check law prohibits employers from using credit checks to create a shortlist during hiring.
- Instead, credit checks must be used for shortlisted applicants as part of a pre-employment check in New Zealand.
- Employers may verify candidates’ past work experience and assess their eligibility to rehire with employment background checks in New Zealand.
- Employers can communicate via telephone or email with the individual’s professional references.
- Employers may conduct background checks in New Zealand on disclosed education qualifications in the CV or resume.
- Employers may also verify the current status of an individual’s claimed professional license and certified training courses.
- Employers may gain valuable insights into job applicants’ or employees’ social life using social media platforms.
- HR background checks in New Zealand use public information on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., to assess the job applicant.
- However, employers must avoid befriending prospects or their employees with a fake profile or via a fictitious contact on social media for background screening in New Zealand.
Information Essential for a Background Check in New Zealand
Employers or contracted third-party service providers may collect the following information for background searches in New Zealand:
- First and last name
- Date of birth
- Email ID
- Social media profile URL
- Last known and current residential address
- School name, school’s city
- Academic majors, transcripts, degree copy
- Validity of training certification
- Professional license number, date of issuance, expiry date
- Personal & Professional references
- Self-declaration of criminal conventions
While employers may ask job applicants and employees to disclose their previous names for thorough employment background checks in New Zealand, they can’t use this information for other purposes. For example, discovering the previous identity of a transgender person and denying them equal opportunities based on it.
Process Involved in Background Checks in New Zealand
Employers may frame their guidelines based on the standard process for background checks in New Zealand:
Step 1: Informing the candidate
- Employers must seek written consent from the candidates before conducting background checks.
- During any point in the background checks, employers must grant employees access to collected and processed information and provide them an opportunity to explain discrepancies if found.
Step 2: Information gathering
- All essential information required for employment background screening in New Zealand is disclosed in the previous section.
- The most straightforward way for employers to know about potential candidates is to check their presence in public media.
- Employers must exercise caution while gathering personal data. The provisions under the Privacy Act mandate the collection of personal information to fulfill a particular purpose only.
Step 3: Analysis and verification
- Employers may watch out for any inconsistency when performing the following checks:
- Employers may apply online to request a copy of criminal records from the Ministry of Justice.
- Employers may seek the latest credit information from the official website and later analyze the information.
- Analyze appearances and behavioral traits on social media
- Evidence indicates moonlighting, such as social security contributions from more than one employer simultaneously.
Industries and Situations Most Suitable for Background Checks in New Zealand
Criminal background checks in New Zealand are necessary to prevent unethical or unprofessional behavior in the workplace. Global organizations working in social sectors and serving the vulnerable, including children, older people, and people with special needs, must seek the New Zealand Police Vetting before hiring staff to work or volunteer for them.
Hiring staff to work in the food processing industry, construction or manufacturing requires periodic medical and health checks.
Employers may work proactively with employees on policies and processes regarding the effects of alcohol and drugs in the workplace. Moreover, employers across industries in New Zealand may regularly perform employee screening to minimize risk liabilities.
How Multiplier Helps With Background Checks
Misinterpreting New Zealand’s background check law and compliance requirements may result in additional burdens for employers. This is why global companies and entrepreneurs partner with cloud-based solutions, like Multiplier to eliminate all risks concerning global employment and hiring abroad.
Multiplier does not deploy direct resources for employee screening and background checks but collaborates with trusted partners for background checks in New Zealand.