Getting your degree as an engineer is no small feat. Congratulations for that!
Now it’s time to apply for your first job and, with your degree in hand, you’re confident all will go smooth.
However, you still have to pass the dreaded job interview and the background checks. What are those and why are there necessary?
Let’s have a look.
Background checks are common practice
If you’re new to the job market, the news that you will have to submit to a background check might come as a surprise. In most cases, you have nothing to worry about, such checks are increasingly routine for Australian businesses.
Recruiting agents use employment police checks to make sure the people they hire in an organisation are trustworthy and do not have a criminal background.
Why should that be a problem? It is as there are many fields where engineers have access to dangerous materials, including explosives and hiring someone with a criminal past can pose a lot of problems. Such cases are rare, but HR managers have to make sure the person they hire for such a position does not have ties with terrorist or criminal organisations. For most people fresh out of school that’s inconceivable, but it is the Human Resources department’s job to make sure of it. It’s not personal in any way. It’s just common sense.
Nobody needs problem employees
While the risk of having ties with a terrorist organisation is quite remote, there are many other potential issues recruiting agents need to screen for.
Take for instance the case of a job applicant with a significant drinking problem. A quick criminal history check might reveal drunk driving convictions, involvement in violent incidents fueled by alcohol consumption and so on. The risks are very high in terms of job performance. Would you like to live in a building designed by a structural engineer with a serious drinking problem? Or fly in a plane designed by someone whose vision is permanently clouded by alcohol?
The same goes for heavy drug users. Another problem with drug addicts is that they might resort to stealing or embezzling company money to fund their habit.
That’s why criminal checks are a must in this profession and, rest assured, it’s not just about engineers. These days most employees have to undergo background checks as part of the pre-hiring screening.
What to expect during a background check
First of all, you need to know that an employer cannot conduct a background check on you without your consent. If such a check is not already mentioned in the job advertisement, you will be asked about that during the job interview.
The good news is that such a procedure won’t cause you any trouble. Most businesses now use online character check agencies that can deliver a full criminal history check in a couple of days. You won’t have to go to the local police station to get it yourself. You will only be asked to provide a photo, a selfie will do, and some basic information, such as full name and address. That’s all.
If you have the skills required the job is yours!