Frequently Asked Questions
New Zealand is a safe and trusting society; surely there is no need to screen job applicants?
Historically, we are a very trusting people and like to think we are a good judge of character and that the person sitting opposite us for that job interview has submitted an honest CV and would never steal from us.
But the truth is that in the 12 months to June 2010, a total of 255,253 criminal convictions were handed down by the New Zealand courts, an increase of 9% on the previous year. And only one in ten were sentenced to prison, so most of those with criminal convictions are free walking the street and they need to work for someone!
Professional background screening is the most efficient and economical means of ensuring you do not inadvertently hire unsuitable candidates.
How long does PVL take to complete a background check?
About a week, usually. But with one significant exception – New Zealand criminal records checks.
The Ministry of Justice undertakes criminal records checks and they aim to process requests within 20 working days (i.e. about a calendar month).
Because of this delay, and provided our other checks come back OK (especially if a candidate passes our 20-minute Integrity test), many clients are choosing to hire a candidate immediately, contingent on the return of a satisfactory criminal record check.
The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2010 allows any employer to hire new employees on a trial period of up to 90 days without running the risk of a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal. We recommend you avail yourself of this trial period in case an adverse undeclared criminal records history is returned after you have employed the candidate. The trial period must be agreed to by both parties before employment commences, and be recorded in writing.
Incidentally, some background screening providers claim to be able to offer a quicker return on criminal records checks. This is simply untrue. The Ministry of Justice has a longstanding policy of processing requests strictly in the order it receives them. If a provider makes such a claim, what else are they not being truthful about?
Why should I choose PVL ?
1. Our Experience
PVL’s founder has been continuously involved in employee screening assessments in New Zealand since 1996.
We constantly analyse and report on significant employee fraud and false CV's, with updates added to our web site "News" pages every week, often daily.
We are the only background screening company committed to raising awareness and educating businesses by freely sharing and publishing our insights and assessments in the evolving nature and inventiveness of employee fraud in New Zealand. No other screening provider does this.
And when a major employee theft or fake CV case is exposed (like Mary-Anne Thompson's CV fraud, or the Stephen Wilce case or Michael Swann's $17 million theft, the media turn to us as the recognised experts in New Zealand, for informed comment .
Call us if you would like transcripts or DVD's of our appearances and interviews on TV One, TVNZ 7, Maori Television, Radio NZ, Newstalk ZB, RadioLIVE, Radio Rhema, magazines Employment Today and Safeguard, or our speeches on background screening presented at LexisNexis HR and Employment conferences and New Zealand Security Association conferences.
2. Craig Gubbins
PVL was founded and is operated by a former Manager of the New Zealand Government’s own Security Vetting programme. In choosing PVL for your CV verification requirements you benefit from the wealth of security experience that Craig has developed in his 26 year career in intelligence and analysis with the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service. This makes PVL the most experienced background screening company in New Zealand.
Why settle for anything less than this level of experience and expertise for your employee background screening needs?
3. PVL also offers online Integrity Assessments
PVL is the only pre-employment screening service in New Zealand able to offer this test to assess personal integrity. In a unique process, the system “learns” about the candidate in real time and tailors the computer-based questions to individually generated responses. It also weighs the responses depending on the applicant’s individual work experience. This means that the more work experience, the more weight is given to past behaviour, the less work experience, the more weight given to implicative questioning.
This test has reached an extremely high level of validity in predicting an applicant's propensity toward dishonesty - 0.92 in comparative testing with a polygraph test on each of the individual constructs examined – theft, bribery, gambling, substance abuse, loyalty and accountability.
This 20 minute test is in use around the world with more 12,000 administered every month for pre employment screening purposes. In New Zealand, this test is only available from PVL.
4. PVL utilises SCAN (Scientific Content Analysis).
Craig is the only certified analyst in New Zealand. By using PVL you gain access to a level of forensic analysis that is not available anywhere else in the country. Since 1999, Craig has been using SCAN to assess the truthfulness of statements made in relation to murder, blackmail, corruption, extortion and employment investigations.
5. PVL conducts face to face interviews
Reference checking has become commonplace. But invariably in-house HR departments, employment agencies and all other New Zealand employment screening providers fulfil this requirement by telephone because it involves little time, effort, cost or skill.
Anyone can be given a set of prepared questions and told to telephone a referee and write down their responses.
Based on our lengthy experience, the only way to obtain useful, meaningful information is to conduct personal interviews of referees, and for it to be undertaken by a trained and skilled professional interviewer, able to elicit information specifically relevant to the candidate and the position under consideration.
PVL’s founder has undertaken more than 900 face-to-face interviews of the public. This type of reference checking does cost more, naturally; but it represents a very considerable enhancement on the perfunctory and generic questioning associated with faceless telephone interviews.
Personal interviews are definitely value for money as referees are inclined to give more considered and thoughtful responses, and this in turn provides employers with more significant information on which to base a hiring decision.
Also, a professionally conducted personal interview by PVL will enhance your company’s reputation and status with the public.
Are you licensed Private Investigators?
No. Most companies in New Zealand that offer pre-employment screening are licensed Private Investigators because their core business is private enquiry work (e.g. insurance, theft and fraud claims). This work is to some extent clandestine which is why a licence is required.
There is nothing surreptitious about what we do. There is no need to undertake that type of enquiry (and it is unlawful anyway) because what we are interested in is whether the subject is telling us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Job applicants feel unfairly treated when a screening provider (like a Private Investigator) goes behind their back to obtain information about them, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner continues to receive and uphold complaints about such behaviour.
We examine and assess public records, what the candidate tells us, and what their nominated referees and past employers tell us. The subject is fully informed about what we are going to do, knows that what they tell us will be investigated to ascertain its veracity, and must sign a written consent. Should they not wish to engage in the process, we can draw an inference from that decision.
If your question is still left un-answered, please get in contact with us