Background Checking

Background checking company PeopleCheck celebrates 10th anniversary

Take a look at Newcastle Herald’s ‘business news’ story on PeopleCheck, a ‘hunter first company probing in to the past’, that features PeopleCheck’s Managing Director, Summa McCosker!

Source: Newcastle Herald

Date: 4 October 2016

Roughly 50 per cent of the employees investigated by the Hunter’s only background checking service provide incorrect information on their CVs or do not disclose all the personal details they should.

Managing director and founder of PeopleCheck, Summa McCosker, said her company had uncovered serious discrepancies in about 30 per cent of its investigations, which could significantly affect an employer. These range from false qualifications to criminal charges overseas and even a 25 year jail term for murder.

“People want to see the best in others, but candidates want to sell an image to you – and some do whatever it takes to get into an organisation,” Ms McCosker said. “The most common things we see are assault convictions, drink driving convictions and qualifications that are not completed or fake.”

PeopleCheck, which this week celebrates its 10th birthday, has grown from a one-woman venture to the country’s largest privately owned background checking company.

Ms McCosker is a qualified criminologist who started working in the field in 1998, when the concept was almost unheard of in Australia.

Her company now serves 400 clients, including the Williamtown NAAC Project, Mine Wealth + Wellbeing, Newcastle Permanent and Whipper Recruitment. It also has clients across the country and the world, including the US and Qatar.

“You can never eliminate risk, but you can minimise and mitigate it,” she said.  “Business owners owe it to themselves to do background checks. You can’t risk not checking the people with who you’re entrusting your assets. There’s a risk they may not be qualified, but there’s also a risk they might have something undesirable.”

PeopleCheck has to get consent from the candidates it investigates. Ms McCosker said most clients check every new employee or when an employee’s role changes – and some re-screen regularly. She said assuming only CVs that raise suspicions or only people in senior roles need to be checked is incorrect. “Sometimes the most risky people can be those with access to information, such as personal assistants or cleaners,” she said. “It’s not about level of seniority, but about the level of risk.”

Ms McCosker said at the very least, businesses should start with a police history check, which start from $50.

Comprehensive customised checks ranging up to $500 include references, employment, experience, qualifications; and using public records to check financial background, business interests, court appearances, watch lists, driving history, appearances in the media and other personal information relevant to the role.

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