When you meet someone for the first time how can you tell whether the person in front of you is trustworthy? We judge people by their looks, the way they talk, body language, and we tend to form an opinion quickly – ‘This guy seems to have an honest face’. When it comes to women, people are more inclined to have a positive opinion on them, as we tend to associate crime mostly with men.
However, if you’re working in Human Resources you cannot go by hunches and assumptions as appearances can be deceptive.
Men are ten times more likely to have a criminal record
Throughout history and across all nations, studies have consistently shown that men commit more criminal offences than women. It is more than statistics, it’s something that has been ingrained in our brains. When talking to a stranger we’re more suspicious of men than women, and for good cause.
For Australia, the figures are very clear. A study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics documenting the relation between crime and gender shows that men account for more than 90 per cent of the country’s prison population.
In the time from June 2017, there were noted to be around 2,100 female and a total of 26,100 male sentenced prisoners within Australia alone.
Common serious offences that were found to be committed by female prisoners based within Australia were found to be drug trafficking (21%) and acts intended to cause bodily harm or injury (15%). It was shown by the statistics that as far as the men were concerned, violent acts represented the most common serious offence’ (18%).
From the official statistics as per the Australian Bureau of Statistics, females were found to be more likely to have been sentenced for an offence like fraud, deception and related types of criminal offences, 10% compared with 2% of the male counterparts.
Further to this, it was found that sexual assault and related types of offences were evidently more prevalent amongst the men, 14% compared with 2% of the female prisoner counterparts.
The need for workplaces to do a proper background check regardless of gender
When you offer someone a job, you offer them your trust and it is inevitable even for the best HR manager not to be a bit subjective. In this particular situation, any misjudgment will not backfire only against the recruiting agent, the whole organisation will suffer. The actions of that person might cause harm to staff members and might generate substantial financial losses for the company, whether in the form of decreased productivity or downright theft or embezzlement.
As statistics show, females are more inclined to commit acts of fraud and deception so you cannot work on the assumption that a female job seeker is less likely to have a criminal record. You must always check and make sure the person in front of you is not a threat to the company, no matter what your gut feelings tell you.
The easiest way to put your mind at ease and keep your organisation safe is to work with an accredited agency that can do screening checks.
In a country like Australia, state and territory governments have mandated background checks for both men and women that have access to vulnerable persons like children. For example, if you are working with children in Australia there are state/territory working with children check requirements that you will need to follow before you are even considered to have employment in sensitive job roles that may impact vulnerable children. These strategies to protect the vulnerable make sense and in our opinion should be utilised globally.
If the candidate is indeed a law-abiding citizen, he or she will understand why you need to perform a background check. If the candidate does have something to hide, they will learn to be more forthcoming at the next job interview and own up to their past mistakes.
Sam Crechner is a student who is completing his masters in Philosophy from the Australian National University.