Background checks are frequently run as part of the pre-employment screening process when you are hired for a position. They are used by companies to help ensure the safety of your future co-workers and the company, especially if your new job will require you to be in contact with sensitive information or documents, as well as finances.
Here’s a rundown of what you should know about these checks:
1. They Want to Know You’re Being Truthful
Part of the information obtained during a background check will determine if there are any outright lies on your application or resume. It’s been estimated that 10% of resumes have red flags in the education section where applicants have either lied or overstated their levels of education. 44% of them had negative driving records and 10% had criminal records in their past. 39% of all background checks have at least one red flag, and even 23% of resumes list employment that can’t be verified or isn’t correct.
2. They Are Likely Looking for More Than Just Criminal Records
Some of the information that a background check will obtain includes arrests as well as actual court records, convictions, warrant information, sex offenses and incarceration details. Some employers will validate your Social Security number to make sure you are eligible to work in the country and haven’t assumed someone else’s identity.
Many employers will also check for your presence on the sex offender registry. Others, depending upon the industry, will run an actual credit report to make sure you are in good standing on current loans, don’t have collection accounts and have no bankruptcies in your past. This is often the case for jobs where you’ll be in charge of other people’s money or advising them how to invest it.
If you are applying to a job where you’ll be required to drive or travel, you’ll likely be subject to a driving records search. States vary on how far back an employer can search, but most range between 3 and 10 years.
3. References and Drug Tests Matter, Too
Additional parts of a background check, depending on how thorough the employer is, can include references from prior employers and personal character witnesses, worker’s compensation records and military records. The amount of information an employer can obtain will vary on these matters across state lines.
Many times, a drug test will be part of the required background check. Ongoing random drug tests may be also be a condition of your employment, so read the fine print so you know what to expect going forward.
4. They May Run Checks on Current Employees
Pre-employment screening isn’t the only time a company will run a background check. Depending on the industry, workplace culture and types of sensitive information employees will have access to, a company may choose to run checks on current employees at regular intervals. However, the checks must be conducted on every employee, or risk claims of discrimination.
5. Social Media Accounts Aren’t Off Limits
Don’t forget that many employers will look at your online social media accounts to gather more information about your character and determine what type of public image you will portray about the company. Even if your accounts are on the most private of settings, you should never post offensive photos, comments or memes that can turn off a future prospective employer.
Final Thoughts – Honesty Is the Best Policy
Most background checks will simply verify the information you’ve given your future employer, like past job responsibilities and titles. The specific information that they can obtain about your past will vary depending upon the records they’re interested in and your state’s privacy laws.
If you embellish too much on your resume, you should change it to reflect your true abilities and work history. If you are asked to take a drug test and you know you will likely fail, tell them so. If you have a criminal history, tell them about it. Some employers will still hire people with checkered pasts, but they don’t want to offer positions to people they can’t trust. Just remember to always be forthcoming, since they will likely discover it anyway.
Author: Sophie Wright
Sophie is a passionate blogger. Being in love with writing her whole life, she started her Free Background Checks blog as a way to shed light and give knowledge on many major social issues and make a difference with her word. The blog was born out of a pure desire to share and connect.
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