How to Ensure Your Background Check Is Accurate
Nearly every job in the modern-day requires a background check to be performed on potential candidates, and though it is rare, these checks can have inaccurate information. If this happens, it could cost you your chances of scoring your next job. Fortunately, it is possible to correct this inaccurate or simply erroneous information and make sure your background looks its best when it’s time for employers to see it.
Run a Background Check on Yourself
Employers aren’t the only ones that can pay for a professional background check. Nowadays, anyone can run a background check on themselves for a surprisingly low cost, and by choosing a professional company that is compliant with the FCRA, you can be sure that you are seeing the same things that your employer will. This means that you can check it for any inaccuracies. Pay special attention for:
- The spelling of your name.
- Incorrect Social Security number.
- Warrants for bad checks you didn’t write.
- Suspended licenses in your name.
These are some of the easiest things to check for and some of the most common areas for discrepancies as well. Also, if you have a particularly common name, consider providing your employer with additional identifying information such as your full middle name, previous addresses, birthdate, maiden name, and potentially even your Social Security number. This can help to ensure any information they receive is, in fact, your own.
Fix Any Misinformation
If you do find any errors in your background check, don’t panic. You can fix it, and though it may be embarrassing if your potential employer is the one to find it, they are required by law to give you a chance to correct it. Employers are required to give a minimum of five business days to respond to a pre-adverse action notice before making a final decision. The employer must also provide you with “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” the contact information for the agency that provided the background check, and most importantly, a copy of the background check they used. Armed with this information, you can begin correcting any errors.
Depending on the type of error you encounter, there are different ways to solve it, so let’s take a look at each.
- Criminal Information: For criminal misidentification, you can clear it up by contacting the courthouse where the alleged offense was reported. Here you can request a security clearance, provide your personal information, and, unfortunately, pay a fee. If the error was from an FBI fingerprint report, you can go to their website and fill out the appropriate forms there to correct the error.
- Credit Information: For negative misinformation in a credit report, you can request a free credit report under the FCRA in order to see what is being reported and then contact the agency reporting it to have the misinformation corrected. Be ready to provide further personally-identifying information in order to verify your identity.
- Education: This is pretty easy to solve. Simply call your school’s office of student affairs or registrar and ask them to contact the screening agency to verify the correct information.
Remember that whenever possible, it is better to confirm and solve these issues before they come to your employer’s attention. Performing a background check on your own is affordable and can often be used to show your potential employers. This can save your potential employer some time and money and put you a step ahead of the other candidates.