What Do Employers Look for in a Background Check?

Nearly all employers require a background check as a condition of employment, but traditionally the applicant has no idea what these reports contain. Will it have your traffic tickets, or maybe a misdemeanor charge from when you were a juvenile?

While we can’t tell you exactly what your background check contains, we can tell you what employers are looking for in these reports. We can also show you how you can get your own background check, so let’s take a look.

Will My Employer Perform a Background Check?

Most employers will perform a pre-employment background check. In fact, approximately 95% of employers perform background checks. So, make sure you are prepared for this. It’s hard work looking for a good job, and when you finally get an offer for a job you want, you don’t want your background check to be a problem.

What Will Be Included in a Background Check?

The information that will be included in a background check will vary, but there are some items that will be included in most background checks, such as :

  • Past employment information: The check will show your employment history. Potential employers will be looking for any discrepancies between what you put on your application and what shows up in the background check. So, be careful to be accurate in your application. Even a minor discrepancy could hurt your chances of getting a job.
  • Criminal records: This check will include any criminal history that is publicly available, often including court and police records. Generally, crimes committed as a juvenile are concealed from public view and will not be contained in a background check.
  • Professional Licenses: The background check will also be used to confirm any professional licenses you may have claimed on your application.
  • Educational background: Any schools you attended of degrees you listed on your application will be checked.

Can I Run a Background Check on Myself?

The best way to be prepared for a prospective employer to run a background check on you is to do one yourself ahead of time. Employers will likely have access to more information than most people will be able to find on their own. But, if you can find information out there, it is very likely a prospective employer will find it as well.

There are a number of items you’ll want to check to make sure they are accurate, to remind yourself of anything you may have forgotten, or for anything that may not look good to a potential employer. There are things you can do to see what an employer may find out about you. Also, be honest with any potential employer about what they might see on a background check. This will allow you to give any explanation you want to and give the employer a better impression of you.

Look at Your Social Media Accounts

Most employers today check the social media accounts of their prospective employees. This may seem concerning, but with a little effort, you can make this a plus for you. Be careful what you post. Employers will likely be looking for any offensive or racist comments, signs of drug use, as well as violence or bullying.

However, if you put your best foot forward, employers will take notice. If you seem responsible, trustworthy and show that you would be a good match for the job, your social media accounts can work in your favor.

Check Public Records

Another place you’ll want to check to see what information any potential employer might find in a background check is public records. Some websites may even have some information for free, such as genealogy sites. These sites are meant for checking your family tree, but they are still useful for doing your own background check.

Purchase a Personal Background Check

We can’t tell you in this article exactly what your background check will contain. However, there is a way to know, My Background Check. This service can provide you a background check that you can use to see what is on your report and supply to employers, which they appreciate because they don’t have to pay for it. The best thing about getting a background check for yourself is that once you see the information contained in it, you can correct any inaccurate information. If you do decide to purchase a personal background check, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Be careful what background check company you choose: Make sure you choose a company that abides by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, like My Background Check. This will let you know that your information is being handled appropriately.
  2. Choose the right package: You’ll want to choose a package that includes the kind of information your potential employer will be looking at, such as your education, your driving record, or any licenses or certificates you claimed to have on your application.
  3. Be accurate: To ensure you’ll get a fast and accurate check. Be careful to answer any questions as accurately as you can. It may be difficult to remember all the details, but it can help.

Final Thoughts

Background checks are scary, but at least now you know what to expect. Though we can’t tell you exactly what your report contains, we have even shown you how you can learn.

Though traditional background checks have always been secretive and available only to employers, that is all changing. Now with a personal background check, you have the power to know what this life-changing report contains and ensure it is fair and legal. So, take power back into your own hands and order a personal background check before you send in your next application.

Your personal background check is required for literally everything in your life these days, from employers to rentals. Take control of yours.


PO Box 491570
Redding, CA 96049

Mon-Fri 9AM – 5PM (PST)