What Information Do Employers See in a Background Check?
If you have applied for a job and made it past the initial stage of the hiring process, you’ve probably had your background checked. Most employers run a background check on applicants they’re seriously considering hiring. But what does the potential employer see when running that check?
These reports contain information about you and your past. That information includes your name, address, civil judgments, traffic violations, arrests, convictions, and more. This information is from public records kept by state and local governments, verified by consumer reporting agencies, and given to your potential employer. Here are some important items that are likely in your background check.
A background screening will confirm your identity. It will contain your name, address, past addresses, and birth date. It may also verify whether your Social Security number is valid and in use.
Education and Professional Licenses
Employers also use background checks to verify the education information you supply and confirm any licenses or certificates you claim to have. The background check company will contact any educational or licensing institutions listed on your application and verify the information. These details include your attended dates and any degrees, certificates, or licenses.
The background screening will show any current or past jobs you’ve worked. In addition, it will show your dates of employment, the positions you held, and your earnings. It will also let an employer see any gaps in your employment history.
Employers use credit checks to see how applicants handle personal finances and determine whether to trust them with money. This aptitude is significant if you are applying for a job involving finances or where you will be handling any money. For example, the credit check will show any open accounts you have, late payments you’ve made, student debt, and any loans in default.
The criminal history in your background check will contain any pending charges, felony convictions, acquittals or dismissals, misdemeanor convictions, and any additional pertinent information.
Potential employers will use this information to determine your suitability for the position. As a result, many applicants worry about this part of the background check. Applicants fear that if an employer learns they have a criminal history, their chances of getting hired will diminish.
However, many laws now prevent an employer from disqualifying applicants just for having a criminal history. In addition, these laws often prohibit employers from inquiring about criminal history until later in the hiring process. Typically, the employer must wait until after interviewing or offering conditional employment. If you have a criminal record, be sure to become familiar with any ban-the-box or fair chance laws in your state or local area.
Because most employers conduct background checks, always be honest about your application and interviews. Should you have a negative mark in your background, the employer will likely learn about it, and lying will only make you appear untrustworthy. Instead, addressing the issue, explaining the necessary details, and emphasizing how you have improved yourself since then is best. A step in preparing for potential explanations is performing a self-background check. Knowing what the potential employer will find ahead allows you to plan what and how you will explain the circumstances.
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