What Comes up on a Background Check?

A background check involves gathering and assessing private and public record data from one’s employment and education history, medical records, criminal history (including county, state, and national criminal record), social network accounts, work permit information, and driving history. This is the broadest scope of information that will come up. Many types of screenings are available, but different states have different background check laws. 

In this article, we will break down our answer to the title question by the issue of a standard check, what you can expect people who check your background to see, and how you can leave the best impression possible, even if your record isn’t spotless.  

background check

Standard Background Check

A standard pre-employment background check covers ID verification and criminal history. It is usually carried out after you’ve applied to a company for a certain position. Before proceeding, your prospective employer will ask for your informed consent. Typically, a standard check will cover the past seven years. It can also include your employment history and driving record. 

Educational history and social media screening are among the less frequent types of background checks. In some sectors, the company has to make the candidate a conditional job offer before asking them to undergo a check. 

Preparing for a Background Check 

You should get copies of your records to see what will show up during screening. Your credit score is available for free, for example. Then, you can prepare to explain in case it’s lower than you believed. A copy of your driving record is available from the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state. 

Contact your state’s Department of Public Safety for more information about your criminal history, if any. You can’t be sure what’s on your record until you see it. Some entries might have been removed. There might also be an erroneous record of an arrest or conviction if law enforcement mixed you up with someone else. It’s always best to know in advance of a job interview so you can get false information removed or inaccurate data corrected. 

Government institutions such as the U.S. Department of Transportation can help employers and job seekers investigate and check criminal and driving history. 

Perform a Self-Background Check

It’s easier to prepare for this step now that you know what a potential employer will see. You can start by cleaning up your digital footprint. Specifically, you can remove any posts from your social media that might be considered sensitive and adjust your privacy settings. More and more hiring managers are looking at their job candidates’ social media.  

Access Education and Employment Records 

Employment candidates should have hard copies and digital copies of any certificates, diplomas, licenses, and transcripts. The issuing establishment, such as a college, university, or training center, will ask for the candidate’s consent to release these records under the Family Right to Privacy Act

Be Able to Provide References 

Candidates should have the contact details of references and/or former employers on hand to correctly fill out job applications. In addition, they must inform the people they’ve listed as references that a prospective employer might contact them. Typically, the reference person is asked to confirm that the candidate worked there and had the job title and responsibilities they claim to have. 

Be Honest

On a final note, lying on your resume or cover letter or during an interview isn’t worth the risk. After completion of the background check, you should be ready to talk about anything concerning that has emerged. It is also important to provide honest answers when you are asked about your employment, education, and criminal or credit history.