A background check can make a big difference in someone’s life, depending on why it’s being run. If you're applying for a new job and a check is run by the potential employer, then the results could tank the job on the spot. The question is, what kind of results are returned and what makes an employer decide to not hire someone?
If you’re in the job market, at least 35% of potential employers are going to run a check on your history. There are different types of checks they could run. Some are looking for previous job history and if you have ever been fired. Others will run a federal crime records search to look for potential problems. Some will want to run a credit check.
A high percentage of businesses will also require a drug test, but that usually depends on the type of job being applied for. The results of prior drug tests that have been administered may also be looked at.
Know your Rights
There are federal laws that protect consumers, and for good reason. You cannot be rejected for employment without knowing the reason why, if it is based on what they found in the background report. In other words, they can’t just say no without tell you what they found and the reasons for being turned down. The laws cover things in the report that you cannot be turned down for.
Check your own background history
Before going in to apply it’s a good idea to know what will show up when someone runs a check on you. A good place to start is by checking your credit. The main credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – all have a free option to see what your credit score is. By law, they have to provide a report one time every year.
One way this can help is if there is a minor problem that shows up, not a history of behavior, then you can offer an explanation during the interview to prevent it from becoming a potential problem. Then focus the conversation on how you can be a valuable asset to their business.
What information do they look for
Some employers are only looking for information that comes with a basic report. Others will call your references and factor that in to their decision. They also look for discrepancies in what you put in your job application and the information they uncover. Lying or untruthfulness about your past counts very heavily against you.
One place many employers check are the main social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Many candidates have been turned down simply for the content that was found in their accounts. Profiles are looked at as well as posts and comments. These are often an indication of a person’s true character and can be an indication of the type of employee they might be. Some employers continue to monitor social media even after they have hired someone, as a way of protecting the company.
What they need to run a background check
Specific information is necessary in order to run a background search. If they want to look at employment history, then the application will ask for your prior employers, years of employment, and sometimes the names of supervisors. The job application itself will give you some idea of the type of information they may check on. A credit check cannot be run without access to your social security number, which you do not have to supply.