What are Employers Looking for in a Background Check?

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Are you wondering what an employer will look for if and when he checks your background?

Many companies use quick and reliable online services like check people to run background checks on their candidates. Your employer might run one after you’ve been hired. 

A background check can be limited to a simple Social Security number verification. However, it can be much more extensive than that.

A company might want to look at your court records, credit history, employment history, driving records, vehicle registration, criminal records, property ownership, compensation, medical information, bankruptcy, references, military records, and sex offender registries you may be entered in.

They might want you to undergo a drug test for the job. 

Character Check 

Some employers will talk to the candidate’s friends or coworkers in an effort to conduct a character check. Usually, though, the information they look for is job-related.

For instance, the employer will want to know your financial history if you are applying for a job in a bank. Having something like theft or embezzlement on your record will result in rejection. 

How Extensive Will My Background Check Be?

Background Check 101: Big Things That Can Affect Your JobThe job, company, and employer will determine its extent. You’ll be subjected to a very thorough one if you want a job with high-security clearance.

Less common examples of background verification include work authorization, social media information, and education history (high school, college).

The fact that different jurisdictions have different laws on screening complicates the whole matter further. The company might choose different reports depending on the job type and location and their own specific needs. 

Employment background checks are most commonly run to detect criminal history and to verify employment history and identity. Less common reasons to screen a potential employee include driving records, education verification, verification of professional qualifications, and one’s credit history. 

Limitations on Background Screening 

Some data can’t be disclosed by law. This information includes paid tax liens after 7 years, bankruptcies after a decade, accounts in a collection after 7 years, arrest records after 7 years, and civil judgments and suits after 7 years. If you are applying for a job that pays $75,000 or more a year, these limitations don’t apply. 

Having gone bankrupt is no cause to discriminate against an applicant, but an employer can get this information very easily because bankruptcies are public records. Medical records are private in most states, so companies can’t make recruitment decisions on that basis.

However, they are allowed to ask about someone’s ability to perform heavy work, be it physically demanding or otherwise stressful. 

Military and School Records

Military service records are private, but they can be made accessible in certain situations. The military is only allowed to disclose your name, awards, assignments, salary, and rank. They don’t need to ask for your permission to do this. 

An employer can’t view your education records without your consent.

Criminal Records

In some states, employers aren’t allowed to inquire about convictions or arrests beyond a certain point. In others, only certain positions allow consideration of a criminal record.

What Employers are not Looking For 

Background Check 101: Big Things That Can Affect Your JobNo employer wants to see a job-related conviction. An incident or minor conviction dating from years back could be considered a red flag because of fears that the applicant’s conduct may affect their performance at the workplace adversely.

The impact of a past crime on the company and job is more important than the sentence handed down or when the crime occurred. 

Poor Credit History

Most positions that involve handling funds involve a credit check. One is usually not necessary for those that don’t.

A company won’t be inclined to hire someone who struggles with loans and debt for a financial position. However, many employers realize low credit ratings often result from unpredictable events such as illness and don’t affect someone’s ability to do the job they were hired to do.  

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