Today, a background check is performed by potential employers for nearly any position you seek. Why is this done? Usually, employers want to determine if you have any unsavory activity in your background. A background check is not done without your knowledge, as most human resources departments will inform you verbally before they do this, as well as in written form. They will want your name, social security number, address where you currently live and birthday.
Purpose of a background check
What are potential employers looking for when they have their human resources department perform a background check? Anything and everything. Today, employers have no qualms about finding out every detail of your past. Depending on the position you are applying for, employers may check to see if you have any prior drug convictions, have been charged with embezzlement, or even have sexual abuse charges in your past. A school or college would not be likely to hire an applicant that had previously been accused of sexual abuse.
Potential employers may also check credit history, previous employment records, or even whether you graduated from college. Many businesses want to make sure they are actually getting the employee that you say you are, and that there are no secrets or lies you are keeping from them.
Information not disclosed in a background check
Certain information is private and not subject to a background check. If you have ever filed bankruptcy, this is private information that is not available to potential employers. While they can find out that you were involved in bankruptcy because it is public record, they cannot find out the details. Also, medical records and information regarding disability is not disclosed to an employer. Employers are not allowed to discriminate or disregard an applicants job rights because of disability.
If you were in the military, officials can release information to potential employers regarding assignments, awards, rank or salary without obtaining your permission first.
Background check preparation
The best thing you can do before applying for a position is to know what is in your history that an employer may learn while completing a background check. Request copies of your personnel files from previous employers, contact your Department of Motor Vehicles to learn of any driving violations, get a copy of your credit report and any other documentation from the past that may show up.
The smartest thing you can do when applying for a job is to be honest both on your application and resume. By being up-front from the beginning, potential employers should find nothing surprising when conducting a background check on you.
The inquiries a business makes regarding any information related to past employment, criminal checks, credit reports or driving record should be directly related to the position you are applying for. You always have the right to withdraw your application in the event that there is information in your past that you feel uncomfortable sharing with a potential employer.