Things that Could Raise a Red Flag on a Background Check In 2024?

Want to learn how to check a Red Flag on a Background Check report? Keep reading!

Before officially starting any job, many employers ask prospective employees to undergo a background check to reduce liability risks and ensure the right contender gets the job. 

The background checks usually include a review of the candidate’s identity, background, work history, and criminal records.

While there’s nothing like a perfect record, certain red flags may lead to disqualification. 

And according to eKnowID, approximately 77 million Americans have a criminal record that could easily be a red flag.

So in this article, we’ll be discussing the most common causes that could raise a red flag found during a background check. Let’s begin!


How to Identify a Red Flag on a Background Check?

What constitutes a red flag varies from company to company and the position you are filling.

However, the most common red flags which employers must pay attention to are discrepancies, criminal records, and derogatory remarks.

Red flags could be anything that sparks the employer’s concern regarding the applicant’s credentials, such as mistakes or lack of information on the resumes and indicators that reveal that the potential candidate is not who they claim to be, even potentially not competent for the job.


Read: What Can Employers See On A Background Check?

Also Read: How Long Does A Background Check Take?

Common Red Flags on a Background Check

Common Red Flags on a Background Check

Here are some most common causes of a red flag that employers must heed while conducting a background check:

1. Lack of Consistency

Background checks are supposed to provide an accurate picture of the academic achievements and work history of your potential candidate.

Any inconsistencies between the background check and resumes could mean that candidates have embellished their resumes and tried to hide something.

2. Employment Gaps

The long and consistent employment gaps in the resume, either because of the candidate’s personal choice or any other circumstance beyond their control, is a big red flag that can’t be overlooked.

Particularly, if the applicant fails to explain the valid reason behind the gaps, it is seen as a sign of unreliability.

3. Exaggerated Academic Credentials 

If a background check finds out that the applicant’s resume has misleading claims about his educational credentials, where he wrongfully claims to have the degree or experience, it is another big red flag for the employer as it shows that the person is not trustworthy. 

4. Criminal History

If the candidate refuses to submit their criminal record or purposely omits this information from their resume, it is a clear red flag that you should take seriously.

Candidates with severe crime records, such as theft, fraud, or crimes involving violence, should be disqualified immediately.

5. Poor Credit History

Background checks often include checking the credit history and financial records of a candidate.

Though bad credit scores don’t necessarily have to raise red flags, the employer must pay attention to any delinquencies, convictions, bankruptcies, mortgages, and credit card accounts if the position requires money management or corporate spending.  

6. Bad References

References provide the best insight into the applicant’s work ethics and professional behavior in the previous workplace.

A few poor reviews may come from a personal grudge, but if they keep popping up, it could be a strong indicator of poor performance at the job.

We’d recommend calling the references to confirm the accurate information about the candidate.

7. Multiple Short-Term Jobs

If a candidate has many short-term jobs in his/her resume, then it is a sign they won’t last in your company either.

However, they might have a genuine reason for switching jobs frequently; you should at least hear out the candidate.

Also, if the short-term jobs account for seasonal work and internships, then that shouldn’t be a problem.

8. Failed Drug Test

A drug test may be important, especially if you are hiring for roles like driving, operating machinery, or other carrying out activities.

A failed drug test means putting others’ safety at risk. The candidate you hire must not be under the influence of a drug.

9. Social Media

To get more information about a candidate’s character, you can have a look at their social media.

Although it is unethical to reject someone based on their political opinions, you can definitely opt for a different candidate if you find questionable things, such as spreading hate speech, etc., on social media.

10. Driving Records

Another red flag in a candidate’s profile can be his/her driving record.

Make sure the candidate’s driving records are free of frequent violations, look for convictions related to driving or speeding, etc.

This information can especially be useful for jobs related to driving.

11. Bankruptcy

If you are hiring for a finance-related position, then inquiring about a person’s bankruptcy record is essential.

The candidate may have filed for it because of poor spending habits or because of divorce, medical issues, etc.

Before making a decision, consider what led the person to take such a step.

12. Legal Status of Work

It is very important to check whether the candidate is eligible to work in the U.S. If they have the necessary proof of documentation.

You should also ask your applicants to fill out I-9 Forms to avoid any legal trouble in the future.

13. Failed Skill Tests

Candidates may lie about possessing certain skills or exaggerate their proficiencies.

To cross-verify, you can always take a related skill test. Failure in the tests can be a big red flag.

14. Refusing Background Check 

Before running a background check on any candidate, the company is legally required to take the candidate’s permission.

If the candidate refuses to get, a background check done that it will only raise suspicion.


Useful tips from Reddit users:

What background check issues have caused you or a candidate to lose out on a position? Especially interested in nit-picky stuff!
by u/bighark in jobs

You May Check Out 5 Best Free Background Check Sites?


It is important to identify red flags and to identify if the candidate should be hired or not.

Because at the end of the day, it comes down to the reputation and safety of your company, and you should not put it at risk because of ignorance.

We hope you found this article useful and learned how to identify red flags in your background check report.

People Also Ask For

What information can be found in a background check?

You can access a lot of information on a background check, including crime records, credit history, education details, and family history, among other things.

What do employers look for in your background check?

Employers look for your education, criminal history, work history, credit history, etc. in your background check.

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