What Can Be Revealed in a Background Check?

Curious to know what can be revealed in a Background Check? We got you!

As a landlord, employer, or business owner, you may require applicants to undergo a background check.

This is done to verify the applicant’s identity and obtain information about their criminal history, if any.

For example: According to Myshortlister, more than a third of driving record checks on a background check revealed one or more violations or convictions.

But what else can a background check reveal, and how can you use this information to make informed decisions about your applicants? 

In this article, we’ll take a look at what a background check can reveal about an applicant and how you can use this information to make the best possible decision.


What Is A Background Check?

A background check is a service that analyzes an individual’s criminal and financial history.

This information is then used to decide whether to award them a job, loan, or other opportunities.

There are many kinds of background checks, but most will involve running a search of public records.

This may include searching for criminal records, financial records, education records, and more.

Read: What Does Decisional Mean On A Background Check?

Also Read: What Does A Background Check Show?

Why Do Employers Use Background Checks?

Why Do Employers Use Background Checks

Employers may use a background check to cross-check wether you are really who you claim to be.

This is done to ensure the safety and protection of other employees in the organization. Not all companies go for a background check.

But companies that may require you to have a special skill set or companies looking to hire for a higher position may require a background check.

These are the most common industries that require to run a background check:

  • Public service: Police officer, administration, and corrections officer.
  • Education: Teachers, professors, administrators.
  • Financial services: Bankers, accountants, insurance professionals, real estate professionals, and financial planners.
  • Home contractors: Plumbers, electricians, construction workers.


What Can Be Revealed In A Background Check?

What Can Be Revealed In A Background Check

Checking a person’s criminal record is generally the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “background check.”

While they’re usually included in the process, these reports also provide other important information. 

The type of background check you choose determines what appears in the report. Here are some common things that can be revealed:


Most background checks start with the verification of identification.

Regardless of what you actually already know, their private details, such as name and address, will be included in the report.

In some cases, knowing someone’s real identity might be beneficial.

For example, when hiring a new employee, you must ensure that they submit accurate personal information in their application.

Criminal Activity Record

Through a background check, an employer can learn about any past criminal offenses of a potential candidate.

This screening procedure looks for pending charges, minor convictions, felony convictions, dropped charges, and acquitted charges.

For companies that are concerned about liability, having this information is important.

Before a background check, some candidates may also be required to fill out a document declaring whether they have any past or outstanding charges.

Employment History

Most employers will verify an applicant’s employment history as part of the background check process.

This includes verifying that the candidate actually worked at the companies they claim to have, as well as their dates of employment and job titles.

In some cases, an employer might also contact a candidate’s former boss or colleagues for reference checks.

These references can provide insights into an applicant’s work ethic, skills, and personality.

Education History

Educational background checks are also common, especially for positions requiring a certain education level.

These reports will not only verify that the applicant actually attended the school they claim to have, but they’ll also list any degrees or certifications that were earned.

By verifying an applicant’s educational background, you can be sure that they actually have the qualifications they claim to have. One can also verify the candidate’s:

  • Dates of attendance
  • Date of graduation
  • Type of degree, of certificate, obtained
  • Enrollment
  • Major completion status

Driving Record

Examining a person’s driving records may come in handy for positions where contractors or employees will be operating vehicles or business machinery.

To minimize risks, the employer may pull up an MVR report by running a background check on the applicant.

In fact, some industries may be legally required by the US Department of Transportation to run an employee background check and to pull up annual MVR reports.

A background check concerning this usually includes information such as:

  • The license status of the driver.
  • Felony and misdemeanor convictions.
  • Moving violations.
  • Suspension or restriction records.
  • Class, etc.

Credit History

Some employers also pull up your credit history report. This can come in handy for industries related to finance, the stock market, accounts, banking, etc.

Having your credit history report can help the employer understand whether or not you are a good fit to manage the finance or finance-related matter of the company as well.

To pull up a credit report, the person will require your name, birth date, and social security number. A credit report may include the following types of information:

  • Percentage of available credit
  • Average monthly payments
  • Credit limits
  • Due accounts
  • Bankruptcies and tax liens information
  • Current balances on credit cards, etc.


Hear it out from Reddit users:

What exactly is a background check?
by u/throwawaycheck555 in cscareerquestions

Also Read: Mugshots & Background Checks: What You Need To Know?

What Do Employers Look For in a Background Check?

Other Ways Of Pre-Employment Screening

Ways Of Pre-Employment Screening

Background checks are not the only hurdle that applicants need to get through. Many companies test their employees using different ways, some of which are:

Pre-employment testing

In order to check an applicant’s competency and calibre, many companies require the candidates to appear for a test in which they ask a series of questions related to their field or aptitude questions:

These are the following pre-employment screening test that you may have to appear for:

  • Emotional intelligence tests
  • Personality test
  • Aptitude test
  • Physical ability test
  • Job knowledge test
  • Cognitive ability tests
  • Skill assessment tests
  • Integrity tests

Social Media

Some employers may also run a social media report which is often a part of a background check.

Reputation is the most crucial thing for any company, and so companies check an applicant’s social media to reveal what kind of content they put out there.


Many companies ask you to share with them a list of references and professionals you have worked with before.

They contact these references to check how your character, attitude, and behavior are towards your work, colleagues, and work place.

Make sure you maintain the required professionalism in any company you work at, or it may pose problems in the future for you.

Phone Interview

This is the most common way an employer tries to get your personal information out of you.

More often than not, it is actually the first conversation or type of test that tells a company whether they want to take you through further hiring steps.

Drug Test

To maintain a safe environment in the workplace and to avoid any legal issues, companies often require their candidates to appear for a drug test.

Most companies that belong to education, government, manufacturing, automotive, private security, etc., require this test. A drug test may include:

  • Blood test
  • Urine test
  • Saliva test
  • Hair follicle test
  • Breathalyzer test
  • Perspiration test


How Can You Pass a Background Check?

What Are The Other Types Of Background Check?

What Are The Other Types Of Background Check

Employers may sometimes opt for a more specific type of background check. What are the other types of background checks? Let’s find out!

What does a Level 2 background Reveal?

In certain states, you can get background checks done in levels 1-4. So a level 2 background check is basically a fingerprint check based background check that shows criminal information about the person registered in his/her state.

This type of background check may be done for a job that is related to government, national security, etc.

What does an FBI background Reveal?

This type of check refers to Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). IAFIS is the main hub for the FBI’s background check process.

The fingerprint database includes a little more than 70 million records. Not all employers can access this, however, and it is also not relevant to private companies.

Also Read: What Does Consider Mean On A Background Check?


A background check can reveal more than just an applicant’s criminal history.

By running one of these reports, you can verify their identity, employment history, education background, and more, which can help you make a more informed decision about whether or not to hire them.


Can dismissed cases show on a background check report?

Sometimes dismissed cases my show on background check reports.

This is because criminal charges may stay on a person’s report even though the case was dropped.

How far can a background check go?

Ideally, background check goes up to ten years, and many background check companies offer information up to ten years back.

However, there may be an instance when older information may pop up on your background check report.

What are the different types of background checks?

Here are a list of different types of background checks:

  • Employment Background Check
  • International Background Check
  • Universal Background Check
  • OIG Background Check
  • Professional Licenses Background Check
  • Personal Background Check
  • Motor Vehicle Records Check
  • Criminal Record Background Check
  • Credit Background Check
USW Overall Rating

Leave a Comment