What Can Employers See on a Background Check?

Have you ever wondered about what information employers can see on the background check?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) defines a background check as a consumer report as an integral part of the hiring process to ensure the selected candidate is the best fit for the job. 

According to an estimate, more than 53% of job candidates have false information on their resumes.

So, to ensure that the potential candidates are truthful about their qualifications, employers may perform a background check.


Why do Employers Run Background Checks?  

There is a wide range of reasons behind running background checks depending on the type of the job and its eligibility criteria.

A background check typically reviews the credentials of the applicant listed on the resume and looks for any misconduct, felonies, misdemeanors, and past conviction records from the FBI, Home security, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Sex Offender Registry database.

An employer is legally responsible for all the actions of the employees.

If the selected candidates fail to meet the expectation or the information listed on their resume proves to be fake, employers are held responsible for negligence. 

Background checks usually reveal the cases relevant to employment frauds, embezzlement, bad credit history, criminal records, etc., and help employers reduce negligent hiring risks, protect the company from potential liability issues, and ensure overall workplace safety.

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What Can Employers See on a Background Check?  

There are many searches employers can run, ranging from simple verification of your social security number to a thorough background check.

They might check on the information such as:

  • Education history
  • Employment history
  • Professional credentials
  • Court records
  • Drug & Alcohol test results
  • Credit report 
  • Driving records
  • Vehicle registration
  • Property ownership
  • Compliance & Regulatory Check
  • Civil Litigation Record Check
  • Military records
  • Sex offender information

Most often, the information employers check is relevant to the job.

For instance, if you have applied for a post in a bank or a government agency, the employers will go beyond just the simple identity and background check.

They will look into your credit scores, past employment, criminal records, history of embezzlement, insurance, and legal activity to learn more about you.

What Employees Can’t See?  

There are limits on what employers can check during the background check in some states.

There are some records employers can look into only with the consent of the applicant, such as school and military records, criminal records, bankruptcy, and medical records. 

However, there are some confidential records that employers cannot see under any circumstance, including:

  • Civil suits and Judgements 
  • Records of arrest after 7 years
  • Accounts placed for collection after 7 years
  • Bankruptcies after 10-years

(Note: These limitations do not apply if the salary is $75000 or above).

Please remember that laws are subject to change from one state to another.

For example, some states outlaw employers from investigating arrests or convictions beyond a specific point in the past, while some permit questions about criminal history for certain high-profile positions.


We hope that after reading this article, you have understood what kind of information you can find in a background check report and what you cannot.

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