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 CNBC, more than 55% 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.
Also Read: 10 Best Background Check Sites
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.
How Do Employers Conduct Background Check?
Before your employers run a background check on you, they need to take your written authorization for the same.
However, if the employer is simply conducting an inquiry on you by calling your previous employer and so on, then they are not legally required to ask you about the same.
If, after your background check, they decide to hire you, then well and good.
However, if they do not hire you because something showed up in your background check report, then they need to give you a “pre-adverse action disclosure report.”
This report includes a copy of the consumer report along with an explanation of your rights.
Preparing For a Background Check
Knowing what information about you is available in the public record and fixing any discrepancies is the best way to prepare for a background check.
Here’s how you can prepare for an employment background check:
Check your records
Request your driving records from the state department of motor vehicles and do the same with all your other records, such as court records, education record, etc., to know to fix any discrepancies that you may find beforehand.
Check your credit report
Employers look at your credit report to understand how you handle your money. So get a copy of your credit report and make sure everything is alright in there.
Don’t make mindless social media posts
Your social media can also reveal a lot about you. Make sure your social media is switched to private.
And if you have posted any controversial post or something that might ruin your image, then remove it from your social media immediately.
Review your Personnel files
If it is possible, ask your previous employers for a copy of your personnel files and review them properly. Learn in advance what your references are going to say about you.
Honesty goes a long way
If something on your report does not look good, then the best thing you can do is be honest about it and have a slight possibility of getting hired nonetheless.
If you lie about anything, the truth will eventually show in your background check, and the hiring decision will probably be against you after catching a lie.
Also Read: 10 Best Employee Background Check Sites?
How To Pass an Employment Background Check?
How Can I Dispute an Incorrect Background Check?
Incorrect information on background check reports can cost you your job. Common errors include:
- Mistaken identity
- Incorrect criminal record
- Outdated information
So here is what you can do to dispute an incorrect background check:
- The first thing is to request a copy of the report based on which the employer rejected your application. This will help you in checking your report and in disputing incorrect information on it.
- You can either go to the background check company’s website and look for a dispute option on it.
- Or you can also legally sue the background check company.
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.
People Also Ask For
What can disqualify a candidate on an employment background check?
The answer to this question varies from candidate to candidate, where they live, the industry and position they are applying for, their state rules, etc.
However, the most common reason for rejections is severe felony convictions or dishonesty in seeking the job.
How long can employment background check take?
The time a background check depends on a number of factors such as the background check platform, type of job, type of search conducted, etc.
Some information on a background check report, such as education details, credit report, employment details, etc., can be obtained immediately.
Other details, such as drug tests, crime report, etc., may take 3-7 days or even more.
What happens after a background employment check?
Once your background check has been done, the hiring manager might take sometime to review your report.
If everything goes right, you might receive an offer letter from the company.
Will The Employer Tell Me If I Fail The Background Check?
There are federal laws that are meant to protect you after a background check has been done.
According to Federal Trade Commission FTC, the employer needs to provide you with a copy of the report based on which they decided not to hire you.
This allows you to know the reason and to fix errors (if any).
Shefali Jain is a Content Writer & Editor at USWorkforce.org
After completing her graduation in hospitality, Shefali decided to follow her passion and started writing. Shefali has been writing for two years now and contributes to our website as a skilled editor and content writer with strong research skills. Writing product and service reviews, biographies, and book reviews are some of her key areas, among many others in which she specializes. In her time at the organization, she has written and edited content on a range of topics, including employment law, human resources, and business management.