What Do Employers Look for in a Background Check?
CREDIT: Job Interview Image via Shutterstock
You know the drill: When you want a new job, you have to pony up the personal information.
The procedure may seem more like a medical exam than a job interview, but your prospective employer needs to reduce the time wasted on poor hiring choices by checking out just about every possible point of each candidate's character. So your background had better be in order. (You can also check your own background.)
At the bare basics, a quick prospective employee background check will look for a criminal history or pattern of drug abuse. No company wants an employee who has a past burglary charge ransacking the office supplies.
More in-depth background checks can also be obtained, which give potential employers a better look at candidates' pasts and at any behavior that could affect their performance at work.
Here are some of the items that an employer could unearth with a background check, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:
- Educational background
- Driving records
- Court records
- Worker's-compensation claims
- Past employers
- Drug-testing results
- Criminal charges and sentencing
- Bankruptcy claims
- Medical records
- Property ownership
- Sex-offender history
While all of that might seem intrusive, a potential employer has to protect the time and integrity of his company. So every possible angle is considered.
Because it's difficult to conceal your educational history or past behavior from an employer, it's best to be upfront about any questionable items that could turn up on your background check.
Sure, you might have claimed bankruptcy three years ago, but if it had to do with a bad divorce or a soured business deal, explaining it makes it look less fishy to the person interviewing you.
Don't worry: Not all of your past will come back to haunt you when you're trying to get a job. The PRC notes that certain items cannot be included on a background check, and others are subject to time limitations.
Bankruptcies are stricken from the records after 10 years. For civil lawsuits and many other types of negative information, it's seven years. That minor offense you had as a teenager won't ruin your chances for nailing an interview and snagging the job you want.
As long as you're honest about any questionable information on your background check, it shouldn't be the thing that stands in the way of you and your dream job. Just make sure you keep it clean for future reference and job opportunities.
This story was provided by Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to SecurityNewsDaily.