Jan 31 2022

What Exactly Is a Background Check?

Tyler Drew


Before a company can offer you a job, you may have to go through a number of stages in the hiring process. The hiring process can be made more difficult by the common practice of running a background check on potential employees. As a prospective employee, you should be aware that many companies require you to submit personal information as part of a background check process. Throughout this article, we explain what a background check is, why it's necessary, what employers are looking for, and what to do while you wait for a response from the employer.

To verify your identity, an individual or company may conduct a background check. During the interview process, prospective employers frequently request background checks to ensure that you will not be a liability to their company. A background check is carried out by both law enforcement agencies and private companies alike.

The vast majority of background checks include information on a person's education, employment history, criminal record, and a variety of other activities. When it comes to background checks, employment checks are among the most common and widely used. Before extending an offer of employment to a candidate, many employers insist on seeing one.

Doing a background check serves what purpose?

In order to ensure that they are hiring the right person, employers conduct a background check. A background check can help an employer verify that a candidate's claims on a job application are accurate and that the candidate is a trustworthy employee. In addition, the results of the background check aid them in making informed decisions.

When conducting a background check, what are the most important things to look for?

There are various types of background checks that are conducted during the background screening procedure. Employers use a background check to confirm the following information about a potential employee:

  • An employer can look up your work history to see what companies you've worked for and what tasks you performed there.
  • The employer uses this document to confirm the legitimacy of the degrees you listed on your job application.
  • Checking the applicant's credit history is the first step in determining if they are financially responsible. In order to carry out your job responsibilities, you will need access to the company's funds, so you must pass this test.
  • An employer can see if you have a spotless driving record or if you've been in a few accidents in the past by running a motor vehicle record check. This is especially critical if your job requires you to drive.
  • Background checks often include a look into your criminal history and whether or not any outstanding warrants are listed against your name.
  • Employers may use social media to learn more about an applicant's personality and whether or not they are a good fit for the company's culture.
  • The employer can use this screening to see if the applicant is a drug user and if they pose a risk to other employees of the company.

Employers will be wary of any red flags raised during a background check. Employers, on the other hand, aren't allowed to ask for information dating back more than 10 years. Special clearance jobs may include additional information. Employers who are interested in hiring you may ask for information about your credentials or financial history, for example, if you are applying for a position in the financial services industry.

What are the most common reasons to fail a background check?

Based on the following criteria, you may fail a background check:

Failure to pass a criminal history check

Your criminal background check may fail if you have a criminal record that does not fit the job you are applying for or the work environment you are applying to. If you have a long criminal history, you may also fail the background check. A criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from employment, but it is something that some employers may take into account when making a hiring decision.

A bad credit history

Organizations conduct a credit background check, which includes a review of your payment history, bankruptcies, credit inquiries, unpaid bills, or any frauds on your report. It's possible that they won't hire you if they discover that you have a poor credit history or a large amount of student loan debt. Your credit history is a good indicator of how responsible you are in the eyes of many employers.

On your resume, there may be discrepancies

This background check may fail you if your resume does not accurately reflect your qualifications, certifications, and work history. Inconsistencies can be interpreted as a sign that you lied about your qualifications and candidacy. As a result, employers may be reluctant to consider you for an open position if they suspect you're lying on your application.

Driving record with a poor safety record

If your job requires you to drive frequently or you have access to a company vehicle, you may be subject to this background check. It's possible that you won't pass the background check if you have a history of serious driving infractions. If you have a spotless driving record, an employer will feel confident entrusting you with company vehicles or even simple tasks like picking up clients for a quick lunch.

Toxicology test failure

When it comes to drugs, most organizations are very strict. Employers frequently reject applicants who test positive for drugs because they believe that drug use will impair their ability to perform. To avoid false positives, inform the laboratory technician of any prescription drugs you are taking under the supervision of a doctor.

After the background check, what should you do?

While you're awaiting the results of a background check, here are some proactive steps you can take:

Keep calm and carry on

As a reminder, background checks are an essential part of the hiring process. In order to ensure the safety and security of their workplaces, many reputable organizations require candidates to submit identification proof. It is important to be patient with the hiring process, as many steps may not be visible to the applicant.

You must conduct your own investigation

Take some time to learn more about the company while the hiring manager is examining your resume. In order to get a better idea of what it's like to work there, you can read reviews and interviews with former and current employees. As a result, you may be more confident in your decision to accept the job offer from the company.

Streamline your online personas.

In the hiring process, social media can play a significant role. Consider making your social media accounts private, professional, and employer-friendly. Make an effort to hide any information that you do not want a hiring manager to see.

Stay in touch

If you haven't heard back from a hiring manager or recruiter after a background check, don't be afraid to reach out. Consider providing them with contact information for references or former employers if you want to be helpful. In addition, keeping tabs on the hiring manager's progress on your background check is a great way to remain proactive and demonstrate your excitement for the chance.

Tags: background check process