What Candidates Might Not Know About Background Checks

You just received a job offer, and now the company wants to run a background check. Should you be concerned? Probably not. Pre-employment screening can be scary, but it doesn’t need to be.

Things to Know About Background Checks

Background Checks Protect Everyone

When you’re undergoing pre-employment screening, you may feel as though the company is trying to catch you being bad. Although this viewpoint is understandable, it’s not realistic. Background checks simply are a sound business practice. Organizations need to protect their employees, their customers, the public and themselves. One of the best ways to do this is by thoroughly investigating the people on their team. This helps to prevent crimes, violence, accidents, theft and on-the-job errors.

There Are Different Types of Screening

Most people equate background checks with criminal record searches. And while often this is part of the process, pre-employment screening may include:

  • Criminal Record Searches
  • Sex Offender Registry Searches
  • Motor Vehicle Record Searches
  • Civil Record Searches (or non-criminal lawsuits)
  • Credit Reports
  • Academic Verification
  • Employment Verification
  • Professional License Verification
  • Drug Screening

As you can see from this list, background checks examine behavior (both criminal and non-criminal) as well as qualifications. As a result, screening might uncover anything from a misdemeanor to bankruptcy to a fake college degree.

Candidates Have Rights

Sometimes background checks contain inaccurate information. Fortunately, as an individual, you have rights. The federal government regulates screening through the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA. even thought the name is misleading, the FCRA applies to all background checks not just credit reports. According to the FCRA, companies must 1) tell you about screening, 2) receive your written consent and 3) inform you of problems. If you believe an organization hasn’t followed these rules, you may file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Lookback Times Are Limited

Let’s say you made a bad choice years ago and got into trouble with the law. Will this haunt you forever? Not necessarily. Although lookback times vary by type of search and by state, most screening extends back 7 to 10 years. There are, however, exceptions. For example, major felonies usually remain on someone’s record for life.

Honesty IS the Best Policy

If there is a legitimate problem with your pre-employment screening, one of two things can happen. Either you won’t get the job, or you will. In some cases, employing someone with a record creates an unacceptable risk. For example, you wouldn’t hire a truck driver with multiple DWIs. Other times, past behavior has no impact on someone’s current role. So, even if your background check isn’t squeaky clean, many organizations still will be happy to hire you. Nevertheless, dishonesty is always a problem. Therefore, don’t lie on your resume or try to cover things up. Admitting to your shortcomings is the best way to land the right job.

Are You Looking for a Job but Nervous About Background Checks?

FirstStaff would be happy to help. Our recruiters will walk you through the application and pre-employment screening process, so you can get to work. Browse our available openings in Little Rock, Arkansas and beyond today!

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