Employer background checks: Important, but not always accurate

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2019 | Firm News

If you’re in the process of searching for a new job, there will eventually come a point when you receive an offer. It may take longer than you’d like, but soon enough you’ll find yourself in the early stages of the hiring process.

During this time, don’t be surprised if the employer asks to run a background check. While you may have some fears about what the check turns up, if you were honest about your past up front, you don’t have as much to worry about.

Some of the most common types of records accessed during a pre-employment background check include:

  • Court records
  • Credit reports
  • Driving records
  • Property ownership records
  • Drug tests
  • Social Security Number check
  • Sex offender lists
  • Personal references
  • Professional references
  • State licensing records

Your employer has the ability to check all these things, with each bit of information giving them a better picture of who you are and your past.

There is other information that may or may not be permitted during a pre-employment background check, such as:

  • Educational records
  • Criminal records
  • Military records
  • Bankruptcy
  • Workers’ compensation claims
  • Medical records

If an employer has plans to run a background check, they should ask for your consent regarding all the above. If you’re uncomfortable for any reason, it’s within your legal rights to ask the employer why they need the information. If nothing else, this should clear the air and help you decide what to do next.

Will it impact your status?

Whether or not a pre-employment background check impacts your status as a candidate depends on the information that turns up.

If your background check is clean across the board, there’s a much better chance of moving forward with the hiring process. Conversely, if a red flag (or several) show up on the check, it could slow down the process or eliminate you from consideration.

Although employers and job candidates expect pre-employment background checks to be 100 percent accurate, this is not always the case. It’s possible that a mistake could occur, such as a felony showing up on a criminal record check when you did not actually commit a crime.

If you miss out on a job opportunity as a result of a background check error, learn more about your legal rights. There are many potential at-fault parties, including the background check service, employer and reporting company.

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