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The Background Check Process and What Information it Reveals

If you want steady work, you might try self-employment. That way, you won’t go through a background check. If you interview and a company considers you, though, they will check out your background in most instances. That’s common practice in 2023.

Background checks can uncover questionable past behavior. They can also reveal certain things you might rather conceal. Let’s talk about what comes up in a background check.

Your Criminal Record

A background check should reveal your criminal record. In some instances, you can ask the court whether they’ll seal your record, potentially concealing a conviction. They might grant you that privilege, but they may not.

If you have a minor drug offense on your record, that probably won’t prohibit a company from considering you unless you’re a CIA or FBI applicant. Some government jobs have strict past drug use rules regarding new agents.

The average company cares more when they find you killed someone or if they learn you committed a sexually violent act in the past. If you robbed a bank, they might not like that very much, either.

Some companies don’t mind hiring ex-convicts. They might do so because they feel you’ve paid your debt and society should give you another chance.

They might require that you answer some questions, though. You should expect that and have plausible answers ready. If you seem contrite and say you’ll never do anything like that again, the hiring manager or whoever interviews you might sign off on hiring you. Your attitude in these situations matters.

Your Marital and Familial Status

You should know that different background checks exist. Some find out only your criminal record. More often these days, though, companies do wide-ranging checks. Their check should reveal your marital status and whether you have any kids.

These details should not impact whether a company hires you, but they still do sometimes. That’s because some companies want individuals with traditional families.

If you’re making products that families use, your boss might feel you’ll make a better employee if you have dependents waiting for you at home.

Your Social Media Activity

If you’re active on social media platforms, the background check should reveal that. You can set your social media profiles to private so people can’t see many details about you, but if you have any public profiles, the background check can reveal that. Some individuals never set their profiles to private.

If you say anything controversial on social media, a background check should quickly reveal that. If you said something inflammatory or otherwise inappropriate, that can cost you a job with some companies.

Maybe you said something ten years earlier, and you forgot about it. You may not even have the same beliefs anymore.

You should check around and uncover any old social media accounts before starting your job search, though. That way, some throwaway comment from years earlier might not come back and haunt you at a critical moment.

Other Revelations

A background check should reveal if you have had any DUIs in the past few years. It will show whether you have any outstanding obligations, like child support payments. It will tell whether you married someone at some point and whether you divorced them as well.

It will tell whether you ever changed your name. It will tell whether you own any property and whether anyone has any liens on it.

It will tell whether you attended any colleges and whether you graduated. If you claim you are a Yale graduate, a quick search can prove or disprove that.

In short, a background check should reveal any information about you that is public record. Maybe you have nothing in your background that might give a potential employer pause.

On the other hand, maybe when your would-be boss does a background check, they find some newspaper story about you that made you famous years earlier. If you rescued a child from a burning building, that’s probably to your advantage.

If you ever did anything that made you infamous, though, that’s potentially problematic. Some people achieve fame through dubious means. If you have something like this in your background, you should know the background check will reveal it.

You must have answers ready whenever you attend a job interview. If you can clean up your record in any way, do that. Otherwise, know that a background search lays your life’s details bare, and you might have some difficult questions coming your way.

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1 Comment

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