Home / Background Checks / What is a Background Check?


You have been searching for ages and finally found a great position at a reputable company. The interview went great and on your way out they mention that they have to run a background check on you.

Those words can leave a million questions running through your mind such as; will they know about your first job that you didn’t really quit, but got fired from? Will they be able to see your financial records? Who are they going to be talking about and what exactly are they going to be enquiring about.

The whole idea behind the concept of a background check is to verify that the details you have provided are true and accurate. More and more companies are beginning to use background checks as part of regular procedure before hiring someone due to the fact that so many people blatantly lie on their resumes. They have to be absolutely sure that this person is able to perform what they say they can and that their qualifications and experience are real.

If a company wants to do a background check on you they need to have your written consent and once they start the process they’ll be looking into information such as;

  • Criminal History – If you’ve ever convicted a crime they will be able to see that from police records. Same goes for sexual offences and even the minor felonies.
  • Civil History – This will show them if you’ve ever been in court and if you were they plaintiff or the defendant.National Wants & Warrants – If you are on any watch list or wanted list they’ll find out about it.
  • Credit Report – This will point out any financial instability. If you ran bankrupt more than 7 years ago though, it will not appear.
  • Social Security Reports – This shows your residential address for the last 7 years.
  • Employment Verification – This is utterly important and here they will be able to cross reference if what you say about your previous employment is true and accurate. Normally these reports will only show the dates to and from employed but they might also ask for written references from previous employers.
  • Education – They will most definitely be checking up on whether a qualification you claim to have holds any truth. With more and more falsification of educational qualifications this has become something that is part of the core of a background check.
  • Driving License – If you have a driver’s license (in which most cases you will need one) they will be able to see any restrictions suspensions and violations that come up against your name.

There really isn’t much of a science behind what happens during a background check. Some companies might require you to undergo a drug test as part of the background check just to verify that you aren’t a junkie. But these cost a lot of money and unless they have a suspicion they won’t normally conduct these tests.

People tend to over think and over analyze the fact that a background check is being run on them, but in reality it’s really just a reassuring tool for employers, and even for people looking into prospective new lovers.

We are all humans and we all make mistakes, so rest assured that minor offences that happened long ago wont necessarily be held against you if you have a proven positive track record , great skills and excellent recent references.



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