We’re all familiar with the stress of applying for jobs and undergoing screenings. There are many variables to this process, and our focus is background checks. Wouldn’t it ease your anxiety to learn if you’ve passed the check? Keep reading to learn all about it.
The Short Answer
You’ll know you’ve passed your background when the employer moves forward with your hiring process. However, if you don’t pass your background check, the Fair Check Reporting Act (FCRA) dictates that your employer must notify you and send you a summary of your rights and a copy of your background check report.
What Is a Background Check?
Background checks pull information from public records and so on, and they cover criminal, commercial, and financial records. They also help verify the applicant’s qualifications.
Employers need your consent to run a background check on you. So, after deciding that you’re a strong contender for the job, they may present you with a conditional offer of employment. That’s when you agree to the background check. Of course, you can reject that request, but that might cost you the job.
Also, note that employers don’t conduct background checks themselves. Instead, they hire specialized outside vendors to do so.
What Happens if You Fail Your Background Check
As we’ve mentioned, employers must comply with some FCRA regulations if they intend to reject applicants because of their background checks. These are:
- Requesting the applicant’s written consent to a background check
- Sending the candidate a written notice of the use of information in their background checks against them
- Confirming that the checking agency didn’t make that decision on behalf of the employer
- Revealing the name, address, and phone number of the checking agency that produced the background check report
- Telling the applicant that they can get a free copy of the background report within the following 62 days
- Stating that the candidate can dispute any inaccuracies or mistakes found in the background report by contacting the background check company
- Correcting any errors within 30 days from your dispute
What Happens if You Pass Your Background Check?
After your potential employer receives the background check report they’ve requested, they decide whether they should hire you. If you’ve passed, your employer will contact you and proceed with the training and onboarding process.
Reasons Employers Can Deny Your Application
Let’s review the information that can be a part of your background check report.
Companies may be interested in learning about your employment history to estimate your work ethic. It’s important to provide accurate and correct information about your previous jobs, as that reflects well on your integrity.
A background check may include job titles, employment dates, and company names. But how could an employment history cause the elimination of a job candidate? Well, employers may disqualify an applicant due to:
- Discrepancies between the information you’ve supplied and the background report date
- Gaps in your employment history
- Incorrect employment durations
- Inaccurate descriptions of responsibilities and duties
Criminal history screenings are some of the most common types of background checks. A criminal record can be a problem depending on the nature and severity of the crime. A minor charge may not cause your application to be rejected, but you might need to answer queries about it during your interview.
After all, employers want trustworthy individuals, especially in fields that concern the safety of others or sensitive information. Examples include high-clearance level jobs, working with youth, and dealing with vulnerable groups. Unfortunately, that means a criminal history is a strong disqualifying factor.
Your credit history indicates your sense of responsibility and ability to handle finances, rendering it a potential hiring factor. This is especially true for jobs in the finance sector, which is why employers may conduct a comprehensive financial analysis.
A high credit score, achieved via healthy credit habits, demonstrates an applicant’s financial responsibility and finance management.
Otherwise, your credit history can undermine your application’s chances of acceptance if it includes bankruptcies. But the report won’t explain its details, so that’ll be up to you. However, a minor blemish in your credit report shouldn’t be an issue.
The takeaway here is to practice healthy credit habits, such as paying credit bills on time, responsible spending, and reducing financial commitments with high interest rates.
Companies tend to request driving records for positions where applicants must operate vehicles. They ensure companies that they’re responsible drivers and encourage them to hire these applicants as:
- Delivery driver
- Taxi driver
- Trailer or truck driver
- Airline pilot
- Crane operator
- Police officer
Usually, a couple of speeding tickets aren’t enough to disqualify applicants, but DUI convictions, criminal charges, and so on are.
Some employers seek confirmation of your educational credentials, which is why you should always be truthful on your resume. We’re talking degree verification, graduation dates, and previous names. This check can be slightly time-consuming if the educational facility hasn’t updated its records or it’s closed for the summer.
Some employees require drug and alcohol tests, and there are different policies to guide that. These identify the types of substances tested for and how long you need to keep testing after admission. They’re common for positions involving heavy machinery, prescription drugs, and the safety of others.
Some companies might reach out to your previous employers to confirm your work experience and work dates and inquire about your performance and work ethic.
Also, previous employers can legally discuss a candidate’s history as long as they’re honest and aren’t violating anti-discrimination laws. So, naturally, negative feedback may lessen your chances of acceptance.
A valid reason employees may disqualify applicants is the lack of employment verification. Companies need to know that you’re eligible to work in the United States. For that reason, an employment verification form is needed and kept in a file.
Reasons Employers Can’t Deny Your Application
Employers can’t reject your application based on certain grounds. Firstly, applicants shouldn’t have to specify their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, genetic information, and disability status, as these shouldn’t be factors in their hiring decision.
Secondly, employers don’t have the right to inquire about your marital status. Thirdly, they can’t ask about your family status, including pregnancies and children. Also, they can’t ask inappropriate questions about your medical history, family history, and medical status.
Age is another point that shouldn’t be a factor in your hiring decision. But, of course, we have to exclude minimum age requirements from this, so employers can’t hire applicants under the legal age (usually eighteen years old).
As for immigration and citizenship status, potential employers don’t have the right to demand this information. They can, however, ask if you’re authorized to work in the United States.
Why Do Employers Conduct Background Checks?
Employers conduct these background checks before admitting a new employee. Sometimes, they run background checks on employees for retention, promotion, and re-assignment purposes. This way, they can stay informed on their recent activities.
This way, employers can confirm your identity, educational background, and the qualifications you’ve mentioned on your resume and application materials.
According to Robert Half Talent Solutions, about 46% of the participants in a poll admitted that they know an applicant who’s added false information to their resume. The areas where they’re most likely to lie are duties and job experience. So, it makes sense that employers would want to confirm such information.
Also, they check driving and criminal records for felonies or offenses that can affect their hiring decisions. And they may ask applicants questions about their applications and employee backgrounds.
But the question is how such information is helpful. Certain fields, including law enforcement, health care, construction and manufacturing, and aviation, involve the safety and well-being of others. So, employers request background checks to maintain a safe environment.
After all, companies want to avoid liability issues. If they aren’t particular about the individuals they hire, issues might arise. As a result, customers and consumers can hold them accountable, accuse them of not doing their research, and sue them for negligence.
However, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that “the employer cannot conduct background checks or use the information obtained in a manner that denies equal employment opportunity to anyone on a protected basis, by intent or by unlawful disparate impact.”
How to Dispute a Background Check
Mistakes can happen in background checks, and disputing them is possible. Examples include transcription and typing errors, false criminal record information, name mixups, identity theft, and outdated information.
For that reason, we urge you to check your copy of the background check. And you should contact the checking agency (not the hiring company) if you find errors.
So, how do you dispute incorrect background check results? You can reach out to the background check company. Just visit its website for information on how to dispute false results. You might find an email to use or a dispute form to fill out. Still, you should know employers aren’t required to hold the job as you dispute the background check mistake.
Let’s go over several types of errors and how to address them:
- Credit Information: If your credit report includes a faulty item, you can get a free credit report from an established agency. Then, you can reach out to the Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) with your dispute.
- Criminal Record: Your identity may get mixed up with another person, and a felony they’ve committed might appear on your report. If that’s the case, you can request a security clearance from the courthouse that issued this information.
- Educational Background: Contact your school’s registrar or office of student affairs to clear up anything. Then, request that they re-verify the information and relay it to your checking agency.
Overall, it’s quite easy to figure out the result of your background check. If your employer has approved it, they’ll probably contact you to proceed with your hiring process. If not, they’ll send you a written notice explaining that the information found in your background report has led them to this decision.
Either way, there isn’t much guesswork to the matter, and we wish you all the luck with your admission process.