What Does a Background Check Involve?

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If a company is considering you as a candidate for employment there is a good chance they will do a background check. This process can be handled by an outside firm. There is certain information that an employer can uncover which helps them to determine if they should hire you or not. The information uncovered will depend on how elaborate the search is. Some companies have been sued because of negligent hiring practices.


Employers will take a look at your educational background. Educational background is checked because a lot of candidates will fabricate information concerning the degrees they have earned. In some cases they have not even attended the college or university listed on their resume. Normally you give employers consent to search your educational background by signing a form which is mailed to your college or university.


Your employment history can be verified as well. Most companies will verify your position, date of hire, final salary and exit date. Previous employers don’t like to give out too much information because they have a fear of being sued by an ex employee. Through employment verification a potential employer will be able to determine if someone actually worked for the period of time they claim to have worked. If there are gaps in employment history someone should be able to explain why they exist.

Credit Report

Your credit report can be accessed during an employment background search but you have to sign an authorization form which gives an employer permission to take a look at this information. There is information on your credit report that is not disclosed. If you filed for bankruptcy longer than 10 years ago this information will not appear on your file. If there are civil suits, or arrest records, or even civil judgments, they cannot appear on your credit report starting from the entry date. If you have tax liens that have been paid they cannot appear on your file when seven years has passed since the date of payment. Sometimes a creditor will place an account for collection and this information cannot appear after seven years. Also note an employer cannot discriminate against you because you filed a petition for bankruptcy protection. A credit report can be especially useful if you are applying for a job that requires you to handle money.


If you served in the military a potential employer will have access to this information even if you did not give them permission. The information they receive is not elaborate or detailed and will only include your name, your salary and any assignments you held or performed along with awards you received.

Driving Record

Your driving record can also be obtained by a potential employer even if you don’t give them permission. Most background searches don’t request this information unless the job you are applying for is one that involves driving.

Public Record Information

Background searches can be real extensive and they can include such information as property ownership, character references, neighbor interviews, state licensing records, sex offender lists, drug test records, personal references, and many more. Many of these items are public record which makes them easy to attain. One of the things an employer may look at is your conviction record. Information of this sort can only be accessed if a potential candidate was convicted of a crime or if you have a trial pending for some criminal activity. Therefore if you were arrested and it did not lead to a conviction then employers cannot search sources in an effort to receive this information.


About the Author

Melvin J. Richardson has been a freelance writer for two years with Associated Content, and writes about topics such as banking, credit and collections, goal setting, financial services, management, health and fitness. Richardson has worked for several banks and financial institutions and gained invaluable experience and knowledge. Richardson holds a Master of Business Administration in Executive Management from Ashland University in Ashland Ohio.