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What Does Wal-Mart Look for on a Background Check?

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Walmart conducts criminal background checks on all qualified candidates in Walmart stores and Sam's Club warehouses in the United States. The company evaluates the results of background checks by:

  • Looking for discrepancies between the report and the candidate's application.
  • Reviewing the nature of any criminal offenses listed on the report.

Employees who work at Walmart say the background check can take anywhere from two to 16 days.

Motivation Behind Background Checks

Walmart conducts background checks to protect itself, its employees and its customers. Employers can be sued for negligent hiring and be found liable if an employee hurts someone. In 2000, several Walmart employees were accused of sexually assaulting young girls, and one was convicted. Evaluating criminal history on a background check is a way for Walmart to avoid lawsuits and keep customers – and stakeholders – safe.

Preventing Discrimination

Walmart applications used to contain a question regarding previous criminal convictions. As of 2014, Walmart removed this question from the application from. Qualified candidates still must undergo a background check before the hiring process is complete. However, the change in the application form prevents hiring managers from discriminating against candidates with criminal convictions until they learn more about the candidate's history. This means that candidates have a better chance of getting an initial interview and a foot in the door.

What Walmart Looks For

Under federal law, Walmart can't discriminate based on race, religion, gender, age, medical information or disabilities. It can, however, make decisions based on other information it discovers in a background check. Not all convictions immediately disqualify a candidate from employment, but the company does evaluate the information and consider how it will affect the safety of its customers, associates and company. For example, in 2014, a candidate was denied a manager position after Walmart discovered a felony cocaine possession on his background check.

Walmart also looks to confirm the job hopeful filled out his application honestly. Truthfulness is an employment consideration for both lower-level and corporate Walmart employees. For example, a top Walmart executive was recently forced out of his position when Walmart discovered he had lied on his resume about having a college degree.

At least one Walmart employee said that he was hired by the company despite having a felony record. In his case, he said that he notified the company of convictions he had before he was 18 and that the hiring committee took his later years of community involvement into account before deciding to give him a job.


Based in San Diego, Calif., Madison Garcia is a writer specializing in business topics. Garcia received her Master of Science in accountancy from San Diego State University.

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