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What Does "Must Pass Background Check" Mean?

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The phrase "must pass background check," or similar verbiage, is common in many job postings. This expression means that if you match what the hiring manager wants in an employee, you must pass a criminal background check to get hired. When a company includes this statement, it essentially advises candidates with significant criminal backgrounds to weigh the risks. It also lets candidates know that it could take a few weeks before an official hire is made.

Background Check Impact

Employers normally hire a third-party firm that specializes in conducting thorough background checks. The purpose is to figure out whether you have convictions you didn't disclose or whether you have committed crimes that preclude you as a good fit. A candidate for an elementary teaching job usually can't get hired in most states with convictions for violent crimes or crimes involving children, for instance.


Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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