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How Do Companies Conduct Background Checks

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It doesn’t matter if you’re applying for a new job or if you’ve been at the same company for decades; chances are your employer has run a background check. A background check pulls current and complete information about an individual to determine the potential fit, safety, and security an employee has within the company. The majority of companies will complete a background check at the beginning stages of the application process before offering employment.

Employers will use your background check to evaluate many different components, ranging from basic information to in-depth analysis of a person’s financial wellbeing. Depending on the background check results, an employer will either offer a position within the company or end its current application status. To better understand the background check process, here are the steps most employers take when deciding to hire someone.

Performing an Interview for the Position

Most, if not all, employers will only run background checks on probable candidates for the position. This analysis means a company is going to weed out poor-fitting individuals before running the checks. During the interview process, you’ll answer questions about your current and past work experience, questions relating to strengths and weaknesses on the job, any relevant volunteering or education, and general questions about your personality. If the hiring personnel feels you’re a decent fit for the job, they’ll move you into the potential candidate category. 

The Signed Consent for Running a Background Check

To run a background check for employment, every company must have written verification of permission. This process requires your signature, by law, to check your personal information. Written consent is required to prevent an individual from claiming breaches of privacy down the road. Remember, you do not have to sign the consent form, but an employer doesn’t have to continue with the application process if you refuse. 

The Employer Runs the Background Check 

Most companies do not have the resources to have in-house teams running background checks on potential applicants. As such, many employers will outsource the background check to third-party companies like Check People. These third-party websites also act as a safeguard should something negative turn up in the file. An outside company performing the check ensures no potential conflict of interest. The company submits the report to the employer in a PDF file.

Information is Confirmed and Reviewed

After receiving the background check from the third-party website, an employer will initially confirm the information provided on the resume and application matches the results from the report. Likewise, they will also verify the Social Security Number, past employment, and any educational credentials indicated. Any discrepancies in this information may result in a declined application.

Criminal History is Assessed

Every background check report will have a criminal report included. This report will consist of any charges or convictions that have occurred within the last seven years. Aside from criminal convictions, most reports will include pending charges, acquitted charges, and arrests made. They will not include any juvenile records nor arrests made without charges. If the criminal history contained in your background check poses the company’s potential risk (for example, numerous assault charges), they will cancel your application.

Credit Report Evaluation

Although this isn’t a heavy influence in job offers, some positions requiring financial security or power (those working within the financial or economic industry) will take this information seriously. An employer will review any accounts you currently have with financial institutions, their limits, your financial history, balances, and any delinquent payments. This information can better understand how you handle money, which could be important for future job requirements. Any significant concerns found in your report may disqualify you from the position.

Social Media Review

Most companies understand that who you are outside the business is private; however, with the rise of social media comes corporate responsibility. Employers will review your social media accounts for any obscene, racist, fascist, or sexist remarks. They’ll also check any comments or posts you’ve made to determine whether you approach conversation politely or with an aggressive approach. Should your accounts reflect a personality substantially different from company values, another candidate may receive the job offer. 

What Happens If My Job Offer is Declined Because of My Background Report?

Any employer choosing to decline a potential applicant based on their background report must provide them with a copy by law. This report allows you to review the information they used to decide and file a dispute with the company that prepared the report. It’s essential to include the source of the error found within the report, whether it’s a creditor or court issuer.

What Happens If I Receive a Job Offer After My Background Report?

Typically, a prospective employer will submit an offer of employment in writing after completing the required background checks. This offer may outline any terms of the employment and should be reviewed carefully. It’s up to you to accept or decline the offer at that time.

Last Updated: July 20, 2021

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