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How Can You Prepare for a Background Check?

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Posted by: David Garcia July 16, 2023

Background checks have become a customary part of most hiring processes. Employers take risks any time they open their companies up to new talent. So much can go wrong in the process: the team doesn’t gel with the new hire, they prove to be unreliable or unqualified, or they simply aren’t the right fit.

Anything employers can do to ensure their new hire is who they represent themselves to be, they’re going to do. That’s where background checks come in. If you believe you will be subject to a background check, there are five things you can do right now to prepare.

What Is Included in a Background Check?

Background checks can range in scope from narrowly tailored to wide-ranging. The three most common types of background screenings ordered by employers are:

Other background screening subject areas include drug and alcohol test history, social security verification, past residences, sex offender registry, and credit history.

5 Tips To Prepare for a Background Check

One advantage you have to being on the job candidate end of a background check is advance warning. Any time you make it to the interview stage of a hiring process, you can assume you may be subject to a background check. When that becomes the case, keep these five tips in mind to ensure you are prepared.

1. Consider Criminal Record Expungement

Be honest about your criminal record in the hiring process, and look into expunging and sealing your criminal record. Check out the Restoration of Rights Project for information on what paths each state offers to remove the criminal record

2. Review Your Social Media Profiles

Around 70% of employers screen potential candidates’ social media as part of the hiring process. Some even use highly sophisticated software to scan your accounts on sites like Twitter and Instagram to find potentially incriminating information that can go back several years.

Be aware of what you post, and do an audit before your potential employer does.

3. Obtain Your Own Copies of Your Public Records

Each state has its own guide to obtaining records through its public records law (with Massachusetts and Virginia as two guiding examples). If you want to know what potential future employers will see if they request your records, you don’t have to dig into your memory to get an idea. Simply request your records and see for yourself.

You can use the Freedom of Information Act to get federal records on yourself and go by state processes to get state records. Check out your drug and alcohol testing history, criminal record, driving record, credit history, and more. Once you know what will show up, you’ll sound better explaining it.

4. Get Your 1099s and W2s in Order

Past employment verification is the cornerstone of any background screening hiring process. If you have your own record of past employment, as represented by pay stubs, you can shorten delays as records are requested and build trust with potential future employers.

5. Be Honest About Your Background

In a 2023 survey of 1,250 Americans, Resume Builder revealed shocking findings concerning the hiring process. 35% reported lying during the hiring process, 68% lied during an interview, and a staggering 72% lied on their resume.

You can understand why employers would want to take every measure available to ensure their candidates are honest – and honestly qualified. The most important thing you can do with respect to background screenings is to be honest about the findings. Employers care less what comes up than how you address it.

Obviously, certain criminal charges and drug and alcohol violations might be immediate grounds for dismissal. But you can turn a potentially incriminating situation into a trust-building one if you own up to your own record.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Background Check Do Most Employers Use?

The three background checks most employees order are previous employment and education verifications, criminal records checks, and DMV records checks.

What Comes Up on a Background Check?

What comes up on a background check depends on what kind of checks have been ordered and with what thoroughness the screening servicer has been asked to conduct those checks. They may come up with mere records of past actions, but they may also contact previous employers, roommates, teachers, and more for context.

Final Thoughts

There’s no getting around background checks. They have become inextricably woven into the fabric of the hiring process. Rather than trying to resist them by obscuring your records or lying about what’s on them, it’s better to face facts.

Make strides to discover what is on your own records, do what you can to expunge incriminating records that no longer reflect who you are, and own up to the rest.

Background check screening service providers like ScoutLogic can return criminal records searches in as fast as one day, we have a dispute rate of under .02%, and we’re unable to verify certain records in less than 3% of cases. Trust in ScoutLogic for your background check needs.

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