Do businesses run background checks for employment?

Looking for a job is stressful. You’re up against a sea of candidates with the same credentials you hold. The competition is intense. You’re always applying to jobs that seem to disappear as fast as they came. After what seems like an eternity, you finally manage a job interview. Full of nerves and anticipation, you start to research common interview practices. One search result that seems to come up frequently is a background check requirement. So, that leaves you wondering, do businesses run background checks for employment?

Pre-employment Background Checks

When you’ve passed your job interview, you’ll likely be asked for a background check before signing your employment offer. A background check uses a platform like CheckPeople.com to verify and validate your information by compiling various details into a comprehensive report. 

This report contains personal content about your employment history, educational verification, criminal history, and credit report. It may also contain your social media profiles, depending on the provider.

An employer will look at this information in comparison to your resume and employment application. Validation of your SSN, address, and complete name is the first step in confirming your candidacy. Following this, an employer will likely review your prior employment to see if it matches your resume’s history.

While a discrepancy of a few months isn’t a huge deal, employers are looking for major flags or lapses in employment. If you haven’t been truthful in your employment history, there’s a good chance you’ll be denied the job offer. Likewise, if your history shows a large portion of your employment was different than what you suggested, you may also be denied a position. Companies want to mitigate and remove all potential risks to the company. Hiring an individual without the credentials they claim to have isn’t an option.

Employment Background Checks

Many times, throughout the hiring process, an employer may require an annual background check. These terms of employment are important for continued business security, especially when working within the vulnerable population (like the elderly or children). Many times, an employer will simply run an updated check of their staff members to ensure that no one is breaching the terms of their service contract. This can include driving while impaired charges, assault charges, or drug-related incidences.

Can an employer require a background check?

Yes. An employer can require a background check as a condition of employment. While an applicant has every right to deny the request, doing so would likely terminate the employment opportunity. To perform a background check, an employer needs to receive signed written consent from the applicant or employee. If the employee consents, the contents of the background will be reviewed by the employer.

Additionally, an employer may require an employee to consent to subsequent background checks at later dates, if needed. Some employers will run annual reports, while others will only do this with reasonable cause. The company will still need to receive your consent and permission to run the check but remember that denying this request could result in termination of your employment.

Most states indicate that a criminal record can not be used as a reason for denying employment unless it directly relates to the line of work. Additionally, many employers will give potential candidates a chance to review their report and dispute or explain any new findings.

Many employers are now performing background checks on their employees during the interview phase or annually. Doing so will keep businesses, customers, and staff in a safe environment, which is important for everyone. Although it may seem invasive or exploitive to provide your employer with so much background information, try not to think of it as a negative.

Position yourself as an equal to your employer, seeing the check as a mutually beneficial agreement. While the company may see confidential pieces of your past, they will see the past histories of everyone in the office too. Thanks to this change in perspective, you can appreciate the investigation as more of a team effort, instead of a single isolated item. After all, if you’ve got nothing to hide, your report is going to remain rather uneventful. Meaning, you’ve got nothing to worry about.