What does it mean when my potential future employer wants to do a personal background check on me?
We get asked that question a lot by job candidates. And this post will provide answers to that question. Here’s what we’re going to cover:
- What is the purpose of a background check?
- Who conducts the check?
- What should you do when confronted with a background check?
So what is the purpose of a background check?
We always recommend that job seekers vet their potential employers. And employers will do the same to potential new hires.
A background check is typically part of the pre-employment process. Most companies don’t do a background check until they are ready to make the candidate an offer. It’s intended to verify certain important information about the potential new employee.
A typical background check includes the following data points:
- Verification of the job applicant’s identity
- Verification of the applicant’s education and employment history
- A credit check on the job applicant
- Verification of the applicant’s criminal history (if any)
The level of information required is dependent on the position and the hiring company.
Who conducts the background check?
Most companies have an outside service they work with to provide background checks and verifications. These third-party service providers typically have relationships with the credit
reporting agencies like Equifax and TransUnion for credit information. They also do the criminal background and employment verification.
Consumers are protected by legislation including The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). So your information can only be accessed by authorized service providers.
What should you do when confronted with a background check?
Job candidates must be asked to sign an agreement for their potential employer to do a background investigation or verification. This contingency is usually required for employment. Candidates can always refuse to allow a background check, but prospects of getting hired will be very low.
Just remember that honesty is always the best policy.
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