How Job Applicants Can Prepare for a Background Check

Now that background checks are more common, job seekers are recognizing the importance of taking steps to ensure that information in the public domain is correct and presents them in an appropriate light.

Here are steps a candidate can take:

•     Order a credit report. Studies show that 25 percent of all credit reports contain errors. Job seekers should dispute incorrect information before having to explain it to an interviewer. In many cases, negative credit reports can stop a job hunt cold. Note that prospective employers cannot obtain credit scores or birth-date information from a credit report.

•     Check court records. Inspect files relating to arrest records or court cases to ensure they are accurate.

•     Request a Department of Motor Vehicles report. Many employers make a distinction between major and minor traffic offenses. DWI or DUI convictions are considered major offenses. If an applicant responds that he or she has not been convicted of a major offense but has a DWI, the prospective employer can consider this falsifying the job application.

•     Ask for a copy of personnel files from previous jobs. Many states allow previously employed individuals to have access to personnel files. In addition, applicants can ask past employers how much information they typically disclose when contacted as part of a reference check. Many companies have policies in place.

While most individuals are more confident in knowing their coworkers have undergone a basic level of scrutiny, there are limits to the amount of information prospective employers can gather. Additionally, business owners should know that negligent hiring suits typically rule in favor of the plaintiff. Therefore, it is important to follow state and federal guidelines when conducting background checks.

Employees are a company’s greatest asset. Selecting the right people for your organization by conducting in-depth background checks before a conditional offer of employment is made and before the actual employment begins can help ensure business success.

Vol 4, Issue 5