5 Background Check Facts You Might Not Know

It’s more common than ever to submit to a background check before you start working somewhere. Many industries have made this routine, and you should know your potential employer will scrutinize your background during the interview and hiring process. If you have anything questionable in your past, you’ll probably have to address that, so you should know what you’ll say about it beforehand.

We’ll talk about background checks a little more right now. We’ve come up with some background check facts about which you might not be aware.

They Involve More Than Just Your Criminal History

Many individuals think about their criminal history, if they have any, when they submit to a background check. It’s true that pre-employment screening helps protect staff members from anyone who might have a violent past or other serious crimes in their background, but that’s only one part of what goes into it.

Screening processes have become much more involved and comprehensive in recent decades. Mostly, these checks will include anything about an individual that’s public record.

A background check will now include someone’s education, especially if they claim they went to college. The check will run through their employment history, and it will look into their references as well. It will verify the person’s identity, and it will look into any civil records in which they appear.

These pieces, when a company adds them together, give a much more accurate picture of a potential employee than one that businesses might have gathered in the past.

Pre-Employment Screening Protects Many Different Individuals

A background check can also protect many individuals with which the person in question might come into contact. When you submit to a background check, and the company learns about you, it might uncover something serious that you did in the past that speaks to a violent disposition or moral or ethical failings.

When that happens, they might turn you down for the job, keeping you from interacting with the other employees. If you do not get the job, you also won’t encounter any customers or clients while acting as the company’s representative.

That matters to businesses because, if they hire you, they are essentially vouching for you. They’re saying they’re okay with you representing them. If that company hires you and you do something out of line, and a background check could have revealed a character flaw, that company would have to hold themselves responsible for that judgment lapse.

A Criminal History Does Not Guarantee Rejection

You should also know that if you have a crime in your background and the check reveals it, that does not automatically mean the company will turn you down for the position for which you applied. The hiring manager or whoever talks to you might give you a chance to explain the incident.

A company might not want to hire you if you killed someone or did something else egregious, but they might forgive a simple drug arrest years before or something equally innocuous. Because of this, you should not give up the job search just because you made a mistake at some point. 

One judgment error or lapse as a youth probably will not prevent you from finding gainful employment, as long as you’re contrite and explain how you don’t have that mindset anymore.

You Can Sometimes Seal a Record or Expunge It

You might have heard that in some instances, you can seal a criminal record or get a judge to expunge it. That’s not true for all crimes, but you can sometimes get a judge to expunge a minor criminal conviction, especially if it happened before you turned eighteen.

If you can successfully petition a judge to get them to seal your record or expunge something from it, that means that crime will not show up when a potential employer does a background check on you. You might feel like it’s worth looking into this possibility if you think you have something particularly glaring that you don’t want a hiring manager to see.

Expect the Background Check to Go Back About Seven Years

You may wonder if a crime or some indiscretion will show up on a background check if it’s from a decade before or even longer. Most background checks go back about seven years, at least regarding criminality.

However, there’s no law about that. You might have a background check that does not go back that far or others that go back much further.