Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: What You Need to Know About Background Checks

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: What You Need to Know About Background Checks

background checksWe have all seen the recent stories on Ray Rice and domestic violence, Adrian Peterson and child abuse, Josh Gordon and marijuana use, and Wes Welker’s “Molly” use at the Kentucky Derby. The NFL has attracted significant attention in recent weeks for its employees’ drug and criminal infractions, but the NFL is far from the only employer wary of criminal history or drug use. In today’s competitive job market, background checks are standard practice. If you are considering a new job search, this list will help you know what employers are looking for and how careful you need to be.

Criminal Record

Employers want to be sure they can trust you and provide a safe work environment. Lengthy rap sheets scare employers away. Typical criminal checks will look into the past 7 years and will bring up any Felony or Misdemeanor convictions, but there is no time limit in some states. Often it is up to an employer’s discretion if they will make an offer if you have a criminal record.

Drug Tests

Drug tests are common practice for many employers. If you are driving a company vehicle or operating machinery, expect a drug test to be required. Some companies test all employees. There are two main types, 5-panel and 10-panel. The 5-panel is more common and tests for Cocaine, Methamphetamines, Amphetamines, Opiates, and THC. 10-Panel includes those 5 in addition to Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Methadone, Methaqualone, and Propoxyphene. If you think there is even a chance you will not pass, it may be smarter to turn down an opportunity rather than risk the embarrassment of losing an offer due to a failed test. If you are struggling with a drug or alcohol problem and looking for help, there are plenty of resources available to you.

Credit Checks

Poor credit or bankruptcy may also be grounds for an offer being rescinded. This is especially relevant in the financial industry, but even in management roles or IT, past financial trouble could be grounds for a rescinded offer.  If you are going to be handling a company’s financial transactions, they will want to know how responsible you are with your own finances.  Not everyone agrees with employers checking credit as a recent divorce or medical problem could hurt your credit, but it does happen.

US Security Clearance

If you are considering a job in the defense industry or with the Government expect a very in depth screening.  They will not only look into your criminal, drug, alcohol and financial records, but also your personal conduct, sexual behavior, psychological condition, and allegiance to the United States.  You will need to provide an extensive list of personal references. This is a time consuming process, so don’t expect to start a new job right away.

For more info on Security Clearances, click here:

Education and Employment Verifications

Not everyone is completely honest on their resumes. Employers want to be sure they know the truth about where you went to school and where you have worked. The simple fix here is to be 100% honest on your resume.

Social Media

While not always an official search, many employers do look at your social media. If your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media contains inappropriate content, it may make an employer think twice. Be wary of posting publicly and take advantage of privacy settings. Facebook allows you to view your profile as it appears to other users. Check yours out and see if you would be concerned if you were an employer. Also consider making a “work-friendly profile” separate from your personal profile. For example, I never really used Twitter for personal tweets, but I made a professional profile @TyPearl_IT to stay current with the industries I recruit for.

Eligibility to Work in the United States 

Every employer in the United States must verify that their employees are eligible to work in the United States. You will need to fill out a Form I-9 and employers will verify with the government that you are a U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident, or have the proper visas.

Driving Records

Davis Transportation Services and other companies hiring drivers will look at your Motor Vehicle Records. Any moving violation or accident on your record will come up, and depending on the length of time since your last violation, may result in a withdrawn offer.

While it is important to keep you records clean, things do happen.  If you do have any concerns, do some research on what the job may require. It is always best to be upfront and honest with a potential new employer and your recruiter. Anything that could be a red flag for employers could cause you to miss a shot at your dream job.


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