Do Background Checks Depend on the Position Hired?

Employee background checks vary significantly. While some job seekers assume that every job background check is just a standard criminal history search, variation occurs not only from company to company but also from job to job.

Some jobs require high levels of education, professional certifications from specific licensing bodies, and other prestigious credentials. Others depend on specific skills, work experience, or factors such as physical strength. While any job that you apply for will list qualification requirements such as these on the job listing or description, you can also expect them to appear as part of pre-hiring employee background checks.

In most cases, the criminal history search is the foundation of employee background checks. If you are applying for a job, it is safe to assume that you will need to submit to a criminal background check before you can be formally hired. Depending on the responsibilities of the job that you are seeking, you might be able to draw reasonable conclusions about the other types of background checks that you will be required to pass.

If you are applying for a job as a doctor, lawyer, nurse, or other position that requires a credential from a state licensing body, you can expect your employer to verify your license to make sure that you are legally qualified to perform the job. Similarly, if the job description lists a requirement for a bachelor’s degree (or any higher level of education), you can assume that your employer will verify any degrees that you claim on your resume with those colleges or universities.

Both licensing and certification checks and education background checks are verification checks—a category that also includes reference checks and employment history checks. Whether your employer investigates this information will usually depend more on the employer than the job. If you are seeking a particularly high-level position, such as a presidential role at a community college or a superintendent job within a school district, you can expect the employer to look deeper into your background. Anticipate a full check through your resume and conversations with your professional references.

Other role-specific background checks include driving history checks and background checks related to financial history. These checks aren’t necessary or relevant for every position, but they play critical roles in jobs with fiscal responsibilities. For instance, a logistics company hiring truck drivers will likely never make a hiring decision without checking a candidate’s driving history for past traffic infractions, license suspensions, and other concerns. An investment firm might be interested in seeing how an applicant has managed his or her own finances before giving that person responsibility over other people’s accounts.

Need assistance? At, we provide a wide range of products for employee background checks from foundational criminal history searches to role-specific checks.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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