If a prospective employer or landlord ordered a background check on you, do you know what the report would say? It's a difficult question for the average job-seeker, especially because there is more than one kind of background check. Businesses and other entities consult these reports and consider their information with care. Knowing the details in these reports gives you the opportunity to find out in advance if there are potential discrepancies in criminal database systems or institutional records.
Being aware of your own background check information lets you better prepare to speak with potential employers and understand which questions you may hear from them. How can you access this information and ensure that you have an accurate background check?
Checking Your Own Background Report
There's no rule that says you cannot order a background check on yourself. In fact, if you want to verify the accuracy of the information in criminal history databases, ordering a self-check is your first step.
Ordering a detailed report from a service provider such as backgroundchecks.com lets you see exactly what an employer would see—the reports are the same whether they are personal checks or checks ordered by a business. Request your own background information and review the information thoroughly for signs of potential inaccuracies, which may be caused by mismatches between computer systems or other issues.
When reviewing your report, you may encounter information from databases that have not been fully updated by the authorities that maintain them. Knowing about these entries on your report ahead of time gives you the opportunity to collect information or documents that can provide important context for potential employers.
Keep in mind that if you receive a pre-adverse action notice from a business processing your job application, you have a right under the FCRA to explain the circumstances, offer more current information, and correct the record with the business.
What About a Non-Criminal Employee Background Screening?
When you’re seeking employment, businesses may verify additional information about you, which could include your educational credentials or the history of your previous employment. You will want to know that the information a prospective employer sees is accurate and in line with what you expect—just as critical in an employee background screening that goes beyond criminal checks.
There are no central repositories for such information, so these processes usually involve the employer or their third-party agent contacting the necessary institutions to verify the information that you provided on an application. Luckily, in many cases, verifying this information ahead of time is a simple task that shouldn't cost you anything.
For your previous employers still in business, contact the relevant department, such as human resources, to verify that your correct dates of employment are on file. Contact the registrar of the college or university that you attended to confirm that your dates of attendance and graduation status are correct.
Combined with a review of your own background records, these steps will allow you to move forward with application processes with greater confidence and opportunities to make corrections when necessary as you avoid surprises.
About Michael Klazema The author
Michael Klazema is Chief Marketing Technologist at EY-VODW.com and has over two decades of experience in digital consulting, online product management, and technology innovation. He is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments.