Pre-Employment Background Check: What Shows Up?

The employment background check is a standard part of most hiring processes. According to an survey, 95 percent of employers conduct “some type of employment background screening.” Eighty-six percent vet all full-time employees and 68 percent screen all part-time hires. What these statistics show is that if you are applying for a new position, you can expect to go through a pre-employment background check. What does this background check entail? 

Not all pre-employment background checks are the same. There is significant variety in what employers screen for and how detailed or wide-ranging their checks are. 

The most common component of the pre-employment background screening process is a criminal history check. Eighty-six percent of survey respondents told that they run background checks to protect the safety of customers, other employees, and the public. Usually, employers retain this focus on safety by looking at criminal history and keeping an eye out for red flags, such as convictions for violent crimes or sexual offenses. 

Criminal background checks are by far the most common type of pre-employment screening used by employers. Eighty-four percent of employers told that they run national database criminal history checks on all candidates while 10 percent use those checks on some candidates. Eighty-nine percent use county or state criminal history checks on all employees, with eight percent running those checks only on some new hires. A very small percentage of employers ignore criminal history when considering new job candidates. 

Depending on the employer, an employment background check may include other types of vetting. 83 percent of respondents said that they check all candidates using Social Security Number traces, which are useful for verifying identity, discovering aliases, and unearthing address histories. 69 percent ran all candidate names against sex offender registries. 16 percent ran credit history or financial checks on all candidates—checks that are especially popular for jobs that involve access to business accounts or sensitive financial information. A significant number of employers also used checks such as professional license verificationsdrug and alcohol testingeducation verifications, and motor vehicle driving record checks

At, we offer all these checks as well as employment history verifications and civil history searches. You can learn exactly how these checks work by visiting our product page or Learning Center

If you are applying for jobs and are concerned that you might struggle to pass an employment background check, start by running checks on yourself through A self-check can give you a basic idea of what employers might see when they pull your records. 

Be honest about your past, from providing accurate details on your resume to disclosing past criminal history if asked. Many employers value honesty above other qualities, and the right employer may be willing to give you a chance if you explain the circumstances of a prior misdeed or employment dismissal.



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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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