Background Check Overview: What Appears in a Background Check?
What Does a Background Check Show? This question comes up a lot among applicants who are asked to give their consent to run a background check on them. Such a check is part of the job screening process, and more than 90% of employers in the country perform background checks on applicants regularly. So, it is important for you to be aware of what comes up in a background check, and how it can affect you.
What is Background Check?
A background check is a check performed mostly by employers and licensed gun vendors in the United States. The main purpose of the background check is to reveal if the individual who is checked has a criminal record, and what crimes the individual has been convicted of. When criminal records information pop up in background checks, it allows employers and licensed gun vendors to discover if there are disqualifiers that can prevent the applicants from getting hired/purchasing a firearm.
The check requires tapping into personal records, so consent is imperative before performing a background check. So, when an employer or a licensed firearm vendor want to perform a background check, they must get written consent from the applicant. There is a form that provides such consent, and applicants need to fill out their full name, address, contact information, and their social security number (in some cases).
Who Performs a Background Check?
Once an employer and a licensed gun vendor get written consent from applicants, they can begin the background check process. The applicants' information is then passed on to third-party companies that specialize in background checks or in some cases – to the FBI. Then, the company or the FBI run the name of the applicants through special directories that provide information about them. Once the check is complete, the background check report is sent to whoever asked for it so they can view what lies in applicants' past.
If there are disqualifiers in applicants' part, they will be notified of them. When it comes to job background checks, employers are legally prohibited from rejecting applicants on the sole basis that they have a criminal record. However, if a particular offense is directly related to the job, employers can deny applicants. For instance, if an applicant was convicted of theft and he/she apply for a job in a bank, the offense can be considered during the job hiring process.
What Does a Background Check Show?
A background check provides accurate data about applicants, including the following:
- Criminal records – the nature of the crimes, when they were committed, if they resulted in a conviction, etc.
- Court records – pending or past court records the applicant was involved in
- Credit score and information – the applicants' financial data and credit rating
- Medical records – medical records of the applicant
- Drug-related offenses and drug test results
- Previous employment experience
- Additional data – additional information as requested by the employer/gun vendor
Why are Background Checks Performed?
It is not uncommon for job applicants to embellish their resumes to improve their chances of getting hired; some applicants lie about their education, some lie about their job experience, and others lie about criminal records. To make sure the job environment is safe, and that the most suitable applicants are chosen, employers perform background checks. With the help of a professional service, employers can find out if applicants have the necessary skills for a particular position, and if they were honest in their resumes.
As part of the process, applicants' criminal records are reviewed to check for disqualifiers and additional information that employers should be aware of. Once employers have all the data they need about candidates, they can make well-informed decisions, and build a team of employees.
Can I Run a Background Check on Myself?
There are professional companies that perform background checks on applicants, and provide employers with data about them. There are also special websites that provide individuals with background check reports about themselves and about other people as well. These types of websites, like CheckPeople, gather information from public records and build a report about the person getting checked. So, you can use public records websites to run a background check on yourself and see what comes up.
What Happens if My Background Check Report is Inaccurate?
With billions of personal and public records kept in the United States, errors can occur at times. So, employers, gun vendors, and other people can get false information about you. As mentioned, criminal records are not conclusive disqualifiers, but in certain cases, they can cause you to get denied from a job. If your background check reports come up with criminal records you have nothing to do with, or if they provide information about criminal records from your past that have been expunged, it can negatively affect you.
To make sure that does not happen to you, you are advised to run a background check on yourself from time to time; the check will allow you to see if your records contain mistakes. If so, you will be able to contact the authorities that made the mistake and ask them to correct the errors. By performing such a check, you will be able to delete disqualifiers from your records and prevent future problems, like the one you will have if employers get false information about you. Also, if you suspect that an employer rejected you based on false information, you can request to get a free copy of your background check report to review it and check for mistakes.