When you apply for a job, there’s a lot that goes on before a decision is made about whether you should be hired. You typically submit a resume along with the application, meet with executives for at least one interview and undergo a background check. The potential employer needs to know that you are the upstanding citizen you say you are.
What is a background check?
Background checks are investigations into a potential employee’s criminal history, previous employment and credit history. Employers generally conduct these to screen candidates, especially when the job requires a high level of responsibility. Government agencies can provide information about a candidate’s history, and there are many private companies who provide the service for a fee. Depending on what the company requests, a background check can be simple or comprehensive.
Why do companies request background checks?
Background checks can help an employer get a sense of a candidate’s honesty and reliability. For example, an organization may not hire a candidate who has a history of theft. A job that requires an employee to handle money may not be a good fit for someone with a history of check fraud. Conducting a background check can help an employer ensure that applicants have the qualifications they claim to have.
What if you aced the interview but have a questionable
You’re not the first person to have a less-than-perfect background check. People go through financial strife, and situations like bankruptcies and defaults can remain on your credit for several years. Although employers are not allowed to discriminate against people who have filed bankruptcy, they can see if you consistently make late payments or neglect to pay back what you owe.
If you know your history isn’t perfect, discuss it with the employer once the employer lets you know a background check will be conducted. Some employers won’t even concern themselves with minor criminal convictions, especially if they aren’t related to the job the candidate is applying for. Regardless of what the incident was, if you have a conviction on your record, disclose it up front. Explain the situation, how it never affected your job performance, what the experience has taught you and why you won’t make the same mistake again.
Most negative information on a background check is expunged within 7 years. A bankruptcy won’t show up anymore after 10 years. Criminal convictions will remain on your background check indefinitely. The best way to make sure your background check doesn’t domineer the employer’s opinion of you as a job candidate is to be open and honest about it. Don’t forget to check up on your online reputation as well. If an Internet search of your name brings up some stellar information, you can use that to your advantage.