What Employers Look for in a Background Check for Employment

Understanding Background Checks for Employment

background check employment

When employers are looking to hire new employees, they often conduct background checks to ensure that they are making the best hiring decision for their company. A background check is a review of a job applicant’s criminal, employment, education, and financial records to ensure that the applicant is trustworthy and capable of performing the job duties. For the applicant, it is important to know exactly what shows up on a background check for employment. In this article, we will explore each category of the background check to provide job seekers with a better understanding of what employers look for.

Criminal Records

One of the most important aspects of a background check for employment is a review of an applicant’s criminal history. A criminal record can include misdemeanors, felonies, and even traffic offenses. Employers are looking for criminal activity that could potentially impact an employee’s job performance and put the company in a compromising position. However, it is important to note that not all criminal records will disqualify an applicant from a job, as employers are required to follow certain laws and guidelines when making hiring decisions based on criminal history.

The extent to which criminal records show up on a background check for employment may vary depending on the state or city of the employer, as well as the level of the check being conducted. Some states, for example, do not allow employers to consider certain types of criminal records, such as minor drug offenses, when making hiring decisions. In addition, employers may only conduct a basic criminal history check or could opt for a more in-depth investigation for certain positions. It is important for job seekers to know their rights and understand the laws surrounding criminal records and employment.

Employment Verification

Employment verification is another important aspect of a background check for employment. This type of check confirms an applicant’s previous employment history by contacting previous employers or using an online database. The employer is looking to confirm job titles, employment dates, and the reason for leaving the previous job. Employers may also ask for references to confirm the applicant’s skills and work ethic. Employment verification is crucial for ensuring that the applicant has the necessary experience and qualifications for the position they are applying for.

Education Verification

Employers also conduct education verification to ensure that an applicant has the qualifications for the position they are applying for. This type of verification includes checking on the applicant’s graduation status, degree, and GPA by contacting the school they attended. Employers may also verify certifications or licenses, depending on the position. Education verification is important for ensuring that the applicant has the skills and knowledge necessary for the job duties.

Financial History

Some employers may also check an applicant’s financial history, which includes credit reports, bankruptcies, and liens. While not all employers conduct this type of check, those working in finance or handling money are more likely to do so. This background check helps to determine an applicant’s financial stability, which can be crucial for certain positions. However, it’s important to note that employers must follow certain laws, like the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which sets guidelines for what can be included in a credit report.

Social Media

Finally, some employers may also check an applicant’s social media presence. While not an official part of a background check, employers can use social media to gain insight into an applicant’s personality, hobbies, and behavior. Employers may review an applicant’s public profiles on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. However, it is important for employers to be careful when using social media as it may reveal personal information that could lead to discrimination or bias.

Understanding what shows up on a background check for employment can help job seekers better prepare for the hiring process and ensure that they are presenting themselves in the best possible light. By being aware of what employers are looking for, job seekers can take steps to address any issues that might show up and ultimately increase their chances of landing the job.

Criminal Records and Employment Background Checks

Criminal Records and Employment Background Checks

When applying for a job, many employers require a background check before making a final decision. This check can include a variety of information, but one of the most critical aspects is criminal history. While many people believe that employers only look for felonies, this is not entirely accurate. Employers may examine misdemeanors, arrests, and even traffic violations. Depending on the position and the state, crimes committed several years ago may also be uncovered. In this section, we’ll discuss why employers check criminal records and how this information can affect a job candidate’s employment prospects.

Why Do Employers Check Criminal Records?

Why Do Employers Check Criminal Records

Employers check criminal records to minimize the risk that a new hire will cause harm to the company or its employees. For example, employers in industries such as education, finance, and healthcare, may worry that hiring someone with a criminal record could place vulnerable populations at risk. Other companies, such as those that work with sensitive information or large sums of money, may worry that an employee could embezzle funds or share information with outside parties. By checking criminal records, employers can make informed decisions about who they hire, which helps protect their interests, employees, and customers.

What Information Can Criminal Background Checks Reveal?

What Information Can Criminal Background Checks Reveal?

A criminal background check can reveal a wide range of information. In general, employers look for any criminal activity that may be relevant to the job being filled. For example, an employer hiring a cashier may examine the candidate’s financial history for evidence of theft or fraud. For jobs in healthcare or education, employers may look for any crimes that may indicate a predilection for violence or sexual misconduct.

When looking at criminal records, employers typically examine both felony and misdemeanor convictions, as well as arrests. Many employers feel that arrests indicate potential issues, even if no convictions resulted. Additionally, some employers may consider traffic violations, particularly if the job involves driving.

It’s important to note that state laws vary regarding what criminal history employers can consider when making hiring decisions. For example, Hawaii prohibits employers from asking candidates about convictions that occurred over a certain number of years ago. In contrast, some states allow employers to ask about any convictions, regardless of how long ago they occurred. Candidates should be sure to research their state’s laws to fully understand what information an employer can consider.

How Does Criminal History Affect Employment Prospects?

How Does Criminal History Affect Employment Prospects?

Unfortunately, having a criminal history can significantly impact a candidate’s employment prospects. According to the National Employment Law Project, more than 70 million Americans have some form of criminal record. For many of these individuals, finding employment can be a significant challenge. Even if the employer feels that the candidate is the best fit for the job, concerns about public perception, insurance issues, or legal liability may cause them to choose another candidate.

However, not all employers automatically disqualify candidates with a criminal history. Many employers will take the nature of the crime, the age at the time of the offense, and the sentence received into account. Additionally, some states have implemented “ban the box” laws that prohibit employers from asking about criminal records on job applications or during initial interviews. Instead, the employer may only begin asking about criminal history after making a conditional job offer.


In conclusion, it’s essential to understand that criminal records can significantly impact a new hire’s employment prospects. While employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and customers, candidates with criminal records may still be able to obtain employment. By researching state laws and understanding how employers view criminal histories, job seekers can take steps to mitigate the impact of their past actions on their future employment prospects. Ultimately, it’s important for job seekers to be honest with their potential employers about their history and to make a case for why their skills and experience are a good fit for the position.

Credit Reports and Employment Background Checks

Credit Report Checks

When applying for a job, it’s not uncommon for employers to conduct background checks on potential employees. These background checks usually come in the form of credit reports and employment background checks. Both of which could either make or break your chances of landing the job. It may seem daunting, but there are ways to ensure that your background check will not hinder you from getting that dream job.

What is a Credit Report?

Credit Report

A credit report is a detailed summary of your financial history. Your credit report includes information on credit accounts, loans, payment history, inquiries about your credit history, and public records such as foreclosures or bankruptcies. Employers may conduct credit checks on potential employees to assess their level of financial responsibility and to evaluate whether or not they are trustworthy.

If you’ve missed a few payments or have any outstanding debt, it’s important to address these issues before applying for a job that may conduct a credit check. You can obtain a free credit report from any of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – once a year. Reviewing your credit report to ensure that the information is up to date and accurate will also help you in identifying any irregularities that may affect your credit score.

What is an Employment Background Check?

Employment Background Checks

An employment background check refers to a process of verifying the accuracy of the information provided on your job application. Employers want to be certain that you have the education, experience, and skills necessary for the job. They may also want to check your criminal record, verify your past employment, and review your social media accounts.

During the employment background check process, potential employers may contact the references you have provided to verify your employment history and work performance. They may also review your social media pages to assess your character. Ensuring that your social media presence is professional will help avoid any unwanted negative feedback from potential employers.

How to Prepare for Credit Reports and Employment Background Checks?

Background Check

It’s essential to prepare yourself before undergoing a credit report or employment background check. You can start by reviewing your credit report to ensure that it’s accurate, up to date, and has no errors. If there is any negative information in your credit report, try to address it by getting in touch with the credit bureaus that produced the report.

Employers may also look at your criminal record, so ensure that you have not committed any crimes that could impede your chances of getting the job. If you have any criminal record entries, be honest and upfront about them so that potential employers know that you are transparent and trustworthy.

Finally, ensure that your online presence is professional and devoid of any inappropriate content that may be used against you during a background check.



While it may be overwhelming to undergo credit checks and employment background checks, keep in mind that these checks are ways for potential employers to determine whether you’re a good fit for their company. Preparing yourself before undergoing these checks can help increase your chances of landing the job. Ensuring the accuracy of your credit report, addressing any negative information, and ensuring that your online presence is professional are all key steps you can take to prepare for credit reports and employment background checks.

Employment Verification and Background Checks

Employment Verification and Background Checks

Employment verification and background checks are standard processes that almost all employers perform nowadays before hiring a new employee. The purpose of these checks is to ensure that an individual is who they claim to be and has no red flags in their past that would make them unsuitable for the job.

In this article, we’ll explore what shows up on a background check for employment, including the different kinds of checks that may be conducted and the information that may be revealed in each one. Keeping in mind that these checks may vary depending on the employer’s policies and the level of scrutiny the job requires.

Criminal Records

Criminal Records

One of the primary things employers check for in a background check is an individual’s criminal history. This check is done to ensure that the individual has no criminal records that would make them unsuitable for the job in question. The search may be limited to the state and county where the person lives or may include a more extensive check of the entire nation.

If a person has a criminal record, the report will include details of the charges filed, convictions, guilty pleas, and any jail or prison time served. Of course, not all criminal activities disqualify an individual from employment, but whether or not it affects their suitability for employment may vary depending on the type of job and the severity of the crime committed.

Credit History

Credit History

Employers may also perform a credit check to determine an applicant’s creditworthiness when offering sensitive jobs that involve financial management. Generally, they are looking for things like past-due accounts, foreclosures, bankruptcies, or judgments against the applicant. However, it’s crucial to note that running a credit check may cause a slight decrease in the applicant’s credit score, so this information should be gathered only when it’s necessary.

Educational and Professional History

Educational and Professional History

Employment verification is another essential component of the background check process. This check confirms the information an applicant has submitted to prove their education, job title, length of service, and other professional qualifications. The employer may also check with previous employers to verify that the person left in good standing and has the skills and experience the applicant claimed.

Driving Record

Driving Records

Driving records usually only apply when the applicant will need to drive for business-related duties, usually when the position needs to provide transportation to clients or guests. This check will show the number of accidents, moving violations, and DUI convictions in the applicant’s driving history. Employers will use this information to determine the applicant’s suitability in the role offered.

Social Media Accounts

Social Media Accounts

Employers can also check social media profiles to learn more about the applicant’s character, behavior and what kind of image they present online. However, they are restricted by privacy laws and need to handle the information professionally. For instance, they can’t use your profile picture as a basis for determining suitability for the role because it could lead to discrimination.

The Bottom Line

Remember that an employer may only run background checks that are relevant to the position you have applied for. The hiring process can take longer if there are any reasons for concern based on what they find. And if they do find something that may impact their decision, an employer must provide an opportunity for the applicant to explain themselves before deciding if it affects their suitability for employment.

In conclusion, it’s essential to be honest in your job application and answer all questions truthfully and transparently to avoid surprises if and when an employer decides to run a background check. But, If you have any issues in your background, be upfront with your employer and explain your situation clearly to avoid any misunderstandings that may arise.

Red Flags on Employment Background Checks

background check

Employers conduct background checks to protect their company and ensure they are making the right hiring decision. A background check can reveal a lot about a person, including criminal history, employment history, credit history, and more. It’s important to note that a background check is not intended to discriminate against any candidate based on any characteristic or factor protected by law. Instead, it helps employers make an informed decision by identifying any red flags on a candidate’s record. Here are five red flags that may show up on an employment background check:

1. Criminal History

criminal history

One of the most significant red flags on a background check is criminal history. This can include any convictions or pending charges for crimes such as theft, assault, drug offenses, or other violent crimes. Employers may also review a candidate’s sex offender registry status to assess their risk level. Depending on the type of job, criminal history can disqualify a candidate from further consideration.

2. Employment Gaps and Job Hopping

job hopping

An employer may also consider employment gaps and frequent job changes as red flags when reviewing a candidate’s employment history. This could indicate a lack of commitment or reliability, or even a lack of work ethic. However, it’s essential to consider the candidate’s job history as a whole. A candidate who has held several jobs in a short period may simply be seeking the right fit and could still be a great asset to the team.

3. False Information

false information

Providing false information on a resume or job application is unethical and can be grounds for immediate disqualification during the hiring process. Employers may verify information such as education, employment history, and credentials. If the employer discovers that the candidate provided false information, it raises concerns about their ethics and may indicate a lack of integrity.

4. Poor Credit History

credit history

While a poor credit history may not be a red flag for every job, it may be relevant for positions that handle money, sensitive information, or require a security clearance. Employers may view a bad credit report as a reflection of a candidate’s financial responsibility or trustworthiness. It is essential to note that any adverse action taken based on a credit report must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

5. Inconsistent Information

inconsistent information

Inconsistencies in a candidate’s application materials can be red flags. If there are inconsistencies between the resume, the application, and the information discovered in the background check, it raises questions about the candidate’s honesty and attention to detail. Employers may reach out to the candidate to clarify any discrepancies or to confirm the accuracy of the information provided.

In conclusion, understanding the red flags on an employment background check can help employers make an informed decision when hiring. It’s important to note that no one factor will automatically disqualify a candidate, and any adverse action taken based on the results of a background check must comply with all applicable laws. By using background checks to evaluate prospective employees, companies can create a safer work environment and make an informed hiring decision.

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