It's becoming more common for potential job candidates to submit to a background check prior to being hired for a position. Employers have done this both to protect themselves from hiring employees who have misrepresented personal information, and ensure they're following all legal requirements for working within the country our county their located in. If you've been advised you'll need to pass a background check prior to be hired for a position, here's what you need to know.
Why Businesses Perform Background Checks
A CV and an interview is all an employer has to go off of when searching through numerous job applicants for the right employee. There are mountains of information to sort through, which is why employers often speed up the process by performing a background check to identify false or suspicious information. Failure to perform a check on potential employees can open up a business to many risks including:
Potential for Employee Fraud
Theft of Private Customer Information
Issues with a disgruntled employee or high staff turnovers
Damage to Company Reputation
Potential for Lawsuits regarding Negligent Hiring Decisions
These are just a few of the reasons employers order background checks, but there are many others. While it protect the company from risk, they can benefit potential employees as well.
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What a Background Check Means for You
Many job applicants think the process involved in their employment check ends at consent to perform one. Rather than sit passively and wait for the check to be completed, be sure you've given all the information they will need to perform an appropriate one, and know your rights as an employee for what they cannot check on.
The following information cannot be acquired through a check and cannot be held against an employee during the hiring process:
Unless the job requires you to work with financial information, typically credit checks are off limits during a background investigation.
Results of civil court suits, judgements, and arrest records are not valid if they are more than seven years old
Bankruptcy information more than ten years old
Requests for transcripts or grade information cannot be released without additional consent by the candidate
Medical Reports and Disability Information are off limits
Things the employer can obtain without consent do include history of military service, driving records, and enrolment in college but the details of grades and other information are kept private. If an employer rejects a potential candidate during the process of a pre empoyment check, they are required to advise the applicant of both the rejection and the company that provided them with the report. Job seekers can also request copies of reports from the company who performed the investigation.
While it may seem invasive, a background check ultimately protects you as an employee as well as the employer. Companies who perform the checks show they have high standards for their staff, care about their own business standing, and want to hire quality employees for overall success. Don't let it steer you away from a job. Be truthful and forthcoming with all information, and be confident that the company will choose you as the best candidate due to their diligence and your honesty about how hard you'll work towards their success.
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