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Employment Background Checks: Know What’s on Yours BEFORE the Interview

Posted by Writing PIs on February 13, 2011

Sometimes people get nervous, even afraid, of what a potential employer might find out about them during the course of an employment background check. That’s too bad because it’s relatively easy to find out exactly what an employer, or background check company, will discover if a person is willing to invest a little effort and money ahead of time.  By being proactive, and doing some of the research upfront, a person can confidently pursue employment without fearing what “secrets” may be unearthed.

Here’s our top three tips for conducting your own employment background check.

Tip #1: Request your criminal records. The most basic check most employers request in a background check is a criminal history. You can request your own criminal records from the courts in any counties where you lived, worked, or attended school. You’ve lived in the same county for the past 7 years? That’s typically how far back criminal background checks go anyway, so simply go to the county court, tell the court clerk you’d like to see any criminal records under your name, and follow the clerk’s instructions. If you’ve lived (worked, etc.) in several counties, do the same at those courthouses. Some courts offer records via the Internet—look up that county court website and check its procedures. If you want records from a county court that is in another state, and that court doesn’t offer online services, consider hiring a private investigator in that county to help you.

Smart Advice A: Don’t spend money on those Internet ads that promise nationwide criminal records for $19.95—there is no national repository of criminal records, just a hit-and-miss of records from random courts. Accurate, relevant criminal records are maintained in county courts.

Smart Advice B: If you already know you have a criminal record, be forthright about in on the job application. It’s better to be honest than have an employer learn you tried to hide a criminal record—an employer can refuse to hire you for being dishonest from the get-go. Instead, be open about the record, discuss the circumstances briefly and professionally, and then focus on your interest and applicable skills for the job.

Tip #2: Check your own driver’s history. Many Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices offer such records online, so you can most likely do this quickly and easily at your own computer. As with criminal records, you’ll need to request driver’s history records from whatever states you’ve lived in. Your driver’s license information, and other identifying information, will be requested. Especially if the jobs you’re interested in require you to drive a vehicle, even for random business errands, you’ll want to know what’s in your driver’s history. Driver’s history reports include information such as tickets, accidents, driving under the influence (DUI), possession of drugs, failures to show up in court on driving charges, warrants.

Smart Advice: Many employers request driver’s history reports as part of the employment background check. If the job you’re interviewing for involves driving a vehicle for company business, and you’re aware of information in your driver’s history that puts you in a negative light, it’s better to be forthright than to purposefully hide the information. Everybody makes mistakes. Most employers respect a person being honest—after all, that’s one of the characteristics they’re seeking in their employees.

Tip #3: Be honest about your education credentials. Employers don’t always request a verification of an applicant’s educational history, but they typically will for professional and managerial positions. A background check will verify the quality of any listed education institutions on the job application, any degrees, attendance and graduation dates, and sometimes grade point averages (GPAs), although some educational institutions don’t release GPAs. A similar verification will be done on any relevant licenses and certifications, including a check of current status, renewal and expiration dates, and a search for any disciplinary actions.

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Any use of the content requires specific, written authority. Please do not copy or distribute any images unless they are noted as being in the public domain, thank you.

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One Response to “Employment Background Checks: Know What’s on Yours BEFORE the Interview”

  1. Ines said

    great publish, very informative. I’m wondering why the opposite experts of this sector don’t
    understand this. You must continue your writing. I’m confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

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