What does a background check look for

Information uncovered in employment background checks is highly sensitive and subject to strict privacy-protection regulations.

Employment Background Checks

The sharing and retention of this information also may be subject to additional state and local guidelines. Nearly all background checks include a criminal-history check, based on information supplied by the candidate, including their Social Security number. These checks will reveal felony and misdemeanor criminal convictions, any pending criminal cases, and any history of incarceration as an adult. Arrests pending prosecution may also be reported.

The Complete Guide to Background Checks

Arrests that did not lead to convictions may appear in some background checks; GoodHire excludes them in its screenings to conform to EEOC guidelines. Records of juvenile convictions and detention that have been sealed by a court typically do not appear in such a search, but all other criminal convictions may appear, unless they occurred in a state that forbids disclosure of convictions after a certain period of time. Hawaii forbids disclosure of convictions after 10 years. Learn more about your state's specific background check laws.


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Pre-employment background checks typically include criminal-background checks, plus verification of information on past employment, education, and professional licenses. Employers may also require applicants to submit to drug testing as part of the pre-employment screening process. The advantage of a fingerprint search is certainty that all records associated with a given set of prints belong to the individual in question.

The precise nature of a fingerprint search can vary, depending on the type of information requested by the employer and the databases used by the screening company. Often used to screen candidates for jobs with federal government agencies and companies that work with and for them, an FBI-level background check uncovers any and every interaction a candidate may have had with law enforcement agencies that provide their criminal data to the FBI database.

In addition to convictions, this may include arrests even those that did not lead to indictment or conviction ; traffic violations; and even parking tickets. The IACIS database links personal data to fingerprints collected in both criminal and non-criminal matters. Fingerprints are also checked against the National Crime Information Center NCIC database, a huge compilation of criminal-history information and data on wanted criminals; and against databases of sex offenders and terrorists.

Passing an FBI background check is not the same as obtaining a security clearance. A background check may be a first step in the process, but security clearance typically involves a much more extensive research, including interviews with the subject and others who know him or her well. A Level 2 background check is a specialized type of fingerprint background check typically performed on candidates for jobs that involve working with vulnerable persons, such as children, people with disabilities, and seniors.

Level 2 checks are also often required for volunteer positions at schools, daycares, and senior centers as well as for paid personnel. You can order a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus e. If there is erroneous information which can happen , dispute it with the creditor to clear your name.

Be aware of the laws in your state regarding employment-related credit checks. Criminal Records. Some states don't allow questions about arrests or convictions beyond a certain point in your past, typically 10 years.

Other states only allow consideration of criminal history for certain positions such as jobs in the financial sector or working with children. Driving Record. Check your motor vehicle record by requesting a copy of your record from your state Department of Motor Vehicles.


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You may also be able to review your driving record online at the DMV website. If you have a history of traffic violations and you're interviewing for a job where a license is required, be prepared to answer questions about your driving record. Drug Testing. Testing is typically conducted after employees have been interviewed and the employer is ready to make offers. Legal statutes vary by state but generally require a uniform process for all candidates for similar jobs.

Frequently Asked Questions for Pre-Employment Background Screening

Candidates should educate themselves regarding the time that various substances can be detected in drug tests and seek help for any addiction issues. The decriminalization of marijuana in several states has resulted in a trend where some employers no longer test for marijuana use. However, it remains illegal in many states and under federal law. All applications and reports are kept on your employer dashboard so you can manage and refer to applications in once place.

Finding an honest, responsible and trustworthy employee is no simple task, but ShareAble for Hires makes it easier. Make faster, better-informed hiring decisions with ShareAble for Hires pre-employment screening services. She focuses on topics that empower small business owners through data, insights and industry best practices.

What are the laws surrounding employment background checks?

Boost profitability this November. Get small business tips and tricks and learn how to prep your company for Small Business Saturday. Learn key tips for reducing employee turnover. Keep your best hires with these employee retention strategies from ShareAble for Hires. A small business employee handbook is a reference document that covers company policies.

Learn what to include and how to create an employee handbook. Learn best practices for phone interviews. Discover the best questions to ask prospective employees and streamline your hiring process. Get new tips to tighten up your small business hiring methods and learn 5 ways to streamline your processes. Read now! Learn about the top qualities to look for in your next new hire. Find out the purpose and importance of conducting education checks. Background check costs for employment can vary widely depending on several factors and business screening needs. Find out more now! What does a background check show for pre-employment screening?

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What does a background check show for employment? What does a background check consist of? The most common pre-employment searches include: 1. Credit Report Credit reports are prepared by credit bureaus who collect information from a variety of sources. For example, credit card companies and financial institutions furnish data to credit bureaus, who in turn maintain records on consumers.

Although credit reporting agencies do not necessarily have identical information, the general categories of information that show on a background check include: Identifying Information Credit bureaus can provide identifying information such as name, date of birth, and address. Credit Inquiries.

Tradelines Tradelines show accounts established with lenders. It could include of the date the account was opened, the type of account opened mortgage, auto loan, credit card, etc. Public Records Credit reports may show previous bankruptcies. Various offenses which may be reported include: Current pending charges Misdemeanor convictions Felony convictions Acquitted charges Dismissed charges Employers should take caution when evaluating what shows up on this form of background check for employment.

Why does it matter what a background check shows?