You applied for the job, nailed the interview, and are closer than ever to your dream career. All that stands between you and the new position is a simple background check. However, this portion of the application process might make you anxious.
Whether you have an arrest record or simply don’t know what to expect, you could be feeling nervous about what your employer will discover. Fortunately, you can run a background check on yourself earlier in the process to ease your nerves and help you feel more prepared.
The following guide will break down what employers look for in a background check and why an at-home screening may be beneficial to you.
What Do Employers Look For in a Background Check?
Before you use a background check website to screen yourself, it’s important to know what employers will look for. Whether you are applying through a top-rated engineering temp agency or a paper application at a restaurant, the hiring manager might check the following areas.
Work & Education
The employer will use a background check to confirm your work and education history. If you need to have a certain degree to apply for the job, they will ensure that you attended the university that you said you did. They may also check your former places of employment and call for references. This is also a key way for an employer to confirm your identity, as the name on your application should match the name listed at universities and places of employment.
A criminal check is a standard part of most background screenings, so many employers will take a look at any criminal history you may have. However, keep in mind that most states have restrictions on what they can consider. For example, some states allow hiring managers to look back only for five years and only take felonies into consideration. Recent “ban the box” laws also place limits on if and when employers can inquire about criminal records.
Credit checks are a standard part of most background screenings. However, you might not always need to worry if your credit score dropped recently since it’s not always relevant to the job. If you work in financial services, your employer may be concerned about a history of bankruptcy or a poor overall credit report. They want to know that you can handle your own money if you will be dealing with the company’s money.
What Are The Benefits of Running a Check on Yourself?
Now that you know what employers might look for in your background check, you might be motivated to screen yourself. While you don’t have access to the same technology as large companies, you can learn the basics of what might come up in your history. The following are just some of the benefits of doing so.
Know What to Expect
Even if you know you have nothing to worry about, it may give you extra peace of mind to have a clearer picture of your background. When you run a background check on yourself, you know generally what your employer will see and what red flags may come up. You might find that everything looks as you expected. Then you can apply for jobs without worrying.
Prepare to Be Open
It’s always best to be open if you have something on your background check that an employer might worry about. You likely know if an arrest record or bankruptcy will show up in a screening, but you can learn exactly what this history looks like online. When you are prepared with this information, you can be clear with an employer about what they may find. The opportunity to explain your situation might earn you the job.
Find False Information
The internet is complicated and full of information, so there’s a chance that there could be false points on your background check. It’s best to manage your own reputation and search for these falsehoods before you apply for jobs. If you find false information about yourself online, be honest with your employer and present evidence. They may appreciate you being proactive.
Applying for jobs can be stressful. Not knowing what’s on your background check can make it even more so. Fortunately, online programs allow you to search your name and get a basic idea of your online history. With such tools, you can get one step ahead as you seek a new position.