What shows up on a background check?

The background check reveals plenty of information about an individual, whether they’re proud to show it off or want it hidden forever. The type of content disclosed depends on the check performed, as different verifications will highlight various components. It’s also essential to confirm the information in your file on occasion. The best way to verify your details? Perform a background check on yourself to find out what others are seeing.

The Basic Components of a background check

Criminal background information

Almost all background checks, regardless of type, will include a criminal history check. These details are confirmed by cross-referencing the social security number and name on file against the various databases. All felony and misdemeanor charges are shown, including any pending cases against you. Likewise, any time spent incarcerated as an adult is included in the report. For some background checks, charges, as well as convictions, will appear on the file. These can include charges, arrests, and other fines set by the court. Most files will consist of a complete listing of criminal charges attached to the personal information. This means the charge from 15 years ago will still show on your file unless you’ve paid to have it expunged.

The only exception to this rule is the statute barring criminal information be shared after seven years. This rule only applies to those states forbidding disclosure; Washington, New York, New Hampshire, Montana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Kansas, and California follow this rule. As such, any records older than seven years don’t appear on your background check.

Do juvenile convictions show?

Any records that the courts have sealed will not appear on your record. This means criminal charges or convictions that have happened before the age of 17 will not show on a person’s record.

Financial background information

Although a complete financial workup may not be necessary for your position, it may provide insight into the type of person they’re hiring. Any situation involving finances (including bank teller, accountant, or account manager) will always include a thorough review of your financial section. This will include a review of your current credit check. Your background check will consist of any financial accounts currently in your name, including bank accounts, credit cards, lines of credit, or loans.

This category will also show all past due accounts, collection activity, balances on your current credit accounts. If you’ve filed bankruptcy within the last ten years, it will likely appear on the credit check as well. Any employer looking to fill a financial role wants to know that their employees can handle the job correctly. If you’ve got a history of late payments, overdue balances, or collection accounts, financial positions may not be achievable until that changes.

Personal Information Verification

This includes your name, mailing address, phone number, past identities, social security number, and anything connected with your personal information. You’ll want to make sure this information is reporting correctly to avoid any concerns down the road. Driving records and any vehicle registrations are included in this document as well.

Work History and Previous Employment

This section of your background check relates to any employment you’ve held. These details include the start and end dates, titles within the job, the salary, and occasionally, the reason for leaving. A potential employer will want to verify your resume against your employment history to confirm accuracy. Some states do prevent background checks from disclosing your previous salary and prevent future employers from asking about them.

If you have any gaps within your employment, explain them to your potential employer during the interview. You don’t have to go into detail about why you weren’t working, but there’s a massive difference in how an employer will see you if you “didn’t feel like working” versus “had back surgery to correct my spine.”

Social Media Accounts

One of the newer components to background checks, social media accounts are often disclosed in the file. Although not all companies will include this information in a typical scan, some will consist of the profile, account name (or username), and any photographs attached to the profile. Be warned – this can include dating profiles, although this likely does not influence your job application.

Driving Abstract and Records

This category will typically influence employers looking to hire a driver for their company. Any previous tickets or charges you’ve received, DUIs, fines, or parking tickets are likely going to appear within this section of the background check. This category is essential for companies looking to hire forklift drivers, personal drivers, truck drivers, or similar delivery services. This will likely not influence a job application unrelated to driving, although a history of DUIs (driving under the influence) can showcase potential flags to new employers.

Do Employers Have to Tell Me Why They’re Refusing My Application?

If an employer decides not to hire you because of the background report, they must notify you. You’ll receive a “pre-adverse action disclosure” along with a copy of the consumer report. This letter will include the contact information of the employment screening used. It should also include all required information about your rights to dispute the report.

If the information is incorrect, you can dispute the report. You can correct any information that is falsely reporting on your report, although an employer does not have to hold a job or position for you while you do this. Should you be declined repeatedly for jobs or rental properties, checking your report should be the first step.

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