Background Checking

The Insider's Guide To Job Search

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Background Checking

by Kevin T. Buckley, CPC



Background Checking – Truth or Consequences

You have the perfect experience, you know the industry and you have a strong recommendation from an inside manager in the company you want to join. What could go wrong?

Plenty, if you haven’t been truthful in all of the questions you answered on the application form. The Background Check is becoming more common and more thorough as security-conscious employers want to avoid hiring people with questionable or unacceptable items in their employment history.

If employees are discovered later to have criminal convictions or other serious issues, the company’s reputation and business may be affected. With US Homeland Security initiatives and the strict regulations associated with them, greater scrutiny is normal, and the consequences of lying or omitting information can be severe for the employer.

So what can you expect? The better background verification firms will investigate your employment record, including hiring manager references. In addition, there is often a Driver’s abstract check and Criminal check done for employees who are involved in the movement of freight across the border.

You may be asked to provide your social insurance or social security number as well to ensure that no one is using your number unlawfully for procuring a passport or other critical identification.

A credit check may be done to see if you would present a higher risk in a position of trust, or if you could potentially be bribed due to vulnerabilities in your financial affairs. You need to be proactive in verifying your own history.

Transunion and Equifax, the two major credit reporting agencies, frequently contain updated employer information. So, if you think you should leave an employer off your resume or list of past positions for whatever reasons, remember that even if you didn’t intend to deceive the potential employer by leaving out certain past employment, you may be perceived as hiding details of your employment history, and the position may then be offered to someone else.

To avoid surprises, obtain a copy of your credit history. The information in it may need updating. Past credit problems that you have since resolved, wrong contact info, and other details may be missing or incomplete. You owe it to yourself to know what your credit history contains.

To find out how to obtain credit history information:

Transunion: Equifax:

You may be able obtain a copy of your report online once you have passed their respective identity verification procedures.

Potential employers can verify credit/criminal information if they have obtained your written consent in the form of a release. This may be a separate form, or incorporated into the employment application. Once you have signed the release, the employer has the right to proceed to check those areas indicated in the text of the release agreement.

A conditional offer of employment may be made which means that if you pass the background check, a formal offer will be made to you. This is a way for the employer to indicate their intent to hire you while still having the option to rescind the conditional offer if you don’t pass their scrutiny.

Take steps to ensure that there are no surprises; don’t take chances with your credibility, ensure that you have verifiable, factual information in your credit file, and avoid unwanted and unforeseen consequences.

Background verification firms reviewed: Top 10



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