One common part of the hiring process that freaks many job applicants out is the background check. Are they going to call your high school teachers to find out about the time you copied off your best friend’s homework or reach out to your college and learn about the time you passed out at a college party? Fortunately for most applicants, this is not the way modern background checks work.
Most people are not completely clear about what types of information is gathered as part of a full background check. In most cases, a full background check entails an examination of publicly available records such as educational transcripts, employment history, and driving records. This allows a potential employer to figure out how reliable you have been in several areas of your life.
A credit check is one staple of the full background check that almost all employers run before making an offer of employment. While you don’t have to have perfect credit, a higher score does indicate to employers that you have been fiscally responsible. If you have an unusual circumstance that has negatively impacted your credit, it is probably better to be upfront about that on your application rather than let potential employers wonder if you can be trusted with the company credit card.
Of course, in our digital times, no background check is complete without a check of social media accounts. A good rule of thumb is not to post anything that would be a problem if it were shared with your boss, current or prospective. This means that you may want to save all your edgy political takes, off-color jokes, and semi-nude photos for direct share with close friends and family offline. Before applying for a job, be sure to review your social media accounts so your carefree life as an online influencer won’t derail your chances at the job of your dreams.
You can be sure that a potential employer will be checking to see if you have a criminal record. If you have some youthful (or even adult) indiscretions that led to you having a criminal record, you need to disclose that upfront and explain how it helped to shape you into a better version of yourself. If you can help employers see how your brief walk on the wrong side of law helped to make you the hardworking employee you are today, you may be able to turn background check lemons into employment lemonade.
While it is nerve-wracking to imagine someone digging around in your past looking for reasons not to hire you, the truth is, if an employer is spending money to run a background check, you have already been deemed as an appealing potential hire. Instead of anxiously waiting to find out if you passed, proactively address any potential areas of concern and demonstrate to potential employers that you will be more of an asset than a liability.