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What Can Be Revealed in a Background Check? Find Out Now

Before you kick off a new job, your future employer might ask you to go through a screening process. One key step in this process is a background check, where they dig into your record to make sure you’re the right fit for the gig. In this article, we’ll dive into what might pop up in a background check, so you can be ready for your next screening.

What Is a Background Check?

A background check is a typical step in the hiring process where employers dig into a candidate’s past to ensure they’re a good match for the company’s vibe and rules. While employers might also check out references and recommendations, a background check gives them a deeper dive into who you are. Some companies handle their own background checks, while others bring in outside firms to do the sleuthing.

Why Do Employers Use Background Checks?

Employers rely on background checks to confirm you’re the real deal. Sure, you might say all the right things on your application, but some employers need solid proof to trust you – for safety, qualifications, and to make sure you’re genuine. Take, for example, a company looking for top-notch talent – they wanna be sure you’re legit about your skills. Background checks are super crucial, especially in industries where trust is a big deal, like when employees handle sensitive info or valuable assets.

While background checks are needed across various industries, you’ll typically find them used most often in the following sectors:

Background checks are a standard part of the hiring process in many industries, but they’re particularly common in:

  • Education: for teachers, administrators, and professors
  • Home contractors: including electricians, plumbers, and construction workers
  • Financial services: for real estate professionals, accountants, bankers, insurance professionals, and financial planners
  • Public service: such as administration roles, police officers, and corrections officers

What Can Be Revealed in a Background Check?

The following items can show up in a background check:

Credit Report

While not every job requires it, employers hiring folks who’ll be dealing with company finances might take a peek at your credit report. This gives them insight into how you manage money – they can see how many accounts you’ve got with lenders and whether you’ve had any bankruptcies. It’s all about finding someone who’s on top of their finances, so they might use this info to suss out if you’ve got a mountain of debt or any red flags with spending.

Identity Verification

To run a background check, employers typically request your social security number. Using this, they dive into databases to verify that the number matches up with your identity. They can also see where else you’ve used your social security number in the past. Plus, this helps them confirm if the address you’ve given them is accurate. So, before you start applying for jobs, it’s a good idea to double-check that the address on your driver’s license or ID matches where you’re currently living.

Criminal Records

An employer can find out about any past run-ins with the law through a background check. This includes things like pending charges, misdemeanors, felonies, and even charges that got dismissed or you were found not guilty for. This info is crucial for companies worried about any legal risks. Before they do the check, they might ask you to fill out a form detailing any past or current charges you’ve got on your plate.

Driving Record

When you’re applying for a job that involves operating big rigs or company vehicles, your driving record might get a once-over. Think truck drivers, school bus drivers, or city bus drivers – those kinds of gigs. They’ll check out if you’ve had any accidents or gotten any tickets in the past. It’s all about making sure they can trust you to follow the rules of the road when you’re on the clock for the company.

Education History

When an employer wants to make sure candidates have the right educational background, they might dig into whether applicants are being honest about their degrees. Having your academic transcripts or diplomas handy can speed up this process for your potential new boss. And if you’ve hopped around between schools, it’s a good idea to fill them in on any transfers or changes.

Work History

A background check can back up your claims about your work history. A common move by employers is to reach out to your old workplaces directly. They want to make sure the details you gave on your application line up with what your previous employer remembers.

 If you ever need to jog your memory about your work history, you can always peek at your old tax forms for accurate dates. And it’s handy to keep a master copy of your resume with all your work experience listed – it can really come in handy.

Other Methods of Pre-employment Screening

Here are a few more ways employers size up candidates before making that official job offer:

Phone Interview

To save time, hiring managers often do phone interviews to vet candidates. Instead of bringing you in right off the bat, they’ll have quick phone chats with a bunch of folks to see who’s worth bringing in for a closer look. During these initial interviews, they might ask you basic stuff about yourself and why you’re interested in their gig. So, if you’re gearing up for a phone interview, here are some questions to get ready for:

  • Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
  • How do you think your last boss would describe you?
  • What’s drawn you to this job?
  • Why do you think we should pick you for the role?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What would you say are your strong points?
  • And what about areas you’re still working on?
  • Any big plans for your career?
  • How about salary expectations?
  • Got any questions for me?

Pre-employment Testing

To gauge how capable candidates are, employers often throw a series of questions their way. These tests give them a peek into your skills and how well you handle different projects or tasks. Here are a few typical tests you might run into during your job hunt:

Here are some tests you might come across during your job search:

  • Job knowledge: Employers want to see if you’ve got the know-how for the gig you’re gunning for.
  • Physical ability tests: These give employers a sense of whether you’ve got the muscle and stamina for hands-on jobs.
  • Personality tests: Companies use these to suss out if your personality vibes with their vibe.
  • Emotional intelligence tests: These gauge your knack for building relationships and handling your feelings.
  • Cognitive ability tests: Employers use these to see if you’ve got the brainpower for tasks that need serious thinking.
  • Integrity tests: These test your trustworthiness and honesty, crucial for roles handling company cash or secrets.
  • Skills assessment tests: They help employers see if you’ve got what it takes to do the job right.


Employers might want you to give them a few names of folks who can speak to your character, both professionally and personally. Having a solid list shows you’ve got good connections. And when they’re hunting for a diligent, top-notch worker, they might want to chat with your past boss or manager.

Social Media

Employers keen on safeguarding their brand’s image might give your name a spin on search engines or social media. So, when you’re posting online, keep it clean and professional. Make sure everything you share across your platforms is respectful and on point.

Drug Test

A drug test gives employers a heads-up on whether you’ve been using any illegal or banned substances lately. You’ll find industries like healthcare, education, automotive, manufacturing, government, and private security usually running these tests. Here are some of the most common ones they use:

  • Pee tests
  • Spit tests
  • Blood tests
  • Hair follicle tests
  • Sweat tests
  • Breathalyzer tests

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