About 96% of employers perform background checks on new hires to control risk. Companies not only want to ensure jobseekers are honest about their backgrounds and certifications, but that their employees and customers are safe from harm. Here are the most common types of background checks, how long they’re good for, and what companies are looking for.
Criminal background checks include felony and misdemeanor criminal convictions, and any pending criminal cases. Criminal convictions will show up on a background check regardless of how long ago the conviction was. What’s in a criminal record depends on the state where you live; convictions are always listed, and arrests without convictions may show up for up to 7 years.
Depending on how the offense intersects with the job you’re applying for - employers may be concerned with violent crimes, fiduciary crimes, larceny, DUI convictions, or sex-based crimes.
If you do have a conviction, tell your interviewer ahead of time, and offer to explain circumstances that may alleviate concern.
Make sure your application and resume accurately reflect dates, duties, and titles of previous positions. Employers typically look at a 10- to 15-year history and will verify this information during a background check.
Similarly, reporting graduation or completion of academic milestones like a GED, high school, or college diploma should be accurate. Certifications, technical programs, and apprenticeships can be validated through the issuing organization.
Particularly now, with identity theft, companies want to ensure they’re hiring who they think they’re hiring. Identity checks can also verify work authorizations.
Employers look at credit scores especially when the job entails handling money or customer accounts. Credit histories typically go back 7 years and some employers will overlook medical bills that appear on a credit report.
While most companies perform pre-hire background checks, some will conduct checks every 2 to 5 years if you remain employed with them.