Career Woman

How to prepare for an employment background check


It’s common to spend significant time preparing for an interview, but have you ever given thought to looking at yourself on background check sites?

These are more common in today’s information age, where considerable information can be accessed from the click of a button. It’s sensible to prepare for your employment background check, a move which will give you a much better chance of being hired.

The job application process can be stressful at the best of times, especially when you’re under pressure to find something suitable or face the consequences of being unemployed. There are many different stages of preparation, from writing cover letters to fine-tuning your resume.

Most people dedicate significant time to preparing for interviews, running through possible questions and preparing answers. However, this is only half the battle, where often an inability to prepare for background checks can leave interviewees dumbfounded and potentially out of work.

Background checks have become the norm, to help employers secure a safe, productive working environment. This means there’s another step in the employment process you must prepare for.

You’re probably wondering how to best prepare for an employment background check, especially when you consider most things are out of your control.

Here are some gems of advice you can absorb to make sure you’re prepared for an employment background check:

Run a criminal background check on yourself

You can never be 100% sure what your criminal record represents. Though you might consider it to be clean, there could be a niggling issue from 10 years ago which still shows up, or perhaps a minor offense which you thought had been written off.

Imagine thinking you know exactly what your prospective employer will see on your criminal check, to later find out they’ve seen something quite different. It’s best to know what will come up prior to your employer running the check, which is why it’s good to run a criminal background check on yourself in advance.

It’s important to do so for peace of mind, even if you’ve never been convicted of a crime and have no criminal record. Doing so is important for clarification, but also to ensure you don’t become a victim of miscataloging.

In some cases, your name could be confused with someone who has a criminal record, in which case you could wrongfully lose out on a position. By running a criminal check in advance you can spot any inaccuracies on your criminal record, or perhaps charges you were unaware of, prior to your employer seeing them.

Contact courts

If you run a background check and spot criminal history, which doesn’t add up, you should contact the courts to rectify the issue. Get on the phone to the courthouse in question and clarify any confusion. By politely explaining how certain information on your record is incorrect, any mishaps can be amended accordingly.

Sometimes a phone call will suffice, other times you might need to submit a written request or make an in-person appearance to get things rectified. It might be a temporary hassle, but it will all be worth it in the end, especially if you get something removed which purports an inaccurate reflection of your life.

Review your social media

Though not all employers will check your social media, some certainly will. It’s important to consider whether your Facebook and other profiles are employer-friendly. Recruiters certainly won’t take kindly to profane statuses, unprofessional pictures, complaints about work or anything which can be perceived in a negative light.

Even if you deem something to be appropriate, it’s important to consider how it could be taken out of context. Review your social profiles, and if you discover anything you wouldn’t want to come up in an interview, it’s probably best to either delete or restrict access.

Review your resume

Potential employers will dig a bit deeper to determine whether your educational and work history can be verified. If they detect information which doesn’t represent the truth, the chances are your application will fail.

Take a few minutes to ensure your resume is 100% accurate. If it is it will pass this part of the background check with flying colors. Things like lying about your qualifications, editing your employment dates, or making up a job title are big nos. Any level of fabrication is risky, where the truth is likely to come out eventually!

About Jill Wells'

Jill Wells is a business analyst specialising in research and advice on how to make the most of today’s changing business climate.

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