Career Woman

How to prepare for a background check when applying for a job 


An employment study showed that 53% of all job applications contained information that was not accurate. This means 1 out of every 2 people you are up against for a job could be lying about details on their application. How can you avoid being labeled as one of these people? Where can you stand out and prove that you are fit for the position? When is a good time to share anything that may come up in their background search for you? Keep reading to learn how to prepare for a background check:

Don’t Lie

This is very important because it sets the tone for the rest of the process. If you know something may show up on your background check that negatively impacts your chances of getting the position, it is important to get ahead of it. Informing the hiring team of the issue prior to them finding it can go a long way. This will prove that you are honest and are not trying to hide anything about your past. Doing this also demonstrates that you have the ability to take responsibility for your actions. Every employer looks to hire employees that won’t blame issues in the workplace on other people and be transparent about what needs to be done. 

Do a Social Media Audit 

While social media has helped people get certain jobs in some industries, it has also proved to be a large reason why some people don’t get hired for a position. You have heard the saying that a picture is worth 1,000 words and this metaphor is very true for the items on your social media account. If there is anything on there that can be taken in a negative or offensive way, it should be deleted before you apply for the job. Most employers have rules about what they will tolerate from their employees on social media and your profiles should mirror this when you are preparing for the interview. Look at each photo and post from the lens of a hiring manager and ask yourself if you would hire the person in that picture or the one writing those things. If the answer is no, it needs to go. As a general rule, you should not put things on your social profiles that you would not want a future employer to see. 

Educate Yourself on What a Background Check Looks for 

Similar to taking a test, it is important to familiarize yourself with the material that may be uncovered by this quick background check. Knowing this will help you prepare for the follow-up questions that the employer may have about the details. As previously mentioned, over half of your competition for this position is likely to lie on a portion of their application. You must find out what the employer wants to know that cannot be found on your resume or application. Familiarizing yourself with your past is important because you want to be able to answer questions about 5 years ago as easily as you can answer questions about 5 minutes ago.

Keep in mind that the background check is not a tool that is out to get you in any way. This is simply a way for employers to learn about your past and not everyone will be upfront and honest about the potential trouble they have been in. You can even conduct a background check tool for personal use (using a service like to see what an official employment test is likely to uncover. These tools scan many of the same databases that your prospective employers check will and are available for you to check immediately.

Create a New Resume

Chances are high that you have a word document on your computer that you update only when applying for a new job. Due to this, your resume could be outdated and contain errors. It is important to create a new resume and double check that all of the information is correct. Drafting a new document will allow you to add your most relevant experience and either delete or shorten the stuff that is not as relevant. Being clear and concise throughout the document is important for the person reading the resume. While it can be tempting to exaggerate your previous job responsibilities, stick to what you actually did. It won’t take long for your previous employers to share what your work was like and you want to make sure it matches when they call on your references. Creating a new resume takes time and effort. This helps you determine if the position you are applying for is really something that you want. Being honest in the creation of your new resume can help all of the details be accurate for any checks into your past.

Get Started Today

Now that you have read more about how to prepare for a background check, you can get started today. Doing a self-audit when applying for a job is always a good idea for both you and your preparation for your interview with your future employer. Check out our website for more helpful articles like this one!


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