Essential Things Job Applicants Need to Know About Background ChecksPosted on: January 5, 2017 by Gavin Muirhead
It is becoming more and more common for employers to request a background check to be run on job applicants before moving forward in the hiring process. This is extremely common for jobs in an industry that is comprised of handling people’s personal or health related information, however it is becoming a norm for background checks to be run for many other employment opportunities as well. As an applicant, there are a few things that you may want and need to know about the background checks that employers run on you.
- So long as an employer is not asking you about your medical or genetic information and history, it is not illegal for them to ask you questions about your background or to require a background check. These can include questions on your employment history, education, criminal records, your financial history, and even your use of social media. However, if you are offered the job, that is when an employer can then ask you for your medical information, as that information may be pertinent to the requirements of the job. Another thing to consider is that an employer must treat you the same as they would anyone else when asking these questions regarding your background. They are not allowed to ask for extra background information because you are of a certain race or ethnicity. If you do believe that this is the case, or if an employer asks inappropriate questions in terms of medical or genetic information, you can contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to report the instance.
- The two most common background reports that are requested are credit reports and criminal background reports. Before any type of check can be run, an employer has to obtain your written permission allowing them to run a background report on you. Your written permission is not required, however, denying the permission may mean that the employer will reject your application.
- If an employer decides that they don’t want to hire you because of something in the report, they are required to give you a copy of the report and a “notice of rights” that contains information on how to contact the company that made the report. Sometimes these companies may provide inaccurate information, and if there is a mistake you need to contact the background check company and potential employer to notify them of the mistake.
- However, if there is in fact something negative that is found through a background check, you should be prepared to explain it and explain why it will not affect your ability to perform at the job you applied for. This can be if the problem was due to a medical condition or anything that may cause the employer to question your ability to do the job. It is legal for an employer to not hire you or retain you for the job because of certain information found in a background report. It is illegal for an employer to do this when there are different background requirements based off of your age, race, ethnicity, religion, etc.
- It is incredibly important to be as honest and forthcoming about your background information as possible. This alone will help create a good relationship and reputation for you in the eyes of the employer. This means to not lie about any degrees or diplomas you may or may not have, as well as previous dates of employment and you should also be forthcoming about any criminal history that you may have because having a criminal history does not automatically disqualify you from receiving the job position but for an employer to learn of it from a background check company and not directly from you may not look good. Many employers are also much more willing to look at the circumstances of the crime after you explain it rather than just the crime alone.
- There are “ban the box” laws that in many instances prohibit any inquiries about criminal history on job applications and also prevent the usage of a background check until the final stages of hiring an applicant. Many times, a background check will also be run if you are receiving a promotion or transferring from one job classification to another with different job requirements.