Repair These Common Background Check Flaws to Avoid Costing Yourself a JobPosted on: January 5, 2022 by Gavin Muirhead
Chances are if you’ve ever applied for a job, you’ve agreed to having a background check conducted. Most hiring processes include some form of pre-employment screening as a measure to protect their assets and other employees. About 70 percent of U.S. employers conduct background checks. Unfortunately, shoddy companies will regularly exploit the lack of industry regulation by over-charging for sloppy reports, costing individuals their employment, or credit.
If this has ever happened to you, or you want to avoid it in the future, get familiar with the common flaws found in background checks, and what steps you can take to correct and dispute them.
Why are Mistakes so Common?
Agencies providing background check services are not regulated. Therefore, there are very few barriers to starting a screening business. Without a proper licensing or registration process, the industry has become overrun with below-standard service providers, reporting false and inaccurate information that could potentially block someone from reaching their goals. It’s important for employers to use a reputable company.
Common Background Check Flaws to Look Out For
Although there is a small chance that a case of identity theft is the reason your background check comes back looking suspicious, the most likely reason you will fail the screening is a file mix-up or administrative error. Here are the most common ways mistakes are made:
- Misinformation Caused by Human Error or an Administrative Mistake: Honest mistakes happen all the time when humans are managing data. Given the large amount of basic information associated with your person (name, birthdate, Social Security Number, etc.), it’s no surprise that something could easily get misreported.
- Mistaken Identity due to Having a Common Name: If you know you have a common name, it’s best to provide additional information, such as your SSN, when the background check is requested. Otherwise, you risk someone else’s record being pulled and provided to your potential employer, leaving you with some explaining to do.
- Inaccurate Criminal Record: Similar to the basic administrative errors, your criminal record might have mislabeled offenses or a false repetition, or be omitting crucial details like a pardon or dropped charges.
- Inappropriate information: There is certain information that employers are not privy to, even in a background check. If something was sealed, expunged, or simply should not be presented on a screening due to being outdated, this can also cause your background check to report unfavourable findings, despite not being relevant today.
Consequences of a Flawed Background Check
In addition to costing you a job, line of credit, or buying a home, a flawed background check can gravely damage your reputation. Due to a common name error, if your background check states that you are a on the sex offender registry when in reality you are not, this can be socially crippling.
Even if you know for certain that there is a disputable and explainable error on your background check, the time it takes to correct it properly is a long process and you may end up still losing the job you were applying for.
How You Can Avoid Costing a Job
Ask for a copy of your report, and read it carefully
You are entitled to receive a copy of any background check being provided to a potential employer. Once you’ve received your copy, scan it very closely and make note of any (there may be multiple) mistakes or inaccuracies.
Contact the source of the mistake
Although it is time-consuming and stressful, it’s important to correct the misinformation on your record for your future opportunities. When an error is presented on a screening report, it’s source is usually the agency responsible for reporting your data, not the employment screening company itself. Depending on the nature of the error, contact the appropriate agency and get right to the source of the problem. This may mean contacting the lender or agencies responsible for your credit, driving, military, criminal, and education history.
Dispute the error with the background check company
Once you’ve contacted the source lender or agencies and ensured that your data is correct, it’s time to consider disputing the report with the service provider. If you’ve ever disputed a credit report, you will already be familiar with the process. In addition to contacting the company by phone, you should fill out whatever dispute form they provide on their website, as well as write to them in order to securely document the dispute. Within 30 days of the dispute, the company has to complete their investigation and verify the information in the report. Once the report is revised, you can request that the company resend the updated copy to potential or even past employers.
If the flawed report caused serious harm to your livelihood or reputation, you also have the right to sue the background check company.
Speak with your employer
Once you’ve properly identified all of the flaws in your report and begun the process of disputing them, discuss it with your new employer. Although they are not obligated to hold your position for you while you navigate the process of disputing, they may choose to if they are really interested in hiring you. Background check flaws are very common, and they may sympathize with you while you get it sorted out.
Affordable Background Checks: Guaranteed Accuracy
At Affordable Background Checks, we offer complete and extensive background checks at the most affordable price while also maintaining the highest quality results. Our massive database helps employers find the results they’re looking for with guaranteed accuracy. Our high standard ensures that the employer and employee are both satisfied and protected.