Having a clean rap sheet isn’t what it used to be.
These days, employment screenings are not a simple matter of checking for a criminal history or even with previous employers, as Reddit users discussed in this recent popular thread about background checks. “Employers want no surprises,” said Steve Langerud, workplace consultant and principal of Steve Langerud & Associates in Grinnell, Iowa.
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Nearly three-quarters of employers say they perform a background check on every new employee, according to a 2016 survey from career website CareerBuilder. But a criminal check is just one of the many things employers are looking for today. Here are some of the other ways employers snoop:
Looking for a criminal history is just the start
As many Reddit users commented, what employers look for in a background check (and how extensively they do so) depends on the job. Some examples:
- Anyone working with children will be screened through the sex offender registry.
- Employers will pull up a credit history for prospective hires who may handle finances.
- If the job requires driving a vehicle, the firm will look into speeding tickets and accidents.
Similarly, higher-level jobs or positions that require specialized training often necessitate a more thorough screening. “Any executive position should be subject to more stringent testing than a basic minimum-wage employee,” one user wrote. For instance, a hospital may confirm that a doctor has received certification in their specialty.
Some background checks take weeks and involve multiple sources
On average, background checks take between 24 and 72 business hours to complete, according to a March report from CareerBuilder. But as the Reddit thread showed, there are many reasons why a check can take well over a week.
A common misconception, according to background screening firm HireRight, is that background checks are performed through a single, central database. Reddit users noted that this is sometimes true for simple, rudimentary screenings, but more thorough ones will require going through multiple sources for information.
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In particular, how to access criminal records varies from state to state and even county to county in some states. As a result, an employer (or the background check service it hires) may have to go to a courthouse to complete this part of the process, potentially making the process take longer.
Just because your old employer went bust doesn’t mean they won’t be contacted
People who perform background checks are used to dead ends like these. “If the company closed, you’re still not safe,” one commenter wrote. “I will look up who owned the McDonald’s franchise that closed, cross check the property address, use the White Pages to find the previous owner, and call them at home and ask about you.”
Same goes for schools. Colleges that go defunct are required to make student records accessible, another user said, and will often allocate funds for another institution to maintain them.
Scanning Facebook and Google don’t count as due diligence like a traditional background check, and doing so is actually looked down upon by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because it can reveal discriminatory information such as sexual orientation or religion.
Yes, your online footprint and social media could be a deal-breaker
Indeed, one user involved with hiring said that a person’s Facebook
page has been the deciding factor when it comes to a job offer on multiple occasions. “Think twice before posting certain pics or “liking” certain groups,” they wrote.
Something few people realize: Job applicants should be aware of what comes up when their name or email is put into a search engine. “That is sometimes more damaging than the background report,” one user commented.
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That said, employers may want to think twice about including these results in a background screening. Scanning Facebook and Google
don’t count as due diligence like a traditional background check, according to job website Glassdoor, and doing so is actually looked down upon by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because it can reveal discriminatory information such as sexual orientation or religion.
Lying can be worse than committing a crime
Candidates who make little white lies on their resumes aren’t alone — a survey from HireRight released in April found that 85% of professionals involved in hiring uncovered a lie or misrepresentation on a candidate’s resume or job application during the screening process. But doing this is a huge risk. The potential repercussions of lying in the application process are obvious, though. At best, it slows down the hiring process, and at worst it can cost an applicant the job.
Do you have a criminal record? Don’t worry. Across the country, 28 states and more than 150 cities and counties have approved so-called “ban-the-box” policies that prevent employers from asking about criminal histories before making a job offer, according to the National Employment Law Project. And the EEOC says that a criminal record alone is not reason enough to withhold employment: Employers must consider what crime was committed, how long ago it occurred, whether the sentence was completed and whether it relates to the nature of the job.
Records can be inaccurate
Information in databases can be wrong. One user noted that information about their twin erroneously appeared on their background check. As HireRight notes, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires employers give candidates an opportunity to correct or to clarify information pulled in a background check if those details may result in them not receiving an offer.
Employees aren’t the only ones adversely affected by bad information gathered through a background check. The CareerBuilder survey noted that 29% of firms say situations like these have led to a bad hire.
View more information: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/looking-for-a-job-brace-yourself-for-very-invasive-background-checks-2017-06-28