Background checks for employment--Anyone familiar with them?
I just got a job offer, contingent upon a background check.
I had to supply the company with my SS#, my DL# as well as authorize a 24 hour drug screen.
I don't have a problem with this, since I'm not a drug user of any kind, but I'm curious to know what a background check is all about. I know they don't run a consumer credit check because that was stated in the paperwork. I'm guessing they want to make sure I'm not a felon or on probation have multiple car accidents on my driving record, but that's just a guess. This isn't a position involving operating heavy machinery or a company vehicle, so I'm really curious.
Generally they should specificy what kind of background check they are doing, and you have every right to ask. I know when I was applying to gov't LE jobs (in Canada though), they had to specifically get signed consent for criminal record, credit check, driving record, etc.
Like Normandy said, it should say why and if not you can ask. This is becoming more popular among businesses as far as I can tell, especially depending on the kind of work you will be doing. My company did a background check because I deal with customers credit card and checking account information and my hubby's employer required one as well.
The one good thing about repeating your mistakes is that you know when to cringe.
There's a couple of different types of background checks. Obviously the driving record and credit check. But also child abuse clearances (shouldn't be needed for your type of work), criminal background check (for your state only) and then an FBI check (you'd need to go be fingerprinted for this).
I just authorized one on myself for the first time. I will have access to the company's credit card information, so the necessity of them checking me out makes sense. Apparently in CA you're allowed to get a free copy of your check, so I requested one! We'll see what it says...
Some companies are also checking Facebook and other social media sites also.
Some of the more public relations oriented companies (like Pro cheerleaders) check that, and bounce people with pictures that may be for modeling, but give the wrong image. Also, some jobs do check for all court filings including civil lawsuits.
There are some new laws out there regarding the legality of checking credit reports for employment purposes. Unless the job is in the financial sector and requires the candidate to demonstrate a clean credit history, most employers are no longer able to require a credit history from candidates.
They should have had you sign an authorization form that specifically outlines what they're checking and where you give them permission to run it.
We use ADP for Payroll services, but they have a division for background screening. Ours checks state & national arrest/conviction records, as well as sex offender and driving violations (state & national, as well).
Last edited by ChocoMare; Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:32 PM.
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Can't remember the details since it was a few years ago but I do remember it (background check) was quite a lengthy process: they took my finger prints, copy of my passport (wasn't a US citizen then), green card, and driver's license, all the places I have lived in the past ten years, SS#, transcripts, diploma (luckily they didn't ask for high school diploma, or I wouldn't know where to find it). Oh my job is desk job - not involved in any machinery or driving.
At my office, we do a minimal background check for felony convictions. That's it.
When I applied for a job in software elsewhere, they did a more comprehensive check including a credit check which I thought was ridiculous. I'm not sure what my credit has to do with my ability to do a job in which I have no access to company or customer funds. AND, I don't like the idea of having credit checks run because that in and of itself can ding your credit.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
A good friend of mine (Pharmacy Tech) is going through this right now, & it's like to Hell & back.
Separate Federal and Virginia State background checks, whatever those are.
Almost 10 years of back employment checks (which has been fun, since several of the places he worked at are no longer in business & some don't even remotely remember him). And these employment checks include him having to cough up W-2's. He's had to contact the IRS for some of these since some he simply no longer has anymore.
Every few days he e-mails me with additional nightmares re: this. I hope he gets the job, but geez, he's been working at the place via a temp agency for well over a year now. You'd think that would give the company some sort of inkling that he's most likely not a drug addict/serial killer, etc., etc.
I've had to have a background check done for when I was accepted to Nursing school. I also have to have another one done, and my fingerprints done, before I can take my board examination. As far as I know they are for criminal records, but other than that I am not positive.
Background check for my job was fingerprints. And a drug test. Can't remember otherwise as it was a long time ago. They also were very insistent that you account for all the time in your working career, employed or not.
i can't say that it made my coworkers model citizens though. Over the years we have terminated a fair number for theft. Stupid too, it's a well paying job.
I just found out that every time somebody pulls a credit report on you, your credit rating goes down.
It depends on whether it is a "hard pull" to see because they are applying for credit, or a "soft pull" which is just to check financial responsibility (ie, credit card offers, applying for insurance, employers checks). Too many hard pulls can drop a credit score. But soft pulls do not.
Thanks for the responses, I appreciate them. I'm in software sales, so I don't have access to sensitive information or financial information in any way shape or form. This is why I'm curious.
However, I recall the former CEO of Yahoo got ousted because he falsified his college degree on his resume. Perhaps his actions sparked the new trend!
If you are in software sales you will be exposed to your clients' confidential information, practices, secret and/or highly secure developments and projects in order to design, package, and bundle the proper architecture for them. So your employer has to have some assurance that you can be relied upon for upholding nondisclosure agreements, that you are not in financial distress, that you are not an embezzler, that you will not sell inside information or participate in corporate espionage, or disclose it because you are a flake. I suppose they also want to check with previous employers to assure themselves that you are generally a stable person and don't have offensive habits or traits that will offend customers -- not that a previous employer would really say much, although they can hint.
If your prospective employer will be responding to RFPs, especially from big companies or the government, they might want to showcase you as one of the team with a brief resume as part of their proposal. If that is the case, I am sure they want to be sure that when they include "Ms. Jenm, graduated Stanford University in 2005 with a B.S. in Computer Science, seven years' experience in software sales with IBM..." they want to be sure it's all true. No kidding what an embarrassment and professional black eye to have the kind of scandal you mentioned because they didn't check references!