Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Background Checks

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you did it you nailed the interview you

gave them your a-game and they gave you

an offer

nice and then the recruiter casually

mentioned by the way the offer is

contingent on you passing a background

check for whatever reason start to worry

and wonder about all kinds of things

what are they going to look for how far

back are they going to look what do they

look for during a drug test will they

look at my Facebook and LinkedIn profile

what if I don't agree with the results

well we've got your answers right here


after the employer made you an offer you

should have been provided with the

disclosure that a background check was

going to be requested by your

prospective employer you signed an

authorization permitting them to look

into specific areas of your life using

the services of a consumer reporting

agency or CRA be aware that the employer

not the background check agency decides

what types of background checks will be

done also know that in the u.s. the Fair

Credit Reporting Act or FCRA

provides strict guidelines about how an

employer through a CRA or a background

check company can request a background

check the FCRA and state laws also

provide consumers rights as they pertain

to information contained in their

criminal and credit background reports

in general unlike what you may have seen

on TV or in the movies there isn't one

single source of information about you a

person with Swift computer skills

sitting in a dark room can't just pull

up everything about you within a few

keystrokes CRA S source information

through various means calling employers

and universities looking at public

records and even when required by

certain jurisdictions physically going

to courthouses to retrieve information


this process is usually completed within

a few days but can sometimes take two

weeks or more and is contingent on

return phone calls a courts public

records computer system functioning

properly and holidays if you've lived

worked or gone to school in multiple

states or overseas the process can take

longer based on higher writes recent

benchmark report which surveyed over

6000 HR professionals the most popular

types of background checks are criminal

or other public record searches

verifications of previous employment

and/or references identity education and

motor vehicle records if your job will

be in banking finance or any position

where you'll be handling money the

employer may have the CRA report your

credit history you may also be screened

for drug and alcohol use again what the

CRA checks is up to the employer so that

list may vary the CRA may search for

criminal records from local regional and

federal authorities how far back in

history they go is determined by the


or the state the FCRA in several states

restrict the reporting of non

convictions and other potentially

adverse information that occurred more

than seven years ago unless certain

exceptions are met with your consent the

CRA will contact the employers listed on

your application to verify the dates you

worked and the positions you held they

may also contact references you have

provided to ascertain performance and



the identity search verifies that you

have a validly issued ID and that your

name is assigned to that ID number the

search is performed through various

sources depending on the country where

your ID was issued you may be asked to

provide your driver's license or

passport the CRA will contact

educational or licensing institutions

you've listed to verify your course of

study and degrees earned they'll also

research any professional licenses to

ensure that they are all up-to-date if

your prospective employer deems them

necessary for the position if your role

involves driving your future employer

will likely check your motor vehicle

record or MVR this will be necessary in

order for them to insure you if you're

driving their vehicles if your future

employer requests a drug screen you'll

be asked to go to a collection site and

provide a sample of either urine saliva

blood or hair the drugs the lab will

screen for are dictated by your future

employer illicit drugs will show up

prescribed medication will as well if

you're asked about a prescription you

may need to provide proof of a

prescription from your doctor you can

request a copy of your background report

if misrepresentations or negative

elements in your background check are

revealed it's up to your future employer

to decide what to do with that


the CRA does not decide whether or not

you are hired nor does it make

recommendations if the negative aspects

of your report do indeed impact your

offer your prospective employer has a

legal obligation to inform you of the

potentially adverse action and give you

the opportunity to dispute the accuracy

or completeness of the findings directly

with the CRA within 30 days the CRA will

investigate the disputed information and

will notify you of the results this may

take up to 45 days if you provide

additional information to the CRA that

needs to be assessed should you still be

unsatisfied you have the option to

include a brief statement to rebut the


for a complete breakdown of each party's

obligations and your rights in the

background screening process read the

Fair Credit Reporting Act it's

understandable that the time during your

background screening can feel like limbo

but armed with proper information you

can know that what is found is done

fairly accurately and with your best

interest in mind now go out there and

get that job