What employers can find out about you

Prospective employers cannot perform a background check without your written consent. And they usually won’t unless you’re the best fit for the job.

Liars, thieves, executives with bad news, drug addicts, etc. – employers really don’t want to hire trouble.

To cover their bases, many companies are recruiting third-party filtering companies for do a background check that goes far beyond checking your references and checking your employment history.

Legally, they must first obtain your consent. But once they start digging, they can find it all out from whether you have a penchant for drink driving to whether you have a hard time paying your bills on time.

Background reports can verify a number of things: criminal records, sexual offenses, privileges, judgments and bankruptcies, drug test results, as well as your education and income history.

And some articles in a background check are very specific to the job. For example, if you are applying to become a truck driver or salesperson, they can check your driving record to see if you have committed serious offenses, such as DUI, or if your Licence has never been revoked.

Do you want to work for the financial services industry? They can run your credit report. As requests for credit reports are on the decline – and some states now prohibit employers from using them altogether – federal guidelines allow employers to access credit reports as long as they have a “compelling business justification.” “.

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If the job you’re looking for is in law enforcement, they’ll ask for your fingerprints because it’s required by law, said Angela Preston, vice president of compliance at Employee IQ Screen. Screeners and labor law experts both note, however, that the FBI fingerprint database used to check your criminal record is neither complete nor always accurate.

Employers can also check that you don’t appear on any terrorist watch lists. While Publicly available, some private companies have compiled them in one place, kept them up to date and made them searchable, said Lester Rosen, CEO of Job Selection Resources.

So what if a potential employer finds something wrong with your background check?

First, they or they should send you a letter stating that something in your basic report is a red flag and they should attach a copy of the report of the third-party filter.

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The employer must then give you time to correct the file or explain the problem. How long? the Fair Credit Reports Act, which governs the handling of consumer reports, doesn’t say so, but the minimum is typically 5 days, unless an individual state demands more time, according to NAPBS.

In reality, however, this is probably not enough time to correct any disputed information in your report, said Paul Stephen, director of policy and advocacy at the Privacy rights clearinghouse.

And the employer can still decide that it is ultimately easier move on to another candidate.

If so, he should send you another letter – called an “adverse action” letter – stating that the decision not to hire you was based on something in your background check, and he should provide you with the details. contact details of the company that generated the report.

Want to get a feel for what employers might see about you? Stephen recommends asking for your own Lexis / Nexis Accurint Person Report, which is free.

There are of course other ways an employer can beat you: for example, by scanning social media. But employers learn that they can’t necessarily trust this information because they can’t verify it.

At one point, companies were actually asking applicants for their passwords on social media, said Christine Cunneen, board member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. But then some states, like Arkansas and New Mexico, have banned the practice and other states have law Project to do so, even if it is not prohibited at the federal level.

Employers looking to hire a C-suite candidate, on the other hand, can do a more in-depth search of court records, social media, and news stories to make sure they’re not embroiled in a divorce. a lawsuit or anything else that might attract negative publicity. .

The good news in all of this: If a company performs a background check, it usually means you’re a top candidate for the job. Companies usually only select the candidates they really want.

CNNMoney (New York) First published on Jan. 5, 2015: 6:03 p.m. ET

About Stefany Edmondson

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