What Does a Background Check Show?

What does a background check show? From financial records to criminal history to social media searches, here's exactly what to expect when a background check is requested.

Are you choosing a background check screening company and not sure which one to choose? The information that can appear in a background check largely depends on what company you choose and what information you’re looking for. What does a background check show, exactly? The answer is it depends. How far back does a background check go? It varies from state to state. Some records go as far as back as 10 years, some seven years and other states much shorter. Either way, these are the things that you can expect to see when you get a background check.

What Does a Background Check Show?

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A background screening will pull up whatever the employer is looking for specifically. The most basic of these checks include a basic criminal check, education history and employment history. But what does a background check show, or what information is shown and from how far back? The first steps are to know what kind of employer you have. From there, what actually shows on the check can vary.

Criminal Background History

On a criminal background check, you can expect to see any record of previous arrests, felonies, misdemeanors, court orders, warrants, sex offenses and any incarceration records. If any of these records apply to you, they will appear on your criminal background check. Keep in mind that under the Fair Credit Report Act, no civil suits or arrests will show up that are more than seven years old.

Your Employee History and Education

Many employers will routinely check the employment history of a prospective candidate. If you’re applying for a job, it’s important to be honest about your work history since this can be verified during the background check process.

Background checks can also look into your education history, verifying whatever educational history you put on your resume. Employers usually check work history by checking any references listed during the application process.

Sex Offender Registry

If you are applying to a position that involves working around children, you can expect for the background check to include a sex offender screening. This is acrucial part of working in education, medicince and other areas that are high risk. The sex offender registry is also publicly available, but it will show up on background checks.

Credit Report

While not common, some employers can check your credit history with your written permission. Under the Fair Credit Report Act, employers can only see information regarding bankruptcy, accounts in collections and any loan information you may have. Employers can never see your credit score.

Social Media

Nowadays your social media presence can say a lot about who you are. Employers usually check social media accounts to get a better idea of who you are and how you could fit into the work environment.

While this practice has its fair share of controversy, many companies do perform social media checks during screening. In some states, requiring social media checks is banned, but that doesn’t stop a prospective employer from doing a quick personal media search on the candidate. Companies can look for information regarding your beliefs and online conduct and how you may reflect the company’s image.

Driving Record, Licenses and Additional Records

Driving record information, if requested, is usually available for up to 10 years. The length of time depends on the state. Depending on what field you’re applying to, the driving record could be a make-or-break issue for the employer.

If you are applying for a position that requires licenses and specific skills, employers can request to check those during a background check. State and federal licenses can be verified by certain public and third-party background check companies. If you want to run a background check on yourself, look at these background check services. You can compare each one and see what is the best fit. The type of licenses, dates, and information on expiration on the licenses can all be verified.

All types of records can be requested, but there are different laws surrounding how much information can be shared and how old the information can be. The important thing to know is that no matter which industry you apply to, a background check is often a required and crucial part of the hiring process.