Whether you are trying to get a job or looking to find a prospective home to rent, background checks can be a great tool for employers and landlords to determine if the you are in good lawful and financial standing. Making sure you can be trusted with their business’s inventory, equipment, and money or you have a history of not paying rent could save them time and money in the long run. But what exactly can a background check tell them?
One of the most common reasons a background check is done is to reveal a candidate’s criminal record. A person’s trustworthiness may be reflected by how long, or the contents of, their criminal record. They may check to see if you have fingerprints registered with the FBI or are on any terror watch lists. Depending on the job you are applying for or the home you are trying to rent, this could be a defining factor in whether you are successful. If there is something found on your criminal record that disqualifies you, you will be sent a letter with a copy of the report from a third party service.
If you are particularly looking for a job, a potential employer might consider gaps in employment an issue. Background checks can reveal those gaps in employment. The best way to avoid having this be an issue is to be as honest and accurate as possible with your work history. Your background check can also reveal whether or not you earned that degree you reported to have earned on your application or resume. The truth in having a degree can have a major impact on whether or not your employer considers you qualified for the job.
Another thing background checks can be used for is to obtain your credit history. This will allow employers or potential landlords how responsible you are with paying your bills. Depending on the job you are applying for (a security or law enforcement job), your credit history could be a red flag. Employers cannot trust people in debt with large sums of money, as having debts can be a temptation to steal. However, more and more employers are not getting credit reports as personal debt is becoming so commonplace that it is no longer a good gauge of character.
Companies looking to hire drivers will almost always check your driving history, which can be revealed in a background check. People with frequent speeding tickets, insurance lapses, and accidents cold be a liability for their company. They can also see how many times your license has been suspended or revoked. Minor offenses spread out over several years will most likely be overlooked, but serial traffic offenders will probably be rejected as possible new hires.
Your background check can reveal a lot of information about you and that information can be what is between you and a new home or career. There are ways you can keep track of your background check records so you can monitor for errors. Criminal records are publicly available, so if you pull your record and see an error, contact your local government office to straighten it out. Credit can be monitored with several different credit monitoring services, both free and paid. Free credit check companies often allow you to check your credit for free twice a year. Combing your credit record for errors and using it to pay off some of your debt can aid you in lowering your debt and not looking as desirable to companies and landlords. Keeping your background check accurate and honest is the key to making sure future employment and housing is easier to obtain and keep.