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What Do Employers Really Look for in a Background Check?


Background check is conducted by an employer to know whether candidates tell the truth in their resume or during a job interview, to know their salary background, and to know anything about a candidate's past history that could jeopardise the employer. Background checks can also help employers understand candidates’ true behaviour through their online presence on social media. As an instance, you might post something radical on your social media. Such posts might have a negative effect on the company’s image if they hire you. 

Before conducting a background check, however, employers need to ask the candidate's permission to avoid legal misconduct. At this phase, it is up to the candidate’s willingness whether to sign the consent form or not. After getting consent from their candidates, employers can do the background check via one of these two approaches. 

See also: How Recruiter Sees You When You Don’t Have Social Media Footage

Background check agencies

Most background check agencies offer different levels and depths of investigations. The most basic level involves making calls to the listed references on candidate resume and verifying the stated job history. Then, employers could check local courthouses where the applicant is known to have lived for records of arrests and convictions. Some employers would even check candidates’ credit reports to see if the candidates have financial problems or not. At the very top level, an investigator might actually travel to places where the applicant has lived and interview their neighbours and former co-workers, Tim Dees, Criminal Justice Professor said. 

Online background check 

This is the most common type employers use when conducting a background check. Potential employers might conduct an online background check via background check platforms, such as Verifacts, FADV, Matrix, and Betterplace. Online check is the same as going to background check agencies, however, the result might not be as accurate and detailed as the first option. 

Generally, in an online background check, employers will get the following results. 

  • Criminal check - vendors will provide online portals which give employers information about the candidate's criminal history. 

  • Address check is done to verify your address and whether candidates are actually staying in the mentioned address. 

  • Education check - vendors would need to pay an amount of money to get candidates’ educational details. 

  • Employment check - vendors will verify a candidate’s employment history detailed from why they leave their former organisation, the period of employment, and whether they are eligible for rehiring or not. 

What will be an employer’s main concern? 

To sum up, a background check will contain some or all of these purposes:

  1. To check candidates’ educational institutions and past employment, especially those that are stated in the CV or resume. 

  2. To check criminal history. 

  3. To check credit or financial problems. 

  4. To check whether candidates can be easily blackmailed and fall into phishing attacks (this is especially needed for sensitive jobs, such as national security). 

  5. To know the candidate's personal views about politics, government, jurisdiction, etc. that might negatively affect a company's brand.  

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