This is a guest post by Jane on Background Check. You can read the guidelines to guest posting at our write for us page.
You’ve been out of work for a while and have applied for more jobs than you care to count. It’s become almost routine at this point—you find a job that sounds perfect for you, apply and wait. Then there are the cases where employers actually reach out and schedule an interview only to leave you with, at most, a “we regret to inform you…” notice.
You feel like you did everything right—you had the qualifications, the interview went great—yet no solid offer comes your way. What gives? You could have been closer to obtaining the job than you realized—and then your potential employer ran a background check and saw something he or she didn’t like.
Most people instantly discount this as a possibility, thinking their past is harmless enough. But even people who aren’t hardened criminals can have red flags and “undesirables” appear on their report—even if completely by mistake. Luckily, there are things you can do to ensure your next background check runs smoothly and accurately portrays your past, but you must be diligent. Below are several things to consider before you agree to that next background check.
Check Your Credit
Oftentimes, a copy of your credit report is included with your background check. If you haven’t reviewed your credit information in a while, it would be a good idea to do so now. Familiarizing yourself with the data allows you the opportunity to ensure it is accurate and current, which will help prevent any hold-ups that might arise once the employer runs the report himself. Additionally, you will be better prepared to answer any questions your employer has concerning content.
Check Your Records
From driving to court, you should make a point to ensure you have settled any outstanding claims, charges or fines that might be on your records. From a minor parking ticket you never paid to a conviction you thought was dismissed, it’s important to make sure all of these files and records are up to date, so that they don’t hold you back from advancing in your career.
This is especially important for anyone who has been the victim of identity theft, as certain charges could exist under their name even if they didn’t actually do it. Similarly, people with common names should exercise extra caution when it comes to their data. More often than not, people fall victim to clerical errors that result in weeks of back and forth to rectify the issue, making the process notably longer than necessary.
Know Your Rules and Rights
Another important step in preparing for a background check is to be familiar with your personal rights. Depending on how the company is conducting the screening, you may or may not be protected by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)—which ensures national standings for employee screenings are upheld. Becoming comfortable and familiar with these policies and what can and cannot be held against you will help you in the long run with your job search.
As you continue on your job search, it’s important to keep all of these things in mind. With the economy and job market the way it is, it’s best not to take any chances when applying for a new position—employers are just looking for excuses to thin out the massive amount of applicants. The more informed you are the better prepared you’ll be. Incongruences between your resume, job application and background check may seem minor, but they can make or break your professional fate—just like a bad Facebook/web presence.