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Don’t Let an Employment Background Check
Kill Your Dream Job

Getting ready for a career move is a daunting experience for many people. Facing interviews could be nerve-wracking. And once you win your dream job, settling into a new work culture and environment could need some adjustments.

But there’s one crucial element many candidates overlook during the job-hunting process: background check for employment. It’s become a critical step for many employers in their pre-screening process. And one negative detail could mean a failed employment check and might permanently spoil your chances of getting hired.

Why do employers perform pre-employment checks?

Any candidate would naturally research a potential employer before applying for a job. You would want to know not just about their culture and employee benefits, but also how they treat their staff and how ethical they are when doing business. After all, joining the wrong company could be detrimental to your career.

Similarly, employers would want to get to know candidates better before making the hiring decision. Here are some of the most common reasons why an employee background check is critical from an organization’s perspective.

1. Verify details

People lie all the time; they exaggerate, understate, falsify, or misrepresent information on social media, dating profiles, and also on their resumes. In fact, according to ResumeLab, a majority of candidates lie in their resumes, 56% to be precise. Some of these could be substantial, while others are often white lies. But they all serve one purpose: to mislead employers.

Of course, an experienced recruiter could quickly identify these. But it’s always better to verify with a background check. Besides, bad hires are costly. So, it’s essential for employers to verify information provided by a candidate during the first stage of screening.

2. Identify reputational risks

A wrong hire could leave an organization vulnerable to significant reputational damage. For example, some positions may involve handling confidential or sensitive third-party data, such as customer information and payment details. A data breach could severely put the company’s reputation at risk and may mean a costly lawsuit. And once it has lost customer trust, regaining it could take a lot of work. So, an employer may naturally check for any criminal records and other relevant information before hiring for such a position.

And there are many other ways an organization’s reputation could come under threat. For instance, an employee who makes frivolous discriminatory or derogatory public remarks on social media could be detrimental to a company’s image. The best time to identify these behaviors is at pre-employment screening.

3. Identify financial risks

Some job roles could involve direct access to company funds. Organizations such as financial institutions also deal with customer funds. These are high-risk positions that would naturally demand extensive background checks before hiring. Recruiting someone with a criminal record, a questionable past linked to frauds and scams, or even with substantial financial liability and poor credit history could be fatal for organizations in such circumstances.

4. Determine a candidate’s expertise

Sometimes, a resume doesn’t do much justice when showcasing a candidate’s skills and expertise. This is especially so when hiring for junior positions, where candidates still haven’t mastered the art of resume writing to demonstrate their full potential. But a quick background check could help recruiters gain deeper insights into hidden skills and knowledge.

How to ensure a positive background check

There are several methods hiring managers use to conduct pre-employment screenings. They might opt for an employee screening service that gathers required information from various sources while also ensuring that they comply with employee data access regulations. People search sites are another option. They have extensive databases of millions of individuals and can provide comprehensive profiles of candidates. These could cover identifiable information, financial records, and various other personal data. Sometimes, recruiters may do their own research using a Google search or by scanning social media activities.

Whatever the method they use, the information available will pose the same level of risks and benefits to you as a candidate. This is why it’s imperative to understand what an employer could retrieve and uncover well ahead of a background screening.

Here are some essential steps to help avoid a negative outcome:

  • Identify the common information and documents a recruiter would typically check and ensure they are all in order. It’s also essential to check and confirm that there are no discrepancies between what they contain and what you have disclosed in your resume.
  • Scan all publicly available content related to you. These may include content on social media, blogs, third-party websites, and people search sites. Keep in mind that hiring managers may not view your data sharing habits the same way you do. Those hilarious videos you share on TikTok might signal frivolous, superficial, or irresponsible characteristics to them. So, remove content that may not reflect well on you. Get the help of a colleague or mentor to guide you with an objective outsider’s perspective.
  • Keep your accounts private and opt out of data sharing, collection, and tracking features. Platforms such as LinkedIn also offer options to hide your profile from search engines.
  • Avoid lying or misrepresenting information in your resume. Be upfront about any past misadventures and explain how you have moved on from a negative experience. After all, everyone makes mistakes, so there’s a chance your hiring manager might understand and even appreciate your honesty.

To recap

A clean background check could increase your chances of winning your dream job. It can pay off in many other ways, too, even when renting an apartment or taking out a loan. And today, pre-screening checks take many forms and could be much more intrusive than you may like. But that’s the cost of increased connectivity and digital adoption. So, it’s essential to understand what information could turn up in an employee background check and ensure it doesn’t destroy your chances of getting hired.


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