How to Prepare for an Employment Background Check

Posted May 27, 2011 by

It’s a well-known fact that at some point in our job application process, we will probably have to face a background check. For most, the check is probably not so intimidating. We know we haven’t done anything significantly wrong — at least nothing that could compromise eligibility.

What many don’t know is that employers take a lot more into consideration than criminal history. This is why it’s good to know how to prepare for an employment background check.

Get a Copy of Your Credit Report

Nowadays, employers look closely at candidates’ credit reports to determine eligibility. Why? They use the credit report to see whether you may have financial issues that are encouraging you to apply for the job. Also, they view a report filled with missed payments as an indicator of your lack of reliability.

So before you start seriously applying for jobs, it’s a good idea to obtain a copy of your credit report from the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and clear up any mistakes that could affect your score. You will need to allow between 30 and 45 days for an investigation to clear, so give yourself this much time in advance of applying for jobs if possible.

Check on Your Motor Vehicle Record

Yes, it’s true. Employers look at your driving record, just as they do your credit report, to determine reliability. If you have suspensions, DUIs, or other negative information on your record, you could lose your opportunity for employment. So order a copy of your driving record to ensure all information is accurate and up to date before a background check begins.

Make Sure Online Profiles Are Professional or Hidden

Employers also love to explore candidates’ social networking profiles to determine eligibility. If you had a drunk night out with friends, be sure to avoid posting any photos of your exploits on your page. And if you must post them, then set them to private so that people who are not on your friends list can’t see them. Also, you could change the name of your social profiles so that you remain anonymous, thereby avoiding having a company count you out based solely upon your night life.

Avoid White Lies on Your Resume

Because a company will likely conduct a background check, it’s important to make sure all of the information you place on your resume is accurate. Don’t say you worked at a company for five years when it was really three. And don’t state that you received a bachelor’s degree when you really have an associate’s. These little details could make a difference to employers who feel that little white lies could turn into major trust and reliability issues on the job.

The more you do to prepare for a background check, the less likely you are to be turned down for a job. So keep this in mind as you push for the job you want.


Resume authority Jessica Hernandez and her team of credentialed writers partner with professional- and executive-level candidates to open doors to jobs at prestigious corporations, achieving more than a 99 percent interview-winning success rate.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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