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A background check refers to the process of finding and compiling information about a person’s background with respect to his criminal, financial and/or commercial history and records. A background check can serve a dual purpose as well as precautionary it protects both the applicant and the employer in a job application scenario. However great strides have been taken over the past few years to ensure the background check process is a level playing field for all which includes the ‘ban the box‘ campaign (job applications/screening) and the ‘brady bill‘ (Gun background checks). The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 was named after Jim Brady (Ronald Reagan’s press secretary) who, in 1981, was left paralyzed by the attempt to assassinate Reagan, Jim Brady passed away on 4th August 2014.
Can I background check myself?
Forearmed is forewarned: By running a check on yourself you have the opportunity to see exactly what any prospective employer, voluntary organization, landlord, housing association or college you may be applying to will also have access to. More importantly it gives you the opportunity to correct any discrepancies. Those records to prioritize are Court records (Federal, State and County), driving records, credit report and your online footprint. How about searching a potential roommate or a blind date?
TIP: An arrest record older than 7 years where an individual has not been convicted should not surface on a background check as confirmed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). If something is present you are able to dispute the error.
What does a Background check look for?
A background check of a prospective candidate may well include education, employment, credit profile, criminal records, license and motor vehicle checks. Each aspect will have differing information relevant to each check. A prospective employer, college and such like must clarify (to the subject) the searches being made.
How can I do a background check on someone for free?
Fortunately public records include court information. Find the official government site or failing that try The National Center for State Courts. You will need to know each state that your subject has resided in. Further to misdemeanours and felonies be aware of bankruptcies, court orders for debts and civil judgements.
TIP: Why not ask a potential roommate to volunteer their report.
Driving records and associated laws vary by state, an individual can confirm their record by visiting the DMV site of each State that a license was held in, some states may charge a fee. As a rule not every employer will check driving records and these will typically be reserved for such roles as a nanny, bus driver, taxi driver and so on. Please follow this link for The Department of Motor Vehicles site
What happens if you fail a background check?
Employers are legally obliged towards existing employees within the work place to keep them safe and secure. However they can neither discriminate in respect of criminal records. Employment can only be withdrawn or denied if the offense/crime has relevance to the core responsibilities of the job i.e. a sex offender can not be around children nor drive a school bus and dealing with the vulnerable within the community requires strict criteria and consideration.
You failed a check in relation to an application that required high security clearance. A high security clearance check relates to the following: Embezzlement, sexual offenses, tax evasion, cyber crime, drug or alcohol abuse, personality disorder, a string of minor offenses or one serious crime. For further information the State Department Site has more detailed information. You may have also failed on the following:
Embellished credentials and experience
Dishonourable Military Discharge
You have a bad credit history
An employer that you have applied to for a position can not have access to your credit score but can see your credit report to determine whether you are responsible financially but on the condition that they have written permission from you, the applicant. It remains good practice to keep tabs on your credit file as errors can invariably creep in. Any individual can check their credit report, for free, once a year from each of the three reporting credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Experian) under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction (FACT) Act. The credit report site can be found by following the link. Your credit report will confirm such information as debt/income, total debt, accounts in collection and also the number of times your credit report has been requested. Remember a report does not show a credit score, this is separate. If you become aware of an error refer to the FTC guidelines for the disputes process.
TIP: Remember to space your requests out through the year you don’t have to take them all at the same time.
Employers prefer using such checks so that they can avoid any potential risks when hiring people for their companies. Larger companies may well also use third party entities to avoid any potential litigation. If an employer or landlord performs a background check a specific service has to be used and this also applies to insurance, medical and credit. Under the FCRA a Consumer Reporting Agency has to be used. These agencies offer dispute resolution and have exacting standards to maintain. For more information on how long does a check take please follow the link.
How far back does a background check go?
Typically employers will look for a 7 year history but some states allow for a 10 year period. As an example if a candidate in California is offered a position with a remuneration of $125,000 the Credit Reporting Agency can go back up to 10 years, below this figure the maximum allowable is seven years.
California asides there are a further eleven states limiting reporting to seven years from the end of parole, release or disposition date. These States are as follows: Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York – $25,000.00 (income exception), Washington – $20,000.00 (income exception), Texas – $75,000.00 (income exception) and Colorado – $75,000.00 (income exception).
Furthermore, such checks are not only used by employers, but for other purposes as well. For example, people who place requests for gun licenses also need to pass a certain check that validates their criminal record, etc, proving that they are responsible enough to be granted the license. These checks have many useful purposes, but one must ensure that the information released is not being used illegally, or misused in any other way. New Orleans Housing For Rent