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