Background Screening FAQ

Preparing for your Background Screening

Every company designs their own background screening program with various services contained in each request. A screen often includes criminal record information and may include employment verification, credit history, and/or motor vehicle records. To better understand what searches are being requested, the candidate should get clarification from the organization requesting the search.
For most background screens, you’ll be asked to sign a paper or electronic consent form and provide personal identification information that matches you with your records. And, depending on what the screen entails, you may also provide information about your employment and education histories. It’s a good idea to have that information handy when responding to a request for consent for a background screen.
  • Be honest. It’s better to provide accurate information and disclose any issues to your employer in advance.
  • Provide good contact information including a current email address and phone number so any issues can be cleared up.
  • Make sure you have your social security number, legal name, date of birth, employers names and addresses, dates of employment, and education institution addresses, dates of attendance and any degree information you can provide to facilitate the background screen process.

Any conviction of a misdemeanor or felony, or legally reportable non-conviction will be reported on a background check.

This depends on how long the information is stored by the city, county and state courts. Some states hold convictions for 30+ years while others for only 7 years. Non-convictions are only reported for 7 years under Federal FCRA regulations. Employers have varying policies in how far back they go for background screening information.

These verifications simply check the information you’ve provided on your resume or application. This includes the dates, certificates, and diplomas you listed and as allowed per company policy, salary, reason for leaving, and eligibility for rehire.

It depends on the length of your address history, how long it takes past employers to respond to verification requests, and the quality of information provided by the candidate.

After Your Background Check

Regardless of the state you live in, under FCRA guidelines, you may request a copy of your report if you are denied employment. Some states have their own FCRA rules which allow you access to your report even if you’re hired. Check your consent form for specific information about your state.

If you have been notified that you were not hired because of something in your background, you should see, in that same letter, information for disputing something in your background report. It’s important to follow up as soon as you get the letter. The window to have your dispute considered is normally five days. Your dispute will trigger an investigation into your claim and the employer will be notified immediately.

This depends on the organization’s own hiring policy. Some cities, counties, and states have specific guidelines for using criminal records in the hiring process and your employer will comply with those. However, a criminal record does not bar you from employment.  Check with the company’s HR department for guidance and be honest about your situation. Employers tend to be more undrstanding if given accurate information.