Do you know what information is available about you in a background check? Depending on where you live and the type of background check requested, there can be a variety of information made available to the person requesting it.

This includes everything from criminal records to your credit score. Background checks are often used by employers when hiring new employees, but they can also be used for other purposes such as renting an apartment or obtaining a loan.

What Can People Find Out About You in a Background Check?

Here’s a look at some of the most common types of background checks and what information they contain.

Criminal History 

Different states have different laws when it comes to accessing criminal history. In some states, a person can request a background check on an individual for employment purposes.

In other states, employers can access criminal history only under certain conditions, such as if the job is in law enforcement or security.

The type of crime committed and how much time has passed since its completion will affect whether or not your record appears in a background check with your information.

If your record is accessed, more specific information may be available about the crime, including mitigating circumstances that led to the offense.

Consider practicing honesty with an employer during an interview if you were convicted of a crime, even though most convictions are usually removed from online reports after seven years (felony) and five years (misdemeanor).

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Credit Report 

A credit report is a record of your credit activity and ensures that you are able to repay a loan or maintain a line of credit. Employers may not be interested in your personal balance, but they will want to know if you can pay back what has been borrowed.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides rules for obtaining an individual’s permission before running a report.

In addition, certain exemptions exist, including when the FCRA guarantees the employer that it will comply with all FCRA requirements when hiring an employee from another country.

Even though this type of background check only reveals information about financial issues without any mention of criminal history, this does not mean that no one will ever see it.

“Lenders, insurers, employers, government agencies, and other businesses” can run a report for employment purposes with your permission.

Education History 

Do you have a degree or diploma from an educational institution? If so, this type of background check will include all of the information that was included on your transcript, including courses taken, grades received in each course, gender, major field of study, and any disciplinary actions are taken while attending the school.

Educational institutions are expected to keep records regarding incidents involving criminal conduct by students who are enrolled at their schools.

This means that even though you may not have been convicted of a crime for something that happened while you were a student at the institution, it could still show up on your background check. An educational institution may not have that information readily available in some cases.

Employment Verification 

When you apply for a job with a new company, they may choose to run a background check of their own on you as part of the hiring process.

A background check on employment will look similar to criminal reports provided by police departments but will only include “information about your identity and whether or not you can be found at a certain address.”

The FCRA provides protection from discrimination when running a background check during the “hiring process” as long as it is related to someone’s job responsibilities.

You cannot find out what type of information an employer can gain about your background check, but you can request why you are being turned down for employment.

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A company may choose to run more than one type of background check when trying to find out more information about you.

Some types of reports may include information that does not appear in another report. For example, an employment verification search would not reveal any criminal history unless it was considered very serious or violent in nature.

It is a best practice that you speak with your potential employer directly if they want to know more than what they can easily find on your own record by checking on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter or talking to people who know you personally on a regular basis. 

Once a background check is done, and you have been hired for the job, the employer may ask to do it again after some time has passed. It is best if you receive written confirmation that they will be running another check, so there are no misunderstandings.


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