Background check - career screening. Word cloud concept.

Yes—you almost got the job! The hiring manager says all you need to do now is go through a background check. But what is a background check for employment, and what does it entail?

Well, we’re here to break down the important elements for you. Basically, your potential employer is making sure there isn’t anything concerning your records.

The good news is that you should be notified when your background check is happening, so you can double-check your records on your own and make sure everything is in order. Keep reading to learn some important tips for the big moment.

1. There Are Time Limits

How far back does a background check go for employment?

Well, you might be relieved to hear it doesn’t go back forever. There are specific lengths of time (usually around 7 to 10 years) that will bar certain things from appearing on your background check. These include bankruptcies and records of arrest.

For your criminal record, the time limits will depend on your state. Check your state laws to see what’s covered and what’s not.

2. The Employer Can Call a Reference Without Telling You

Legally, employers do have to tell you when they conduct background checks through an official screening company like WorkPro. But this is different from just calling previous employers or checking any references you provided in your application.

If you’re not sure whether your hiring manager is doing an official third-party background check or not, you can ask. Remember that they have a legal obligation to tell you if they are.

3. You Can Prepare for It

In most cases, there’s not a lot you can change before the background check happens. But you can still prepare by double-checking your records yourself and making sure there isn’t anything unexpected there.

For example, you can check your credit score to see if it’s the same as it was the last time you checked. If not, now would be the time to make a call and sort it out if you think there’s been an error or fixable problem.

4. A Background Check For Employment Can Vary

Although the background check is a standard part of many hiring processes, there is a wide range in how deep it goes.

For example, a simple background check might just verify that the ID you’ve provided is correct. On the more comprehensive side, background checks can include character checks. This means the employer might contact people in your life to ask about you.

5. Most Jobs Do It

If you’ve never gone through an employee screening before, you might think these are only for high-profile positions like government jobs.

But the truth is, almost all employers do background checks. You might think your credit score and arrest record have nothing to do with the job you’re trying to get, but background checks have become such a common part of hiring that it’s rare not to do it.

Go Get That Job!

A background check for employment can feel tricky, but there are all kinds of legal limits to the procedure, and you can read up on your state’s laws to stay prepared.

So go out there and get the job of your dreams! For more tips on the working world, check out the rest of our site.

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