Admit it. You’ve entered your name into a search engine at least once to see what popped up. The results can be a shock! It’s remarkable how much of our personal information is actual public. Background checks as part of the job application process are becoming more and more routine. When a potential employer runs a check on you, you never want to be surprised by what they find. Is it possible to run a background check on yourself online? What kind of information can you find?
Before you apply for a job and someone else runs a background check, it’s a good idea to run your own. Let’s take a look at the personal information that’s available online.
Your online profiles say a lot about you. If your profiles are public, anyone can peruse them to get a general impression, even potential employers. Be responsible about the image you portray on social media. Keep strong opinions to yourself, limit profanity, and make sure all your photos are SFW. And don’t forget about old sites; just because it’s been years since you’ve checked your MySpace page doesn’t mean it’s not still out there for anyone to see.
Many states and counties have the ability to run online background checks, usually for a nominal fee. If you have had any previous brushes with the law, requesting your criminal history report will allow you to see what any potential employer can see so you can be prepared to answer any questions they might have. Employers also check national criminal databases, federal criminal records, sex offender registries, and terror watch lists.
You can request an online motor vehicle report for yourself from your DMV. If you’ve lived in multiple locations, you’ll need to request a report from every state where you’ve lived. This report will include information such as the following:
- License information
- Suspensions or revocations
- Moving violations
- DUIs and other driving related crimes
Request a Free Report
Consumer Reporting Agencies are required by law to provide consumers one free copy each year of their report. This report will include valuable information, including some education and work details. Requesting a copy each year allows you to manage the information and correct errors or discrepancies proactively. You can also use this report to ensure that the details you include about yourself match up to what you include on your application and resume.
Taking control of your personal information allows you to approach your next job interview with confidence.