More and more these days, employers of all types are conducting background checks on potential employees. But it’s not the criminal background checks that job seekers should be worried about so much as the employment background checks.
Constraints of Background Checks by Employers
Many companies don’t do criminal background checks unless they are in law enforcement. And believe it or not, it is actually illegal for an employer to ask a candidate whether or not they have ever been arrested. However, they are allowed to ask if you have ever been convicted of a specific crime if it is related to the job you are applying for.
A good example would be if you are applying to be a janitor at a grade school. Such a school obviously would not want a pedophile working there, and so they might ask you if you’ve ever been convicted of child abuse. Likewise, retail stores hiring product stockers might ask if you’ve ever been convicted of shoplifting.
However, questions about convictions that are unrelated are generally not allowed. As a candidate that does have a criminal background, you would do well to study the company you are applying at and consider ahead of time whether your convictions are even remotely related to the job. If so, be prepared to answer questions about it. If not, then be prepared respond appropriately for a question that is illegal.
Employment Background Checks
The employment background check is far more common with employers both because of its ease as well as the belief that past performance is the strongest indicator of a candidate’s future performance.
This type of background usually consists of an employer calling the previous employers you have listed. If you have left any employers on bad terms and are concerned about what they might say about your performance there, then listing them might not be the best idea even if the experience you gained there would help you get the job.
The most common flag that appears in employment background checks is that the candidate never even worked where he or she claims to have worked. This will typically result in immediate rejection in your consideration for the job.
The employment background check is virtually universal these days because of how easy it is to catch a candidate in a lie about their history. Employers simply call the past employers listed and confirm that you actually worked there.
Discovering that you have been dishonest is not a good way to start off a relationship with a potential future employer, thus making it very important that you are always honest about your employment history.