What Does an Employment Background Check Show?

When you apply for a job, you may be subjected to employment background checks to see if you are the right candidate for the position.

This background check will give an employer a lot of information about you such as your criminal history to see if you have been arrested or if you have any outstanding warrants, as well as your credit history which investigates your credit report and if you are able to handle your finances. In the case of criminal records, in certain situations, you might be able to file for expungement where if your case meets certain criteria, it can be removed from your record and not be accessible to the public. This might only apply to small misdemeanors though.

In today’s article, we will go into what an employment background check will show and what they normally consist of, so you can prepare yourself when going through the hiring process and the pre-employment background checks so you are not blindsided by anything.

What Compliance Laws Should You Be Aware Of?

All employers who ask you to go through the background check process have to comply with the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), as well as follow the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance and stick to state and local ban-the-box laws if needed.

Employees Have to Give Permission

It is important that employers receive permission from potential new employees to have their background checks done and put into writing.

Employers must adhere to these rules and follow them whatever the outcome is of these background checks.

These employment background check laws are very important to safeguard employers and employees during this process.

If employers are made aware of criminal records or find issues from previous employers, then they have to deal with the issue professionally and to the specifications laid out by the law.

How Do Background Checks For Employment Work?

Normally, companies don’t do comprehensive background checks on their own. They tend to outsource it to private companies or criminal private investigator los angeles (or wherever the employer may be based) so that they don’t miss out on anything. In general, background checks will start with verification of your identity based on the information that you have provided when you have filled out the forms.

This will check your date of birth and Social Security Number to verify who you are.

What Can it Lead to?

After this, the search will then expand onto public databases as well as court records to gather more information about you, however, it does depend on what your potential future employer is looking for, e.g. employment history, criminal background checks, etc., it will vary from job to job.

What Else Does a Background Check For Employment Show?

You know generally what a background check will show, as mentioned above, but there are other things that will come up during these background checks to make sure that you are the person they are looking for when they vet you.

These include, but are not limited to –

  • Education history
  • Employment dates
  • Criminal records
  • Credit history
  • Driving records
  • Education verification
  • Employment verification

A criminal background check seems to be the norm throughout these checks as your hiring managers need to know that you are safe to be around and don’t pose a danger to other staff members.

Safety is not just limited to implementing health and safety rules in offices and other workspaces, it extends to the employees themselves, so that everyone can work together like a well-oiled machine.

You may be surprised to find out that they will check your driving record as well as make sure that your employment dates match what you have put down.

A lot of places are very thorough with their pre-employment process, so you need to be prepared for that.

What is in an Employment Background Check?

There are quite a few different checks we have gone into, but employers will normally check mostly for the ones we will go into now.

These are checks that they are most concerned about and will focus on for job applicants.

Previous Employment Record

An employment background check is a comprehensive process that provides employers with valuable insights into a candidate’s professional history. One crucial aspect of this check involves verifying the accuracy of the individual’s previous employment records.

Employers seek to confirm details such as job titles, dates of employment, and responsibilities held in previous positions. This verification process ensures that the information provided by the candidate aligns with the reality of their work history.

In some industries, like transportation, employers may conduct a DOT employment verification to validate a candidate’s compliance with Department of Transportation regulations and confirm their eligibility for specific roles.

Thorough checks on previous employment not only help employers make informed hiring decisions but also contribute to building a trustworthy and reliable workforce.

Credit Report

These reports are put together by credit bureaus who will collect all the information required from a number of sources.

Let’s take a look at credit card companies, they, as well as financial institutions will furnish data to credit bureaus which will then maintain records and information on customers so that if it is ever needed, e.g. background checks, they are able to pass this information along.

What will show up on these credit background checks will include –

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Credit inquiries

Not all agencies will have the exact same information, but they will have what is needed above which can help out employers.

Credit reports are essential, especially if the job entails handling money or accounts.

Employers will be able to see if they can be trusted and if there are any red flags that come up during these searches.

If they show recurring debt or reckless spending, then this could show them that the candidate is not as responsible as they have said, and it could result in the termination of the employment offer.

Identity and Social Security Verification

A very important part of a background check is making sure that the person who is applying is actually who they say they are and the information they have provided is completely accurate. This part of the verification is often carried out by a private investigator similar to Bond Rees (Find out more here).

Databases that are searched for this information are the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records.

They also may branch out into online identity checks to see if identity theft has been done, or if their Social Security number has been used in the past for something else.

All this information can be crossed referenced with others to see if it all comes up the same.

If not, and there seem to be some identity verification problems also, then they can terminate the contract as well as let the proper authorities know if they think that this could be a case of fraud.

Criminal History

Before hiring an employee, employers should make sure that they do not have a criminal record that is an issue for the job they are applying for.

If an employer does not do these checks and it turns out that an employee is a threat, then they could be put through negligent hiring claims.

Employers have a duty to protect everyone that is under their care at work, so putting them at risk by not doing the relevant criminal background checks is a serious offense and should not be glossed over.

Offenses That May be Reported Are

  • Misdemeanor Charges
  • Dismissed Charges
  • Acquitted Charges
  • Current Pending Charges
  • Felony Convictions

Even if one of these charges shows up when doing the checks, that doesn’t mean they should write off a candidate straight away.

This will require further looking to see what has happened and if it is okay to still hire them. This may make the process longer, but it is important to give a job applicant a fair chance.

Additional Information

After looking through all the information they get back from these checks, employers may have to search further for more information if it warrants it.

Because this is extra added onto the search, you may have to wait longer to see what else they get.

You could ask them for the average time it will take, but they may not even know that as other factors have to be considered such as bank holidays, weekends, and sickness, so don’t expect a straight answer, you will just have to wait.


What does an employment background check show? Quite a lot it seems, this is why you need to be prepared if you ever have to do one.

Always be upfront and honest with your application and let your employer know if you do have any history to disclose that you are worried about.

It may be uncomfortable, but being open about it can cut down the time for searching and it will show them that you are putting it on the line to be honest with them.

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