98% of businesses perform background checks on a potential hire. But, don’t panic. Employers are required to obtain permission from you before performing any sort of pre-employment screening.
However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about what they might find during the check. Sure, you might have a clean criminal history and some great references. But, what about your credit score and other tidbits of financial information? Yep, that shows up on pre-employment screening checks as well.
Here’s what you need to know about employment background checks, what’s on them, and how to ensure that yours goes smoothly without any issues.
What’s the Point of Pre-Employment Screening?
Aside from ensuring that you don’t have a criminal history or any major issues with your employment history, employers perform pre-employment screenings to check for other things such as your credit history and bankruptcies. Why, what’s the point?
They’re checking to see that you’re not only capable of performing the job duties but also that you don’t pose a threat to the company or to others in the workplace.
In a financial sense, this is to ensure that you’re able to manage your own finances and stay on top of your credit score by paying your bills on time and not running up your credit card bill. If you aren’t able to manage that then the employer could view you as a potential liability or security risk.
What Shows Up on An Employment Background Check?
It’s important to note, again, that an employer must obtain your permission to run a background check as they’ll need your full name, date of birth, social security number, and address on top of your consent. So, there’s no risk that you simply won’t know an employer is looking into your past.
But, just what should you be potentially worried about an employer seeing? Employers can check your:
- Criminal history (including federal and state criminal records, sex offender registry, and global watch lists)
- Driving record
- Credit report
- Employment history
- Education credentials
Depending on the nature of the job and the level of security required to perform the job duties (such as government jobs), they might perform other universal background checks or require additional checks such as drug and alcohol checks. Again, however, they’ll need your consent to perform them.
How To Address Issues on a Screening Check
Now that you know that it’s legal (and very common) for employers to perform background checks as part of the employment job screening process, it’s easy to prepare yourself and your life for those kinds of checks.
It’s easy, for example, to obtain a free credit report and begin to monitor your credit score for future job applications. On your credit report, you’ll be able to view things such as payment history, accounts that are in collection, bankruptcies, tax liens, and so much more. This is a great way to plan ahead and really get a comprehensive overview of at least your financial history and current credit score.
If there is an issue, you’ll have time to fix it. If, however, you haven’t been keeping up with your credit score, there could potentially be a mistake on your report or an issue that you weren’t aware of. Give yourself time to analyze your report and fix any issues before applying for new jobs.
If you have been monitoring your credit and financial history and know there is an issue that might come up during the employment screening check, be prepared to address it. If your credit score is a bit low, for example, because you missed a few payments on your student loans right out of college, simply explain that to your employer and show proof that you’ve since kept up with your payments.
Keep Up With Your Credit
As you can see, your credit score affects more than your ability to get an auto loan or snag the best mortgage loan rates. It could potentially affect your ability to land your dream job, too. While pre-employment screening checks look at more than just your credit score, it’s one of the easiest things to track and improve.
How? Download Float Credit, which lets you see your credit score (updated every two weeks) while also allowing you to share your information with friends and family members who can encourage you to improve it.
You choose how much information you share, whether that’s your full credit report or a cute emoji that indicates a credit range. Celebrate in the wins of others and allow them to celebrate your wins. Download the app today to get started.
About the Author – ELIZABETH THORN
After receiving a degree in film from UCLA, Elizabeth left Los Angeles to travel the world and focus on storytelling and content creation. She has since worked as a freelancer and staff writer for publications in Europe, Asia, and North America, namely in the areas of travel, tech, finance, and business.