You’ve been looking for your dream job for months; everywhere seems to be offering the same thing. Finally, you discover the perfect position. It’s got the proper hours, beautiful pay, and you’re qualified for the job. You’ve taken the time to fill out your application, you’ve double-checked your resume for any errors, and you’ve brushed up any mission statements to reflect how badly you want this job.
Applying for the job should be the next step, right? Not yet.
Before taking the plunge and applying, it’s essential to know that most employers will run a background check on sites like checkpeople.com on any potential applicants they’re interested in hiring. They want to ensure that every person working for their company has the right skills, merit, and qualifications. Large portions of your personal information are going to be available to them in a PDF report. Running a background check on yourself before hiring will ensure this information is accurate.
- 1 Who should run a check on themselves?
- 2 Important Questions to Consider With Your Background Check
- 3 Other Areas to Review Before Applying for a Job
Who should run a check on themselves?
Simply put, everyone should be pulling their own background checks. Not only is this a fabulous way to find out what potential employers can find online, but it’s also a great way to protect your information. Staying on top of your report can prevent cases of fraud, identity theft, or mistaken identity (when you share a name with someone in your city). It will also help you determine what information will pose a potential risk to future employers now and down the road.
Important Questions to Consider With Your Background Check
Is my information reflected accurately in the report?
Prospective employers need to know the person applying for the job is a legitimate person. Make sure that the social security number listed on your application is correct and complete. Cross-reference this information with the report findings. If you happen to see additional information in your file that doesn’t connect to you, you’ll want to amend that before applying for the job.
Verify your past residences and addresses
Mistaken identity can happen, especially if you and another person share the same name, birthday, or city. Take a quick look through the address history in the report and confirm that the information listed is not only accurate but that it is complete too. If you happen to notice any addresses listed on your file that you don’t recognize, contact the background check company to file a dispute.
Double Check Your Employment History
Human errors happen, which is why double-checking your employment history can make a world of difference. Your background report should include a comprehensive list of all previous employers. This information should include your position, time with the company, and the location you’ve worked. If you notice any errors, contact both the previous employer and the background check company to amend this. Errors may include:
- The company name.
- Wrong dates of employment.
- Improper documentation of termination (they write fired instead of quit).
- Similar issues.
Review Your Financial Accounts
While this information directly relates to anyone working in the financial industry, it’s always a wise idea to double-check your financial records in the background report. This information will include your account, balance, limit, duration of account history, and payment status. Double-check that all payments made on the account are correctly posted. If you notice a few missed payments documented that you believe you made, contact the financial institution to have them corrected.
Your background report will also document any delinquent accounts or collection activities on your file. Whenever possible, try to get the accounts back into good standing. Any major issues found within this area may discredit you from the employment position; it’s essential to have these issues fixed before having an employment screening performed.
Make Sure Your Educational Information is Posted
Some post-secondary institutions take a while to update their systems. This delay can cause significant concern for prospective employers, particularly if the job you’d like to apply to has an educational prerequisite. If your school hasn’t updated your records, contact the administrative department to expedite the issue. This area of the background report isn’t a major concern for jobs requiring recent graduates, as employers are aware of the delays between graduation and reporting times.
Double Check Your Criminal Activity
If you’ve never been arrested, there’s a good chance you’ll have nothing to worry about when reviewing this section. Criminal convictions, pending charges, and dismissed/acquitted charges can all show on background check reports. It’s always a wise idea to review any of the information found within this section, especially if you have past offenses. If there’s something on there you don’t recognize, contact the background check company right away to dispute the finding.
Other Areas to Review Before Applying for a Job
References for Your Job Application
Putting down someone’s name isn’t fair to prospective employers or the individual named. A reference should be made aware of the job you’re applying to and the type of skills you’d like highlighted if they call. Always make sure you contact past references to confirm they’re still willing to be a person of contact in the future. Personal references aren’t as strong as professional ones; you’ll want to have at least one prior supervisor or coworker who can speak on your behalf. If you’re planning to use a personal reference, stick with an individual that is not family or the same last name. Social Media Accounts
Some background check companies will scan through social media accounts; it’s also becoming increasingly popular for prospective employers to browse social media. If you’re applying for a new position, take a quick look through any recent posts you’ve made online. Employers want to know that the people they hire will represent their brand and company, whether online or offline. Delete any controversial posts, argumentative conversations, or risqué photos that have been shared publicly. Likewise, double-check that any social media profiles are set to private status to limit the amount of information accessible through internet searches.