• Monday, July 26th, 2010

If you have applied for a job recently, chances are good that you have signed a consent form allowing your prospective employer to perform a background check on you. Gone are the days when employers merely verified employment and education history and counted on their gut instincts to hire new employees. In today’s world, they must evaluate each prospect for potential risks. By signing the consent form, you authorize your potential employer to have access to your entire past.

Depending on what kind of job you are applying form, your potential employer might check up on anything from your credit history to your criminal record to your relationship with your neighbors. And to do so is well within their rights once you sign the form. Many people assume that the background check simply confirms that you have no criminal record, but it is much more than that.

Background checks can be incredibly extensive and can go far beyond what any employer would reasonably need to know before hiring you. And like credit reporting, it isn’t foolproof. Quite often bad information gets through and incorrect things may pop up on your background check. Knowing what potential employers might be looking for should help you ensure that you have everything in order before filling out your application.

If a potential employer declines to offer you employment based upon something they discovered in your background check, they are required by law to deliver something called a pre-adverse action disclosure which states the reason for not hiring you. You should also receive a copy of the report along with a description of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. Employers are not allowed to consider certain things as grounds for not hiring you, but it is difficult to prove after the fact whether or not they have done so.

According to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, you are allowed to obtain a copy of an employment background check annually for no charge. It is a good idea to do so as it is the only way to know whether or not the information in your background check is correct. Having incorrect information in your background report could end up costing you a job, so it is well worth the time and effort it takes to obtain a copy of the report.


Category: Employment News
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7 Responses

  1. 1
    Martin Murphy 

    How do I get a free background check on myself?

  2. 2

    The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) says job applicants and employees who have undergone an employment background screening covered by the FCRA may receive a free annual file disclosure from the company that performed the background check.

    To learn more, you may consider the following resources:




  3. 3

    I wasn’t aware of that, thanks for sharing!

  4. 4
    Mark P 

    Interesting article, thank you.

  5. 5

    I was wondering about obtaining the free report as well. Thanks for adding the links, I’ll review them.

  6. 6

    I agree that a thorough professional background check is crucial for employers to ensure a safe work environment. You can find out more about background checks, or get one done on yourself at my company’s website.

  7. You are so right. Checking your credit once a year with all three credit bureaus should be tops on anyones to-do list. It’s one key part of keeping my AAA credit up there. Thanks for the article.

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