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What to Expect From a Background Check

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

During the job application process, you may have been told by a potential employer that you’d be subjected to a background check before being hired. But do you know what this involves? 


Being informed and prepared for what might show up -- especially if you have a criminal record -- can help your job search go a lot smoother. 


What is a background check?

There are a few types of background checks, including criminal background checks and more comprehensive pre-employment background checks. If you’re applying for a federal job or another high-security job, you might need to undergo a fingerprint or FBI background check. 


What will show up? 

Various factors can affect what the check reveals. A pre-employment background check will cover education, employment and license verification in addition to searching criminal records. 


If you’ve previously been arrested and/or convicted, you’re probably more worried about your criminal record. A criminal history check will often include felony and misdemeanor convictions, any pending cases, and details of any jail time served as an adult. 


Arrests that didn’t lead to convictions may or may not show up, depending on the databases searched. Many juvenile records will be sealed and will not appear during a check.


More in-depth background checks, such as the fingerprint and FBI searches, can reveal any interaction you’ve ever had with law enforcement agencies that report to the FBI. This could include traffic and parking tickets


What are your rights?

As a job applicant, you do have rights. Employers must have your written permission to conduct a background check. Some states have enacted laws forbidding disclosure of certain convictions after a designated number of years.  


Have questions? Reach out today

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