Ariel Frogge

A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Run a Background Check on Yourself

Discover how to run a quick background check on yourself and the eight steps to follow for a successful outcome.

A Step-by-Step Guide: How to Run a Background Check on Yourself

Performing a background check has become an integral part of the hiring process. It is the process of investigating a potential candidate’s personal, professional, criminal, and financial history and verifying their credentials to ensure they are the perfect fit for the job.

It is strongly recommended that one undertake a comprehensive self-background check before job applications. This undertaking not only equips individuals with a proactive approach but also presents them with an opportunity to prepare responses related to any concerning information or question. You can also use this opportunity to reach out to find inaccurate information and forward your concern to the responsible entities. Here is a definitive guide on how to run a background check on yourself.

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What Is the Meaning of a Background Check?

Before moving on to our How to Run a Background Check on Yourself guide, let’s discuss what a background check means.

When you apply for a job – especially in the finance, childcare, or healthcare sector – the employers run a thorough background check to learn about your identity, credit history, education and employment history, driving records, and social media presence.

The purpose of a background check is to check the public records to determine whether the candidate (you) is the right choice for the employment opportunity.

Employers can run a background check themselves or via any third-party screening service. Typically, a background check is the last step of the hiring process, providing the employer with much-needed assurance.

What Is Included in a Background Check?

A common question people ask when learning how to learn a background check on yourself is what it includes. As mentioned above, employers perform a background check to verify the candidate’s personal and professional history and information.

Because there is no one way to perform a background check, the results can vary depending on the local, state, and federal laws and the employer or position. A standard background check report will consist of the following:
Social Security Number: Provide basic information such as associated addresses and names. A background check company can use the social security number to verify your criminal history in the places (area, city, or state) that you have resided in.

Education History: Will verify your dates of attendance, graduation date, degrees obtained, and enrollment history. An employer will assess your education records to verify your resume or application information.
Employment History: Provide data on all your employers, job titles, and duration. The information is usually validated from databases by contacting the previous employers and comparing it with employment documents provided by you.
Criminal Records: Might include misdemeanor convictions, felonies, violations, and infractions.
Credit History: Comprises modified information from the consumer credit report, including payment history, credit-to-debt ratio, accounts in collections, bankruptcies, and tax liens. However, note that an employment background check will not unveil your credit score.
Driving Records: Otherwise known as MVR (Motor Vehicle Report), driving records include information about your driving license’s class and status, suspensions, violations, and restrictions. The report can provide an overview of the candidate’s driver history for 5 to 3 years, depending on the state policies.
Social Media Profiles: A list of all your social media profiles. The employer will review your social media profiles to ensure that you have a professional image and that your digital profile doesn’t have anything unethical.
Work Authorization: Whether the state has permitted you to work or not.

How to Run a Background Check on Yourself

There are primarily three standard ways to perform a background check:

  • Use a free background check service.
  • Purchase the background check report from a third party.
  • Request and compile the information on your own.

The employer might use any of the above-mentioned ways to verify the information provided by you during the hiring process. Therefore, to perform a background check on yourself, you must first think of yourself as the employer and gather all the basic information you will need to learn about a person. This includes their current address, legal name, social security number, and education and employment history information.

Now that you have all the information, make sure to follow the steps of the How to Run a Background Check on Yourself guide to the tee:

Step 1: Verifying Social Security Information

Your social security number can be used to confirm your identity, especially your legal name and address.
You can verify this information by simply creating an account on the Social Security Administration website. This step will help you verify the data the administration provides about you.

Step 2: Obtaining a Credit Report

Obtaining your credit report isn’t as easy as it seems. The employer must obtain written permission from the employee (you) to review or access your credit statement. Note that the employer’s credit report will differ from your credit report as your personal information (marital status, date of birth, account numbers, and credit score) won’t be revealed to them. In fact, the employer will have access to the following information:

  • Loan totals.
  • Payment history.
  • Bankruptcies.
  • Outstanding account balance.
  • The date you opened the account.
  • The type of accounts you are using or have applied for.
  • How long have you held the account?

The employer will use the credit information to verify your background or identity, assess your financial strength, and determine whether you are responsible.

Learn About Your Financial Status: Request the National Credit Bureaus to provide you with an annual free credit history report.

Step 3: Checking Criminal Record

This is one of the most crucial steps of how to run a background check on yourself. When the company performs a background check on you, they get the following information related to your criminal history:

  • Warrants.
  • Criminal convictions (misdemeanor and felonies).
  • Imprisonment history.
  • Probation history.
  • Parole history.
  • Pending criminal cases.

The criminal record report can comprise arrest warrants you might have gotten in the last 5 to 7 years, even if they didn’t lead to convictions. You can check your criminal record from the corrections department or applicable courts.

Step 4: Getting a Driving Record

Even though it is not a common practice to check the driving records of a job candidate, it is a vital part of some organizations’ pre-employment background check policy. Usually, the information is only viewed if driving is a part of the job description. However, the employer will need to get your permission to review your driving record, which includes the following:

  • Accident history
  • Traffic violations
  • Driving license status
  • License endorsements and classifications
  • Fines and convictions
  • Citations and fees owned

Contact your state’s DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to get your driving record. You can either view the information online or get a copy from the DMV.

Tip: If you have owned a driver’s license from another state in the last 2 years, acquire their driving records as well.

Step 5: Evaluating Education & Employment History

Your education and employment records are the most important part of the background check. As it is they that certify you for the position.
Education information includes the name of your school, high school or college, university, transcripts, and the degrees you earned. Conversely, employment history comprises:

  • Names of the companies that you have been associated with.
  • Names and contact information of your previous supervisors.
  • All of your job titles – info about position or designation.
  • Date of employment.
  • Location of the companies.

An employer will reach out to your school or university to get a copy of your transcript and will call or email the prior organizations to confirm the information provided by you.

Step 6: Reviewing Address History

The employer will need to check your address history to verify your identity and the residential addresses provided by you.
While some websites or applications can make it easier to run an address history search, you can use your tax records, public records, or credit card report to confirm the information.

Step 7: Assessing Social Media Presence

Your social media account digitally reflects your personality, goals, morals, and values. All modern-day employers check the applicant’s social media profiles to see how they are in real life and if their values align with the company goals or not. Employers reject applicants whose social media profiles contain offensive content about illegal activities, harassment, bullying, or violence.

Review your social media profiles and ensure they reflect a positive image of you. Make sure to hide or remove content you are uncomfortable sharing with everyone.

Step 8: Using a Screening Company

Don’t have the time to perform a background check yourself? Luckily, some organizations can help you attain all the information you need. It is best to use the same commercial service your employer uses or opt for the one that complies with the US Fair Credit Reporting Act. Provide the screening company with basic information; they will cover the rest.


Time to Run a Background Check!

No matter which sector or industry you are applying for a job in, knowing how to run a background check on yourself can help you learn about your chances of landing the job. Even though a personal background check might not always provide comprehensive results, it is wise to learn about your identity in the digital world because any potential employer will be referring to the same information to learn about you and evaluate your credibility.

Use our “How to Run a Background Check on Yourself” guide to find out what information is available about you and ensure the completeness and accuracy of your personal records. Good luck investigating yourself!

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