Nikki Thomas

Does a Background Check Show Employment History?

We explain how much of a person's job history can be revealed in a background report.

Does a Background Check Show Employment History?
Are your past jobs a matter of public record? Find out here. | PeopleWhiz

Have you ever wondered what information might be revealed when employers run a background check? Given the fast and convenient access to information online today, companies are digging up more information than before and sometimes verifying what a candidate says.

In this blog we explore common components of such verifications and how long it typically takes to complete them.

What Can Background Checks See?

Not everyone's background check is the same. That's why it's difficult to say exactly what information will be seen in background checks. From past employers to criminal records to financial information, the checklist for an employment background check is seemingly endless.

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While employment background checks can be a vital part of the hiring process, it's important to realize that employers are limited in the information they can access. After all, such reports are built from public records, meaning an employer will not necessarily obtain more sensitive data such credit reports. Job history is not considered public record, either.

While each background check varies depending on the employer's needs, applicants should remain honest about all items related to the application, even seemingly unimportant ones. You never know what an employer might ask about or verify. Dishonesty is a major problem in hiring and can harm those on both sides.

Employers are increasingly using caution and trying to verify information before extending a job offer, such as by generating online background reports.

What employers look for in a background check

Interviewing a job seeker's references is another way employers try to learn more about a candidate than they can learn from the application or resume. For employers and employees alike, knowing the facts up front leads to strong outcomes with greater long-term impact.

If You Forget to List a Job

If you forget to list a recent job on your resume, it could come across as careless (at best) or dishonest (at worse). Employers probably don't care about jobs in your distant past, like summer vacation gigs when you were in school, but recent jobs speak to your viability as an employee. You must ensure that your resume paints a competent, honest, and straightforward picture.

Your resume is the centerpiece to demonstrate your worthiness for the position you are applying for. When constructing this document, be honest and succinct. List each pertinent job, and be prepared to talk about any gaps in employment. Omitting irrelevant jobs is a way for you to show off more relevant experience, but all recent employment is worthy of at least a line on your resume to show that you kept busy.

Refamiliarize Yourself With Your Employment History

Having to list all prior jobs can seem daunting at first, but with the right steps, you can remember what you did and when. Invest some time to get reacquainted with your previous employment and reexamine those experiences in light of the job you're seeking. Consider the facts, search the internet, and understand your achievements or awards from those places. Take the initiative to assess your skills and get thoughts from friends or family members who might have an objective opinion of your success in those positions.

Could a background check hurt your job search?

Use this opportunity to reflect on yourself. Hone in on a few distinct memories and see the big picture of your employment history. As you refamiliarize yourself with your job history, take good notes or build an engaging LinkedIn profile so the information is preserved. Doing this gives you control over how your professional narrative is told. Staying current with trends in your field and making connections with colleagues can help optimize LinkedIn as a platform for future work opportunities.

What Background Checks Show

What shows up on background checks depends largely on the individual company, the state, and the check level being conducted. While criminal history is the most important element for employers to consider when evaluating candidates, other information they may view includes motor vehicle records, education/employment verification, reference checks, and credit reports. Before investigating your credit, though, the employer must get your consent in writing.

Due diligence must be undertaken by the potential employer when using public records in job searches. Even though the required public records may appear to be reliable and accurate data sources, certain limitations are attached to online sources. In California, for instance, job candidates cannot be ruled out solely on the basis of what an employer finds in an online background search.

And remember, employment history is not considered public record. In other words, even though valuable knowledge can be obtained from analyzing public records, employers won't see your job history there. Employers won't know where you worked unless you tell them or you included past jobs on your social media profiles.

How Do Background Check Companies Verify Employment History?

An employment verification check is used by employers to determine the veracity of a candidate’s resume. It involves reaching out to the candidate’s previous employers and associates and verifying key information from the candidate's resume. These checks help employers assess someone's experience and qualifications, and they can learn about the candidate's personality. These checks also help employers protect themselves against legal issues like nondisclosure violations or misrepresentation.

If You Lie About Your Employment History

Given the potential consequences of lying on your CV (resume), fibbing about your job history should be avoided. The risks of being caught are too great, not to mention the impact of employers discovering you have been untruthful (you can probably kiss the job goodbye). Lying may initially appear to get your foot in the door but will significantly increase your chances of career sabotage.

Ultimately it is a precarious decision with far-reaching implications, so you should tell the truth regarding your employment history. Job seekers who take the easy way out and lie on their resumes may find short-term success, but they only hurt themselves in the long run. The truth is always revealed eventually.

Tips to pass your background check

In a highly competitive job market, it’s best for job seekers to focus on presenting their real accomplishments and be confident in their abilities. Honesty is still the best policy when seeking employment.

Can an Employer See Your Employment History?

No, not without your help. Employment history is not public record, so it won't appear in a background report. But employers might read your social media profiles, and they certainly will screen your application/resume.

With employers now more aware of their liability when they conduct a background check on job candidates, they might try to "cover their butt" by asking you to consent to a credit check even when you're applying for a job unrelated to your finances. Be wary of granting such permission to just anyone.

Likewise, if a prospective employer wants to know your social media profiles (sometimes they also ask for passwords!), strongly consider refusing. This is a sneaky way for employers to learn things about candidates that would be illegal to ask, like marital status or political leanings.

Final Word

The best way to learn what will show up on your background report is to run a background check on yourself. PeopleWhiz gives you access to millions of public records and can generate a report on any subject in minutes. Most users actually do search for themselves first, to see what personal information is exposed to the public. Then they branch off to search for old friends, loved ones, relatives, and co-workers. When you look at your own information, you'll see exactly what a prospective employer can see.

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