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Samantha Greenfield

Understanding employment background checks

If you are curious as to what a background check consists of, you may just want to run one and know what could be seen by others to make sure it is accurate or completely true.

Companies are taking a closer look at who they hire today. That's why over 90 percent of employers now run background checks on potential hires.

A background check is a cross-checking of gathered information through job interviews, meetings and written applications. But before an employer does a background check on a person, one has to sign a written consent for the employment background check.

During a background check, a hiring company takes a good look at your personal and professional history. They verify your education and past employment, check to see if there is criminal activity in your past, and talk to your references. Some companies may even look at your driving record, credit history or previous drug testing results.

To run a thorough background check, a company needs some very specific information from you. For example, they need contact information for your former employers and the names of your previous supervisors.

Companies have candidates fill out a job application that is specifically designed to get the information that's required to run a complete background check.

How you fill out a company's job application is directly tied to whether or not you get the job. In fact, over 80 percent of companies say that discrepancies on a job application can take a candidate out of consideration.

What does an employment background check consist of?

Background reports can range from a verification of an applicant's Social Security number to a detailed account of the potential employee's history and acquaintances.

There is even some evidence that employers are now searching popular social networking Web sites such as MySpace and Facebook for the profiles of applicants. An October 2007 survey from Vault.com found that 44 percent of employers use social networking sites to obtain information about job applicants while 39 percent have searched such sites for information about current employees.

Here are some of the pieces of information that might be included in a background check. Note that many of these sources are public records created by government agencies.

  • Driving records

  • Vehicle registration

  • Credit records

  • Criminal records

  • Social Security no.

  • Education records

  • Court records

Source: www.vault.com

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