Behind background checks: how do they work? 

Ever been waiting to start a new job due to the background checking process? It’s happened to us all.

But, what happens during an extensive background check? Knowing what goes on helps you prepare your professional profile and even your online presence to ensure you’re employable. 

Learn below about the different facets of a background check, including education verifications, social media checks, and how long you might be left waiting. 

Trethowans
Trethowans

What’s taking so long? 

How long does a background check take? The answer depends on several factors, including the depth of the check and your history. 

If you’re a doctor, a background check will take longer than if you’re applying for a shop assistant role. The hospital will need to check your qualifications, employment history, references and even put you through drug tests to ensure you’re cleared to work with vulnerable patients. 

Similarly, teachers, social workers, youth workers, etc., will be subject to lengthy background checks before signing any contracts to make sure they’re a good fit to work in the community. 

Criminal history

If you’ve let your interviewer know about a criminal conviction in your past, they will check that out to learn how long ago it was, what the offense was, and whether they’ll be allowed to hire you based on the nature of the charge. 

Sometimes, their hands are tied: they may want to hire you based on your personality and potential, but the law may restrict your employment due to the crime you were convicted of. For instance, someone with a violent offense on their record may not be allowed to work in a public service role. 

Always be upfront and honest about any criminal charges in your background – when checks are done on your record, they will show up, so it’s best to bring them up early in the hiring process and talk about how much you have progressed since it happened. 

Employment verification

Many people tell white lies on their resumes or embellish previous work experiences. While this is tempting, you may want to think twice, as employment verification checks are likely to expose any lies you’ve told to boost your profile. 

If you exaggerated your role at your last job, your manager might deny that this was the case when asked about your responsibilities at work. If you say that you worked somewhere that you didn’t, your prospective employer will be very confused when they call that company to ask about your work there. 

Instead of embellishing your work experiences, focus on highlighting all the great things you’ve done in your work and school career so far. 

Social media checks 

Nowadays, we all expect that prospective employers will Google our names. Because of that, make sure your social media accounts are either private or display your best self. 

Yes, it’s hard to strike a balance between sharing content your friends will love and that your boss won’t raise an eyebrow at, but it’s worth it to advance your career! If you’d be embarrassed for your manager to see a photo or post on your social media, don’t post it. 

Make your background check easy

You can speed up the process by disclosing any criminal convictions, cleaning up your online presence, having all your details to hand, and ensuring your addresses, contact details, and work experiences are all correct. 

This will help your future employer pinpoint everything they need without having to investigate any irregularities on your record.