You’ve finally found your dream job. You’ve been busy looking up interview tips. You even had your resume professionally edited and did some online networking. But, you still need to prepare for the final part of the hiring process—the employment background check.
Most employers run background checks on job applicants. Background checks provide many perks to employers. Some of these benefits include better quality hires and greater employee retention. With background checks giving employers a definite advantage, they’re here to stay. In that case, how can you use background checks to your advantage?
Running a background check on yourself can bring tremendous benefits. It can remind you of important details and ensure your application is accurate. It can also prepare you for questions your employer may have about your background. So, how can you run a background check on yourself? Is it difficult or expensive to do? Is it even worth it?
You can run a background check on your own or through a company. It all depends on what checks you want to use. Start by using these basic methods:
Now that you know what kinds of checks you can run yourself, let’s go more in depth and see how you should run them.
Public records databases reveal if you have a criminal record. A criminal record may also show up if your name is similar to a convict’s, which could confuse employers. While public records databases don’t have all records, they still contain a lot of valuable information. You can search online public records by following these steps:
How much does it cost? The majority of this search is free. However, the FBI’s fingerprint database and some state websites charge a fee for access. The federal courts index also charges a fee if you view too many documents.
Is it difficult to do? No, it’s actually pretty easy. You just type your name in a database.
Is it worth it? Yes, it’s useful because many employers check record databases.
But, public records only show the public face of a person. To get the full picture, employers search online to find out what someone is like in their everyday life. With that in mind, it’s time to search your social media.
Social media has become a massive concern for employers. One post or comment can cause a firestorm of bad press. So, it’s no wonder that 70 percent of employers run a social media search during the hiring process. This makes social media searches a bright idea for any job applicant. Here’s how you can conduct a social media search on yourself:
How much does it cost? Social media searches are free. You can clean up your online profiles for free or hire someone to do it for you.
Is it difficult to do? No, just search for yourself and look over your social media profiles. Pay attention to photos and comments associated with your profile.
Is it worth it? Yes, a professional online presence is essential to impress employers.
Now that you’ve done your online searches, you’ll need to start doing things in person or over the phone. The first thing you need to check in person is your court records.
As nice as it’d be to have a national criminal database containing every criminal record, it doesn’t exist. Many individual courthouses have criminal records unavailable anywhere else. That makes comprehensive criminal record checks a priority for both employers and employees. Here’s how you can search court records online and in person:
How much does it cost? Some courts charge access fees for criminal records, but fees are economical.
Is it difficult to do? It’s more difficult than the other background checks. Visiting individual courthouses in person takes time and effort.
Is it worth it? Yes, if you have a criminal record.
After a trip to your local courthouses, it’s time to pick up the phone and make some calls. Let’s review your references.
Verifying references, work history, and education is crucial for employers. It’s also handy for you. Some job applicants can’t remember the date they started their last job or graduated from college. Reviewing these details ensures you have the right answer to any application question. You can review your references by following these steps:
How much does it cost? Reviewing references doesn’t cost a thing. But, certain colleges charge a fee for sending transcripts.
Is it difficult? No, you just have to make some phone calls.
Is it worth it? Yes, reviewing references confirms important details on your application.
Now that you’ve called around, you’ll have to fill out some forms to request your credit report.
Credit reports show how fiscally responsible you are. They’re usually run for financial jobs, but because they are so easy to get, you may want to request it anyway. Here are some tips for running a credit report on yourself:
How much does it cost? It’s free. Additional credit reports may cost a small fee.
Is it difficult? No, you just fill out a form online.
Is it worth it? Yes, if you’re looking for a financial job.
While you can run all these background checks yourself, it takes a lot of time and effort. Can using a background check company cut down on the hassle?
Using a background check company will cut down on the time and work you need to do a background check. That’s why most employers hire a reliable background check company. If you want to see what your employer sees, use a screening company and review their results. You can find the right screening company by answering these questions:
How much does it cost? Screening companies have different price points, but the cost is typically under $100.
Is it difficult? No, but it can take some time to find the right company.
Is it worth it? Yes, using a background check company shows you what your employer will see. It simplifies your work by offering all the checks you need in one place.
But, what checks should you run through a screening company?
The job you apply for determines which background checks you should run. Focus on checks related to the job you want. Here are some of the most common background checks:
Now that you’ve run all the checks you need, what should you do with the results?
Verify that everything is true. If anything’s wrong, dispute it with the background check company. Make sure that they change any incorrect information. After the screening company investigates, they should send you the corrected results.
If something is true but isn’t flattering, be ready to explain the circumstances to your prospective employer. Prepare yourself for any questions they may ask about it.
Running background checks seems like a lot of work. Is all this really worth it?
Running a background check does take effort, but it prepares you for what your employer will find. You will be able to handle any issues that come up. You will also be prepared to answer tough questions related to your background check results.
Background checks show you if something is inaccurate. You can then resolve incorrect information before it panics your prospective employer. It also reminds you about details and facts you’ll need for your job application, like exact work dates and official duties.
Doing a background check in advance improves your chances of getting the job you want. So, which screening company is best for your needs?
Plenty of employers run background checks, and most get fantastic benefits from it. Get in on the benefits by running your own background check first.
We’ve seen how you can run a background check on your own and with a background check company. While you can find a lot of the same information by doing your own background check, it takes more time. The various fees can also add up. Contracting a background check company to do the checking for you will save you time and money.
A screening company also includes only the information that your employer can see. They don’t include just any old record floating around online. But, where can you find the best company to run a background check on yourself?
At Trusted Employees, we offer self-background checks. We can help you decide what background checks fit your employment needs and interpret the results for you. Contact us today to learn more.