Myth Busters: Background Checks (Fact vs Fiction)

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Myth Busters: Background Checks (Fact vs Fiction)


Gain a better understanding about background checks as we break six common misconceptions about the process of background checks.

By Editorial Team | 7th August 2018
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If you are applying for a new job or hoping to rent a new apartment, then you will probably have heard that many employers and landlords are now running background checks on prospective employees and tenants.  Conversely, if you are an employer or landlord, then you may be interested in running some of these checks yourself.

While background checks are becoming more common, there is a huge amount of misinformation about them and many people are understandably ignorant of the process. If a background check is being run on you then you will probably want to know what kind of information may turn up. If you want to run a background check then you will be wondering things such as if you are legally entitled to the information? How they work? And so on.

Here, we will go through some of the most common background check fictions to try to bring some clarity to the issue.

Fiction: Only Large Enterprises Can Run Background Checks

Background checks are there to help employers make a decision about a potential employee, and this is true regardless of the size of the business. While large companies may run background checks more frequently than smaller ones, there is no reason why a small company can’t do so. In fact, it is arguable that small companies may benefit more from running background checks, as they are likely to be hit harder by hiring an unsuitable candidate. As a result, it is often well worth investing in a thorough background check for companies of all sizes.

Fiction: All Companies Offering Background Checks Supply the Same Service

The term background check is very broad and covers a large variety of services. Most companies, such as BeenVerified, provide a large amount of detail about what is included in their basic checks. If the basic check does not cover the information you need, then you will find that many companies offer special add-ons. Furthermore, not all companies can legally be used to screen employees or tenants, so before signing up for a service be sure to check that it offers what you need.

Fiction: Finding a Criminal Record Equals Automatic Rejection

Many people, including those running the checks and the person being checked,  often believe that if a criminal record is returned then that person will automatically be rejected for jobs, housing, and so on. However, this is far from the truth. If you have a minor charge that is completely unrelated to the job that you are applying for, then there is no reason why you should be rejected for the job. Employers and proprietors should consider many different factors when making decisions and are often happy to overlook a criminal record when presented with an honest explanation.

Fiction: Background Checks Only Cover Criminal Records

Background checks cover a huge range of areas and go into far more detail than just criminal records. A full background check will look at areas such as education and professional history, addresses and contact information, civil law suits, credit history, social media presence, relatives and business associates, and more. Furthermore, criminal records do not always last forever, so a record may not appear in a background check. If you were charged with a misdemeanour over a decade ago then in many states it will have been wiped from your record. Very often juvenile arrests will be sealed, and it can also happen that a felony is reduced to a misdemeanour. In short, a good background check will provide a complete overview of a person, not just whether they have a criminal record.

Fiction: Providing an Estimate of Time of Employment Won’t Conflict with a Background Check

Background checks are often very good at returning precise data. If you have estimated your time of employment and the company you are applying to runs a background check, then your application could suffer due to your inaccurate information. Therefore, it is always worth providing as accurate information as possible, just in case a background check is being run.

Fiction: Background Checks Take Weeks to Run

Very often when applying for jobs or looking for houses then you have no time to lose. Many people think that a background check will slow down the process, but this simply is not true. In fact, many companies, such as Instant Checkmate, can return a basic check in just a few minutes, while an in-depth check should not take more than a few days.

Fact: Most of the time background checks are nothing to worry about and can be a fantastic tool for businesses and individuals alike.

If you are a business owner or renting out a property then by now you should realize that background checks can be a valuable tool. They are quick and easy to carry out, and can help you avoid hiring the wrong person or accepting an unsuitable tenant.

Similarly, if you are job or house hunting, you should not be worried about background checks. In fact, you could even carry one out on yourself so that you know exactly what information will be returned and that way you can be prepared for any questions that may come up.

To Summarize

Background checks are becoming more and more common, but whichever side of the process you are on, there is no reason that you too can’t benefit from them.

Written by
Editorial Team
Our Editorial Team is constantly watching for new and exciting services to report on. They aim to bring balanced, honest reviews to the site to give you the best comparisons and ensure you have the knowledge to choose the product right for you. Read more.
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  1. You tell me not to worry about background checks but they check so much I am gonna freak out anyway.

  2. I had no idea background checks looked at social media presence! That’s crazy. Maybe I need to get on that Insta hype.