Today, an employee background check is an important hurdle for any prospective candidate.
In many industries, it’s become a critical step in the hiring process.
The fact is, a bad hiring decision could have detrimental consequences for an employer. Recruiting, onboarding and training new employees often involve significant investments. But when candidates lie, exaggerate, or fabricate information to improve their chances of getting hired, all this investment could go to waste. And the risks can be even higher when companies end up hiring employees with a history of fraudulent activities. So, pre-employment checks are crucial for recruiters to make informed decisions and avoid possible issues later on.
Now, it’s also important to note that background checks are not just limited to the hiring process. Your company can screen you even while you’re employed with them. For instance, 43% of employers admit to going through the social media accounts of their staff to check their online activities. So, ensuring a positive employee background check is pivotal even to remain in your dream job.
But many individuals still pay little attention to what turns up online under their names. And often, they have lots of unanswered questions about background checks: What can employers find out about me? Can I do a background check on myself? Is it possible to influence what’s already published or on record? Of course, these are all valid concerns. So, let’s tackle them one by one.
Unlike a few decades back, there’s almost no limit to the amount of candidate data an employer could access today. It’s because of massive volumes of personal information available online. Data aggregators, for instance, make a living out of collecting and sorting your identifiable information so they can sell it to potential employers and others looking to run background checks. So, every piece of your personal data is valuable to them, whether it’s your marriage certificate or homeownership details.
They can even retrieve records relating to your financial circumstances, like debt, bankruptcies, and liens. And if you’ve had any traffic violations or arrest records, chances are they’ll have them too.
In short, these background check services could be pretty comprehensive. This allows employers to check and verify your personal information in great detail. And often, the result is compromised privacy. But, of course, state and federal laws are in place to prevent limitless intrusions. They ensure that employers are only privy to a reasonable amount of candidate information. Many hiring managers comply with these requirements, although some may overlook them when data is readily accessible.
The bottom line is, the content you share on social media, the comments you make on online forums, the articles you post on personal blogs are freely available on public domains. So, there’s nothing preventing your employer from checking them out. And each piece of content will create an impression, either positive or negative.
If you’re curious about what could turn up in pre-employment screenings, you can run a background check on yourself. Just search your name on Google, and it’ll retrieve all indexed pages that bear any relevance to you. A people search site could do even better. They can pull up a complete profile that they’ve built using all online and offline data publicly available.
If you’ve done a background check already, you’re likely alarmed by what you’ve discovered. But you can influence your data footprint at least to some extent.
Here are the critical steps to delete and edit material that might adversely affect your employment prospects.
Removing data that could potentially harm your chances of getting hired will not ensure a positive background check in the long run. Deleting information on third-party websites demands substantial effort and may not always work. Besides, nothing is preventing new data aggregators from creating profiles using your details. So, you’ll need to adopt a more prudent and long-term strategy to manage your background checks.
But what happens if you’ve got some dirty laundry that you’d rather keep private? The reality is that it’s virtually impossible to keep such information hidden today. So, it’s best to be upfront and disclose it to your hiring manager in such circumstances.