Don’t Let an Employment Background Check Kill Your Dream Job

Don’t Let an Employment Background Check Kill Your Dream Job

Daniel Hall 26/07/2021
Don’t Let an Employment Background Check Kill Your Dream Job

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.

The Information at Stake

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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.

Taking Charge of Your Background Data

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.

  • Request data aggregators and data brokers to delete your profile and personal information in their databases.
  • Clean up your social media profile and activities.
  • Delete personal information in public profiles and online accounts. You can go a step further and close the accounts, too, if possible.
  • Keep your social media accounts private and avoid allowing strangers into your social network.
  • Take steps to correct inaccurate information linked to your name. Some of these may involve genuine mistakes. In such instances, a simple request might be enough to get it rectified.
  • Check your credit report regularly. Any signs of foul play may indicate an identity breach. And if left unaddressed, it could severely hurt your credit score and create a negative impression of your financial standing.

Think Long Term

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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.

For instance,

  • Regularly search your name on Google and people search sites to monitor any new content related to you.
  • Take effective measures to ensure data security. Remember, identity theft could hurt your reputation, too. For example, it could affect your credit standing or add a criminal record to your name. So, security practices are essential to keep data safe. Adopt two-factor authentication, set up a strong virus guard, use a VPN, and keep confidential documents in a safe place.
  • Share with care. Whether you’re setting up an online shopping account or posting a comment on social media, think twice before sharing your personal information, opinions, and other content that could link back to you.
  • Use your online data footprint for your advantage, so it could help boost your hiring prospects. For example, get active on professional networks like LinkedIn and share content that reflects your knowledge and expertise.

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.

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Daniel Hall

Business Expert

Daniel Hall is an experienced digital marketer, author and world traveller. He spends a lot of his free time flipping through books and learning about a plethora of topics.

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