5 Common Red Flags on Background Checks
Securing a job these days isn’t easy. With the national unemployment rate still more than 9%, job seekers are facing stiff competition and need every advantage they can get to attain employment. After your resume has been reviewed and your references have been checked, your final hurdle is to pass the background check, which provides information such as your credit record, criminal record, drug test record, education records, and a list of your past employers. Conducting a check, of course, can only be done with your consent. It’s perfectly normal for you to be worried about some possible imperfections — after all, nobody is perfect. Keep the following common red flags in mind as you get closer to securing your next job:
- Gaps in employment: This may or may not be spotted on your resume as well. Recent gaps in employment are easily explainable given the state of the economy — many people out there now have experienced significant periods without jobs. A problem may arise, however, if a potential employer discovers a pattern of gaps in employment, which could indicate that you’re an unreliable employee. If you’ve fallen ill in the past or have other legitimate explanations, then you shouldn’t worry. Otherwise, prepare to discuss any concerns your possible employer may have.
- Omissions of past employment: Some employment experiences are less fruitful than others. We’ve all taken jobs that we’ve later regretted, so, when composing your resume, you shouldn’t feel compelled to leave off any recent jobs that didn’t end well, whether you quit after a few weeks or were fired. As always, honesty is the best policy. Go to your interview prepared to field questions regarding past negative work experiences.
- Inconsistent Educational Achievement: Stating that you finished a degree when you didn’t, or attained an advanced degree when you didn’t, will certainly prevent you from securing desired employment. It’s one of the most common inaccuracies found on resumes, which is why many employers double check such information. They don’t want to hire an employee who doesn’t possess the skills that he or she claimed to possess.
- Poor credit history: A typical employer may not be overly concerned with your credit history, but if you plan to work for a company or organization that deals with money, such as a bank or financial firm, expect it to be thoroughly examined. Employment background checks provide a copy of your credit report with information about your credit-payment history, but not your credit score. Obviously, a poor financial history, right or wrong, may indicate that you’re not good at handling money and are generally irresponsible.
- Felonies: Not every job application asks whether or not you’ve committed felonies in the past. Of course, when they do, you should always include a brief explanation. Omitting it will only cause problems. Keep in mind that isolated legal incidents not involving your past employment cannot be considered, and shouldn’t prevent you from securing a job.