Criminals Need Not Apply
Part of the reason it can be tough to get a job in today’s economy is because you have to be “qualified” in more than just experience. Many jobs these days require background checks prior to an offer of employment. Although there are countless jobs that will ask for your cooperation with this procedure, there are specific categories that actually mandate it.
Before looking at which job types specifically require checks, it’s helpful to understand why they are conducted in the first place. In a report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 572,000 nonfatal violent crimes occurred against people aged 16 or older while at work between 2005 and 2009. The highest rate of this nonfatal violence occurred with law enforcement personnel, security guards, and bartenders.
Although the number of occurrences of workplace violence is 35% lower than in the previous decade, it serves to highlight the purpose of background checks as a means of providing better security and safety for employees on the job. In fact, this is the sole purpose of the procedure — to protect employees, customers, and in some cases, even the company’s assets.
Jobs Requiring Checks
Now that we know why background checks are important, it will make more sense why the following types of jobs make a check mandatory prior to hiring.
- Government jobs always require background checks, especially those associated with security, but also non-political positions such as a postal officer or librarian.
- Any position in which an employee interacts with children, elderly, or disabled people will generally necessitate screening as well. These include teaching, daycare, homecare, and assisted living jobs.
- Legal and financial jobs primarily require your background to be checked in order to prevent fraudulent use of legal or monetary materials. Banks and law offices are examples of when this would apply.
- Large corporations often require all potential employees to be screened prior to hiring just to reduce the numbers overall of potential workplace violence. Given the mass number of employees processed on a regular basis, these companies are playing the odds to ensure safety on a large scale.
- Truck drivers may also be checked specifically for driving records as they often transport hundreds of thousands of dollars in goods across the country. In this case, the product is the primary concern.
- Those with military backgrounds are often subject to a mandatory background check to ensure they do not have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or some other kind of issue that would cause them to be a risk in the workplace in terms of security.
What The Checks Include
Depending on the position being applied for, an employer may only be concerned with specific elements of a background check. However, all checks generally look at the same basic details (as listed by privacyrights.org).
- Driving, credit, criminal, court, education, medical, military, and incarceration records
- Social Security number
- Workers’ compensation
- Property ownership
- Past employers
- Personal references
- Sex offender lists
- Neighbor interviews
- Vehicle registration
Based on the information given under each of these categories, an employer can determine how great a risk a person would be in the workplace environment. For specific jobs, a potential hire may be screened more thoroughly in one area versus the rest.
For example, a supply driver might be checked extensively on his driving record but his housing situation or history could be less important. On the other hand, financial or legal positions probably require a thorough check of all areas since the job itself involves higher confidentiality and security.
What Cannot Be Included?
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the only things that cannot be reported in a background check or screening include the following:
- Bankruptcies after 10 years
- Civil suits, judgments, and records of arrest after seven years from date of entry
- Paid tax liens after seven years
- Accounts placed for collection after seven years
- Any other negative information (except criminal convictions) after seven years
This allows individuals who may have had disqualifications in their past to receive a clean slate after seven or more years. This way, good citizens and those who have become upstanding since prior misbehaviors can achieve the status of an upstanding individual after a period of time.