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The 8 Different Types of Background Checks (and What They Reveal)

 February 7, 2017
Whether you’re looking to hire someone or you’re looking for a job yourself, background checks are a part of the process. Most applicants and hiring managers usually feel pretty comfortable with each other after a couple of interviews - but background checks are an important part of hiring. They help employers confirm that a prospective employee has a history of being trustworthy, and would be a great (reliable) addition to the company.
 
Many of us have agreed to have a background check performed on us during an interview process without really knowing what information employers actually check, and many hiring managers have run background checks without really knowing what happens between submitting an applicant's details and getting the OK.
In this post, we’ll break down some of the things employers will (and won't) find when performing background checks on applicants. Not every employer will perform every type of check - but it pays to be prepared, and to know your options
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1. Credit Check
These checks are done to look into someone’s credit history, and can only be performed with the express permission of the subject of the test. A person’s credit history is a compilation of reports by the three major credit agencies (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax), and can actually be had for free, once a year, by law.
 
Credit checks can be used to prove whether or not someone has the necessary means to pay rent on time, pay their car note, or handle someone’s money. Seeing a trend here? A credit check is a great way to check if someone is fiscally responsible - is able to manage their finances and live responsibly within their means.
Note: some states have made it illegal to base hiring decisions on a credit score - check to see if this affects you.

2. Driving Record
Are you a bit of a lead foot on the highway? You might want to steer away from positions with a heavy driving component. With permission, employers can run for a driving record check to prove that you have a history of being a safe driver. Everyone's driving record or MVR (Motor Vehicle Report) includes:
  •  Status of drivers license.
  •  Traffic accidents.
  •  Driving record points.
  •  Traffic law violations, convictions, and fines.
  •  DUI’s in public record.
  •  Whether a driver’s license is currently valid, suspended or canceled.
3. Education Verification
Resume exaggerators beware! Potential employers have the ability to fact check your resume, including your education history. This check is primarily used to confirm or deny that you received the level of education you claim - and where that education came from.

Often this part of a check is not involved in a regular background check, requiring a bit of legwork on the part of the hiring manager to call the university in question directly and receive confirmation.
4. Reference Check
If you’ve ever applied for a job, chances are you had to supply references - and you had better not be banking on your potential employer not calling them. References are used by employers to get a feel for what you’re like in the office, your past performance, and to fact check what you’ve told them - so don’t lie on your resume, and try to be nice and professional to everyone you come across. Not everyone does this, but it’s good practice for applicants to reach out to their references to let them know they’re likely to get a call. This doesn’t necessarily mean that references have their responses coached - it’s more of a professional courtesy.

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