We were all young once, and we did things we’d never do now that we know better, and understand the consequences of our actions. That includes postings on social media, sending photos of yourself to others that would make your grandmother turn red and even doing something that ended up in court. But those things are in the past and are long forgotten.
Or are they? Unfortunately, you may be applying for a job you consider the “dream job” of your career, and the company wants to make you an employment offer pending an employment background check. Suddenly, you flash back to all of those inappropriate things you did when you were young and carefree. Will they show up in the background check? Should you do something now before it’s too late?
Here’s a Closer Look at Background Checks
Here’s something you should know – as the article from OneRep shows, an employment background check can be pretty thorough, depending on the job you’re applying for and the company who’s orchestrating the background check. If the job you’re seeking is one that deals with sensitive or classified data, the employment check will be even more comprehensive.
It’s all for good reason, when you think about it. Companies don’t want to put themselves at risk because one employee decided to skirt the truth. So they’ll do everything within reason, and within the law, to verify that what you’re telling them is truthful and accurate. That includes your driving record, credit history, work and educational history, social media postings and profiles, court records, arrest records, warrants and, in many cases, it also includes drug testing.
The employment background check will red flag any discrepancies or anything that is considered inappropriate or that could be detrimental to the company. That might include criminal history, bankruptcies, behavioral issues, employment problems or issues of legal consequences. It could also include social media postings, as more than 50% of job applicants failed their background check due to what was on their social media sites.
Here’s some advice to consider: if you have something in your past that could be considered negative or something you’re concerned about should the company discover it, be upfront about it and tell the truth. We’ve all done things we wish we hadn’t, but by being upfront with your prospective employer it shows you have honesty and integrity in you.
Getting Ready for the Background Check
Not surprisingly, what’ll show up on your background check will also show up on Google, so a good place to start is by Googling yourself. If you find things that you don’t want to appear, don’t contact Google. Instead, proactively remove all pertinent data that you can from the web, which in turn will remove it from Google.
Start by Googling your name. You’ll need to remove whatever is negative from various websites where it came from, not directly from Google in most cases. This is just standard procedure – Google doesn’t create the data that it displays, it gets its data from other websites. lIf it’s from websites you don’t control, ask friends or colleagues who have posted it to have it removed, and inform them why it needs to come down.
A lot of data is gathered from people-search sites, like Intelius, Pipl and BeenVerified. Remove any of that unauthorized data from those sites and opt out. Just know that there are more than 100 of those sites and each one has its own unique way of removing information, so you may want to prepare to spend a lot of time doing this.
Review all of your social media sites using scrutiny the same way an employer would. See a posting you shouldn’t have done? Delete it. Inappropriate photos? Remove them. Put all of your social media settings on private, and consider adding a new one using a nickname, filled with content that anyone would be proud of.
Show your business acumen by posting comments on websites and professional social media sites specific to your job interests. Strengthen your LinkedIn profile and get friends and colleagues to add comments to your posting on LinkedIn. Another tactic to show your business knowledge is to create a web page with content that relates to the industry you’re applying for. The more content you can post that’s informative and relevant, the more you’ll move up in the Google rankings.
Another tactic is to search for industry websites that are well known and that rank high on Google and post comments that showcase your knowledge. The more sites you can post comments on, the better. It adds credibility to your industry knowledge and background, and will show up on your background check.
Check for Accuracy
Sometimes, people with similar names have their records mixed up. Worse yet, items will show up in your background check that are simply not true – all because you were a victim of identity theft. Check your credit using the free credit check from the FTC to make sure that there aren’t any accounts or items you’re not aware of, that would show you were the victim of identity theft. It’s up to you to check for accuracy, and it’s never been more important to be sure that someone else isn’t using your stolen identity.
You’ve worked hard in your profession and you want to be at top form when applying for a new job, and you don’t want an employment background check to derail your chances. Follow the tactics and advice presented here to boost your chances of getting hired. If for any reason you’re not hired due to the background check, the company must notify you, provide a written report on the information that prompted their decision, and provide the name of the company doing the background check.