What Does an Employee Background Check Consist of?

Be as honest and upfront as possible on job applications.
i Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

As a prerequistite to hiring, most employers require you to pass a background check. The background check confirms information placed on your job application. It also reveals information not included on the application. The extent of the background check varies by employer and the nature of the industry. By law, the employer must have your written consent before conducting a background check.

Criminal Records

One question always asked on job applications is whether you have ever been convicted of a crime or felony. The background check confirms whether your response to this question is true. It reveals criminal records to the employer, including arrest and conviction records and whether your name is on a registered sex offender list. The background check reveals the details of what happened and the date of the incident. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, arrests that happened more than seven years prior to the background check can not be reported. However, there is no time limit for reporting criminal convictions.

Lawsuit Records

An employee background check includes civil lawsuit records. It lets the employer know whether you have any judgments or liens against you. The FCRA prevents the reporting of judgments and liens that are more than seven years old. Depending upon whether the job you seek involves financial transactions, the employer may overlook judgments and liens. An example of jobs that pay attention to lawsuit records include credit card companies and banks.

Credit Check

The background check also includes a credit check to assess your credit worthiness. Some credit checks only reveal your credit score. Others reveal all of the details on your credit report, including whether you have filed for bankruptcy. The FCRA prevents bankruptcy cases more than 10 years old from appearing on your background check.

Driving Records

If you apply for a driving job, the employer will check your driving records, but driving history is not included on a regular background checks. This is information the employer must request from the state's department of motor vehicles. The driving records reveal to the employer whether you have moving or non-moving traffic violations on your record.

Other Miscellaneous Information

Background checks include all aliases you have used. They can confirm your Social Security number, a list of previous addresses, previous employers and military records. If the employer decides to do so, he can also perform his own independent research of your background by conducting an “investigative consumer report.” If you permit it, an investigative consumer report gives the employer permission to speak with those who know you personally and professionally. During an investigate consumer report, the employer asks questions about your character, reputation and lifestyle. Examples of people he may speak with include neighbors, relatives and previous employers.

the nest