You’ve been looking for a new job for some time, and you think you’ve finally found a role that jumps out at you. You read through the key requirements for the job, and you’ve ticked everything off that list. You have all the right experience, and you are more than confident of being good at this specific role.
As a result, you sent off your application and received an email inviting you to an interview. You nailed the interview, and you’re pretty darn confident of landing the job. Unfortunately, another email comes through saying that you didn’t quite get it. Sometimes, this is because there is a better candidate than you. But, what often happens is you fail the background checks an employer will do before hiring someone.
Typically, there are three main things that an employer will check. Understanding what these checks involve will help you prepare for them in the future. Therefore, you can stop them from being what prevents you from getting the job.
Every employer will run a general check to see if you have a criminal record. While it isn’t impossible to get a job with a criminal record, it does make your life a lot harder. Especially if you haven’t indicated that you have a criminal record beforehand. If someone has to conduct this search and it flags you up, then it can come as a big surprise. Already, the fact you have a criminal record might not sit right with a company – though this depends on what you were convicted of.
Nevertheless, it’s more the fact that you tried to hide this part of your history. It’s something that you should be open and honest about during an interview, and employers will respect this. It shows them that you aren’t trying to hide anything and that you’re being upfront with them. As a result, they might not care about your criminal record if it’s something minor that happened a long time ago.
Most employers will ask you to list some references as part of the job application. If they don’t, they may call you after an interview and ask for them at this stage. Calling your references will form part of their employment history background check. Effectively, they want to make sure that everything aligns with what you’ve told them. It prevents cases when you might lie about your employment history to make it seem like you have more experience than you actually do. A quick call to one of your references can confirm or deny what you’ve stated during the application and interview.
Similarly, they will conduct more detailed checks when looking at your resume. They are likely to see if you actually did work at the places you stated you worked at. Again, this is to prevent people from lying about work experience. Of course, you should have nothing to worry about if you are honest in your application. Don’t lie about where you worked, don’t put down fake references; just be honest. Lying will always come back to bite you in the future, so it’s just not worth it.
Lastly, many employers will conduct a background search of your general online presence. This includes all of your social media accounts and your online footprint. The aim is to see who you are as a person and if you are truly a good fit for the business. Employers will look for any controversial things that might put them off hiring you – like bad tweets, strange social media likes, and so on. From their perspective, this check can stop them from making a mistake and hiring someone that doesn’t align with the company culture and could cause problems for them in the future.
Generally, you should always turn your social media profiles to private when applying for jobs. This hides everything you post – and everything you have posted. It is also a good idea to take other steps to clean your online reputation, like removing any controversial content and looking for negative content against you. The goal is for an employer to do some research into your online presence and find mostly positive stuff. There shouldn’t be anything that makes them think twice about hiring you.
These background checks can be carried out at any stage of the hiring process, but it’s usually the last step before someone decides if you’re hired or not. To avoid falling at the last hurdle, ensure you are well set up to deal with these checks. Ultimately, the best things you can do is avoid lying on your job application and clean up your online presence!