What An Employment Background Check May — Or May Not — Find

By Diane Stafford
The Kansas City Star

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Many employers hire reference-checking firms to dig into applicants’ work histories, possible legal or criminal records and ask for comments from previous bosses or human resource departments. It’s a reminder to be honest and accurate with any dates you list. And be sure you get the name of schools or organizations exact. If a background check reveals discrepancies, that may throw your application into the round file, even if it’s just a minor error.

The Kansas City Star

A friend of mine recently landed a high-paying, high-responsibility professional job. As a courtesy, she called the people whom she listed as references to thank them for their help in her job hunt.

Not one of them had been called by the company that hired her.

So it goes in the complicated field of job searching and hiring. Job hunters must assume that their references will be checked, just as they have to assume that they’ll be asked to provide a urine sample for a drug analysis. But it’s possible neither will happen.

A new survey for CareerBuilder by Harris Poll reported that about three-fourths of employers conduct background checks before they hire someone, and slightly more than half require drug tests.

Job hunters: You aren’t likely to know exactly what your prospective employer will do.

Even organizations that require a list of references may end up not making the calls. Chalk it up to being rushed in the hiring process or maybe being frustrated at repeated refusals by former employers to share any valuable performance feedback beyond basic information such as dates of hire and departure.

But consider even that bit of information. It’s a reminder to be honest and accurate with any dates you list. And be sure you get the name of schools or organizations exact. If a background check reveals discrepancies, that may throw your application into the round file, even if it’s just a minor error.

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