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Have you been asked to submit to a pre-employment background check? It’s important to know that you have a right to know what the employer will be checking for, and must sign a consent form in advance. There is a laundry list of items included in every background check performed on a job seeker, but there is also a list of items that cannot be included. Some of the items that are legally permitted to be in a background check include driver history, credit history, education records, criminal records, bankruptcy, property ownership, past work experience, social security number, drug test records, sex offender lists and much more.

Items not permitted in a background check include bankruptcies (after 10 years), paid tax liens (after 7 years), civil judgments or civil suits (after 7 years), records of arrest (7 years from date of entry), and accounts in collections (after 7 years).

How to Prepare for a Background Check

There are some things that a job seeker can do to prepare for a background check prior to it being conducted. One of those things is ordering a copy of your credit report. This is a great way to check for any issues on the report. Dispute the issue with the reporting bureau before you have to explain it to the interviewer.

Another thing you should do prior to a background check is looking over your personnel file from your previous job. In most states, laws allow former employees to see their personnel files up until one year from the final day on the job. This will help you prepare for the background check by knowing what it is the future employer will see. Any paperwork that has your signature on it can be copied for you to take with you.

You should consider cleaning your digital footprint prior to a background check. Create Google alerts for your name so you can monitor any content posted with your name on it or mentioned in it. You should also clean your social media profiles to make sure they are appropriate and free of foul language or inappropriate pictures.

If you have applied for a job that requires you to drive a company car, review your DMV records. This can easily be done by requesting a copy of your driving records from your local DMV. Make sure there is nothing wrong on your driving record that would affect your standing with the company.

Prior to a background check, it is important for you to know what a company will discover about your past work, education and personal life. Prepare for the check by performing one on yourself if you have the time and the means.


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