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What to do if you're worried about a pre-employment background check

What to do if you're worried about a pre-employment background check

Your options regarding company screening checks

If you're worried about a pre-employment background check, make sure you're honest in your resume and job application. If you lie about your qualifications, your work history or your previous job titles it will be found out during the screening process and no matter how well you performed at interview it will reflect badly on your application.

If you've been offered a job and realise that the employer may find out about a discrepancy on your resume it might be worth calling the manager who interviewed you and alerting them to this before the check goes ahead. If you play down the 'oversight', the fudging of dates or the exaggerated job title and give an honest explanation for your action you may salvage the offer. In most cases it’s better to reduce the impact of a discovery on the pre-employment background check by mentioning it in advance.



How to do deal with screening if you've got a criminal record

If you're worried about more serious issues such as a criminal record, a bad driving record or bad credit history and you think this may affect your job application you'd be advised to mention it tactfully at interview. At least this way you get a chance to explain and defend yourself before the company 'discovers' your history themselves.

You'll be best prepared for your pre-employment background check by knowing what information is stored about you and what your prospective employer may find out during a check. Ask previous employers for copies of your employment file and speak to your references about what they might say about you. Check your driving record with the Department of Motor Vehicles and get a copy of your credit report. Make sure all the information contained in the credit report is correct. If there are any errors, dispute it with your creditor.

Even if you think you can disguise some of the information that may surface in a pre-employment background check, or hope that an employer won't find out something in your history, it's really not worth lying. For example, if you have a history of substance abuse, have been in rehab and have kicked the habit you're better off admitting this to your employer and showing them you really are over it than having them discover your history when you’ve no chance to defend yourself.

Although you may get the job by default if the employer doesn't carry out a full check, the truth will often surface at a later date and may lead to dismissal - getting the job, losing it and ruining your employment history is worse than missing out on a job in the first place. Be accurate and truthful in all the information you present to the employer and you should have little to worry about.