How Far Back Does an Employment Background Check Go?

Any job-seeker can tell you that’s it is difficult to get a job, even with the strong job gains in our economy.
More and more positions demand higher level skills to keep up with the advancements in technology and the increased competition.
Aside from these barriers, once you get your foot in the door, you may worry about the employment background check.
Even with seemingly nothing to hide, the mysterious quality of how far back an employment background check actually goes can be daunting.
The basic parts of a background check include employment and criminal record history, but social media checks are becoming increasingly popular as well.
We’ll go into more detail below.

Employment verification

One of the primary parts of a background check is prior employment verification.
An employer will seek out the best background checks to confirm that a potential employee has the past experience necessary to fulfil the job requirements.
Hiring an unqualified candidate can mean lost productivity, and employers want to limit that at all costs when onboarding a new employee.
Typically, an employment background check looks back at around seven years of your employment history.
But this depends on how long you have been employed and how accessible your prior employers are. Another aspect of verifying these types of credentials involves looking at your education.
In most cases, only postsecondary education will be verified as relevant to the position.

Criminal records check

Another pertinent portion when an employer is looking into a background check is the history of criminal activity.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prohibits the use of just any criminal record to screen potential employees versus just relevant convictions.
Employers looking at these records should take into consideration how applicable arrest records, charges, and convictions are to the job itself, and how old they are.
Typically, arrest records and civil lawsuits older than seven years are not necessarily reported.
This prevents automatically throwing out good candidates with unrelatedly tainted records.
Credit checks, if related to the job, may be part of the background check process in about 50 per cent of employment background checks.

Social media usage

Social media use has risen mightily, and its impact is undeniable in how you can be perceived within your social circle.
As of late, it has controversially been added to some background check processes.
In fact, around 60 percent of employers use social media in their employment process.
This kind of check is often seen as an incredibly subjective way to look into potential employees’ lives, despite how well they might perform in the job role.
While some states have laws against this, an employer could even request your social media passwords, which means that the stretch of history that they could look back on is extensive.
Unless the job you are hoping for is social media-based, turn your public channels into private modes to limit what someone else can freely view.
Trends and laws on how background checks work will develop as employers’ needs change and employee habits update.
For now, the rule of thumb to keep in mind is that most aspects of background checks will go back around seven years into the past.
This ensures that a recent and accurate picture of a new hire is compiled to protect the company and the potential employee.
Along with making sure that relevant information is accessible, protecting your social media presence can help your case when seeking employment.
You can also try PeopleFinders which is a leading provider for businesses and consumers seeking detailed insights on things, people and places in the United States. It helps businesses and consumers instantly search billions of records spanning the last 40 years, and deliver more accurate and comprehensive results than its competitors.


Navrajvir Singh
Navrajvir Singh
Entrepreneur. Strategist. Think Tank.

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