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I have been interviewing with a Fortune 50 company for almost 2 months now. I've gone through the entire recruiting process and received an offer this week. I signed and returned the offer, signed the employee agreement, and have a tentative start date. However, the offer is contingent on my background check, which is going on right now.

I *shouldn't* have anything to worry about. However, I'm very excited about this position and I think I'm simply overly paranoid that something is going to go wrong. Also, I do know someone that failed a background check with this employer because they couldn't confirm 7 years of his employment history (previous employers have gone out of business), and he mistyped his graduation date as 2004 instead of 1994 on his application (human error). Based on those 2 things they denied him the position. But I assume not being able to confirm employment history was a larger problem than the graduation typo. Nevertheless, his experience has me paranoid.

Here's my situation:

- I have no criminal record
- Verifying 7 years of employment history shouldn't be a problem. I only have 2 previous employers going back 14 years. They were both private companies when I hired on, and both were acquired by public companies. However, both companies still exist and I see no reason why verifying my employment would be a problem
- I don't have a degree, but a degreee was never discussed as a requirement for this position, and I don't have a degree listed on my resume. I have taken distance learning classes, and I've included my time enrolled in those courses on my background check application
- My drivers license was suspended for about a week a few years ago, due to a mixup over payment on a driving with expired plates ticket. That incident is the only thing on my driving record that I can think of. Haven't had a speeding ticket in many years
- I don't have the greatest credit, due to being impacted particularly hard when the dot com bubble burst. My credit from 2004 on is great, but a 7 year credit history will uncover some less than favorable stuff from 2001 - 2003. No bankruptcy though

Based on the above, does anyone think there are any flags that I should worry about? What are the main things that companies are looking for during a background check? Obviously a criminal record, particularly for violent and/or sex crimes is probably a deal breaker, but I don't have anything to worry about there. I can see how a low credit score may be a problem for a candidate applying for a position that involves handling cash, perhaps out of fear that they would be tempted to steal. But I won't be handling cash.

I also know that the hiring manager is very motivated to hire me. The recruiter I've been working with has on numerous occasion told me that the hiring manager "really likes me", and I know people at this company that have put in recommendations for me, and I have received feedback from them indicating that the hiring manager has made very positive comments about me. Finally, when I accepted the offer earlier this week, the recruiter told me that the hiring manager was on vacation this week, but that he would be "anxiously checking email looking for my acceptance". So I guess my point is that if even if some red flags turned up on my background check, the hiring manager seems motivated to find a way to work through them.

Thoughts?

BJ_Marshall's picture

I wouldn't worry about things you cannot change. Ball's in their court now, and you worrying won't make their process better.

I would think that, if anything questionable came up, they'd ask you about it.

Don't worry; be happy. Great - now that song's going to be stuck in my head all day.

BJ

KS180's picture

Having gone thru background checks myself and having instituted them on others; you have nothing that appears to be a problem. As long as everything you have said is the truth.

Sit back for awhile and enjoy the show. Let us know how it goes. Good luck!

AManagerTool's picture

Just an FYI for all of those out there that have some form of criminal record. You can get what is called an expungement. Basically, your sins are forgiven and your records are sealed. The only time that it comes up is if you try to get a job as a cop of some kind.

You can buy a gun, pass security checks, and legally say "No, I do not have a criminal record." without fear of any reprecussion.

This is NOT for hardcore violent criminals, sex offenders etc. It's for those of us who may have had a bit of a more turbulent youth but have seen the light. It also has no effect on your driving record so while your DWI arrest/conviction might get taken away...it's still there on your driving record.

Here is a link on how to do it yourself for each state:
[url]http://criminal.findlaw.com/crimes/expungement/expungement-state-info.ht...

pmoriarty's picture

[quote="AManagerTool"]Just an FYI for all of those out there that have some form of criminal record. You can get what is called an expungement. Basically, your sins are forgiven and your records are sealed. The only time that it comes up is if you try to get a job as a cop of some kind.

You can buy a gun, pass security checks, and legally say "No, I do not have a criminal record." without fear of any reprecussion.

This is NOT for hardcore violent criminals, sex offenders etc. It's for those of us who may have had a bit of a more turbulent youth but have seen the light. It also has no effect on your driving record so while your DWI arrest/conviction might get taken away...it's still there on your driving record.

Here is a link on how to do it yourself for each state:
[url]http://criminal.findlaw.com/crimes/expungement/expungement-state-info.ht...

Most applications that I have seen get around this by asking you if you have ever been arrested. You can often get a conviction expunged, but a record of your arrest remains.

AManagerTool's picture

Not true....Expungement erases arrests as well. They go to great detail to seal all records pertaining to any arrest, conviction etc that you have had up to that point. That means that it covers you if you had multiple minor transgressions as well. The order that expunges the record is sent to the state police, the FBI, county prosecutors offices and any local municipal police force that did the arresting. You can sue anyone who doesn't obey that expungement and discloses that you were arrested or convicted.

Let me add that during the proceedings (I attended someones hearing and helped him prepare/file the papers for it....don't ask!) the judge instructs the petitioner that they are now legally entitled to tell any employer that they have never been arrested or convicted of a crime. The only exception is law enforcement agencies. Oh, and if they are ever in front of a judge again....it gets used against them at sentencing.

In other words, there is no getting around it for employers. The people of the state of NJ...whatever have forgiven you your transgressions.

thaGUma's picture

Don’t panic. The investigators have seen it all before and will not/should not be caught up in anything other than fact. I have been through similar (Google DV check) and surprised that candour counts double. Be honest, don’t worry

MNawabi's picture

Being that I plan on going into the professional world sometime soon...Is there some way to find out my employment record through for example the Social Security office or where would I go or what would I have to do in order to find all the information out in order to verify that it's 100% correct.

bug_girl's picture

I have seen background checks--and credit checks--become almost routine for many of the big corporations that recruit at the universities that I used to work at.

I don't see it as out of the ordinary.

(Although, I do see it as pretty intrusive on the companies' part to look at your credit record and medical records!)

garyslinger's picture

[quote="bug_girl"](Although, I do see it as pretty intrusive on the companies' part to look at your credit record and medical records!)[/quote]
Why would I delegate budget and expense authority to someone that cannot control their own finances?

G.

WillDuke's picture

When I do background checks it includes a credit check. Automatically. I have never asked for this specifically. I think this is completely normal. And I'm glad I get it.

The theory, as I understand it, is that if someone has major financial issues they might be more tempted to take advantage of an opportunity.

We do IT Consulting for financial institutions, specifically a couple of banks. We have to be very careful.

Also, we give a copy of the report to the applicant/employee.

bug_girl's picture

I work with a lot of first-generation students who come into college with parents (or from the foster system) who never taught them to manage money.
Or never [i]had[/i] money.

These students are the ones that get that free credit card in college and make some dumb mistakes. They are penalized for not having someone teach them what not to do.

There are also kids that just are irresponsible--but the majority of the students I work with were just baffled by the system, and trying to fix their mistakes.
It's hard to address that in a cover letter. :(

Also, while I know exactly why companies ask for medical disclosures, I don't think that it's fair, particularly under the Americans with Disabilities act.

masha's picture

Hi everyone,

I need an advice as well. I have something to worry about in my background check: it is my criminal record. I am currently working in England (nobody checks here the criminal records) but I am thinking to come back to the United States and I am afraid that having the criminal record will affect the possibility of my employment. My case was dismissed by the court so I don't need expungement, as expungement (if granted) is effectively dismisses the case. But I am still worried about background checks as I was arrested as well. I am not sure what is going to show on the background check. First of all, in my last company, the background check was done only for the past 7 years. I did what I did 4 years ago, so does it mean that in just 3 years, nothing will be showing on my background check or it will stay with me forever, as it seems like the private and public criminal databases retain the information forever.

Also, I am not sure that record expungement erases arrest as well.
I have been talking to couple of the attorneys that specialize on the record removal but I cannot still fully understand the background check side of the problem. It is important for me as I can stay in England as here in it not an issue. (They do not run criminal checks at all. Only in financial services industry). But I would love to come back to the US and be hired. Please, advise if you know something.

WillDuke's picture

Can you just order up a background check on yourself? They only cost me $50 or so. There is an additional cost for adding additional states, but the basic isn't very expensive. Then instead of having to worry or wonder about it, you'll know right where you stand.

desmoface's picture

How far can they go back on employment checks?

Steve

thaGUma's picture

Steve - is that a skeleton I hear? Employment checks go back to varying degrees. Last one I did went back to grandparents for both my family and my wife's.

Remember time greatly reduces the imact of something not ideal. The follies of youth are forgiven.

Chris