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What Shows Up in a Background Check

What Shows Up in a Background Check

A background check refers to a scrutiny or sneak peek into an individual's criminal, financial, and commercial records and compiling them to keep a track of his dealings. This article tells you what shows up in a background check.
Medha Godbole
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
A background check is done in case of high profile corporate positions, and of course it, forms a major part of a criminal investigation. It helps you know an individual's financial and criminal records. Basically, it is asked for by employers, on job seekers, and especially for high rung positions, to evaluate the candidates better. If they are given a clean chit by the institution or the agency, who does a low down on their backgrounds, it becomes easier for the employers. It also depends on what kind of a job is being applied for and where. If it is a government agency job, there would be extensive checks on the employee, while there would hardly be anything for a common, run of the mill salary job. In this article, let's find out what shows up in a background check and why it is done.

Visualize a situation where you are in front of a panel of interviewers. Everything is going fine until they pop up a question regarding your credit history or credit report. You make up a good sounding answer, knowing that you have devils lurking in your mind. You just hide the truth for creating a good impression, so that they don't write you off. And oops! There goes. The interviewers have caught you on the wrong foot. They know exactly what information have you covered up. You are agape and wonder how it was possible for them to know. Well, it's no miracle, it's just a simple check.

What is Involved?

There are many aspects included in it, from a criminal record to a working status record, or even a citizenship record. Here is a list of a few of them -

In the Good Books of the Law?

The most important thing, which shows up is the criminal record or incarceration. A thorough check on the criminal records of the candidate or candidates is done. There are many websites, which offer a free and instantaneous check. A common tool is the country criminal search. However, there are some record searches which are precise and accurate, and there are some which may not be foolproof. Illegal immigration, citizenship, or working status is also a part of a criminal record check, along with the conventional criminal record check pertaining to murder, robbery, and so on.

To talk about a different aspect of criminal investigation, there is another issue - Will a misdemeanor show up in the check? Well, a misdemeanor is not as serious as felony. It can be expunged once the person involved turns 18, in cases when it has been committed before the age of 18. But if it is committed after the age of 18, then it appears in criminal records. Still, the reason can be explained if the misdemeanor is indeed explainable. This will ensure that the candidate is not ruled out of an appointment, even in government services. Vandalism, prostitution, trespassing, petty theft, and similar things, are all categorized as misdemeanors.

One for the Road

Driving and vehicle record comes up more often in this check, in case a company wants to hire drivers. The candidates applying for such position should be clean of any traffic tickets or accidents.

Money Matters

Well, you better be clear on your credit history, repayments, debts, financial records, and credit reports, because even that is involved in this report.

Don't be Intoxicated

Drug addiction and consumption of any intoxicating substances, is checked for conformation with corporate ethics.


Apart from the earlier mentioned factors, your prior employment records, educational records, government licensing records, medical records, travel records, social security numbers, personal interviews, litigation records with acquaintances, etc., are also involved. The analysis of all this shows up in a background check.

These were just a few pointers. The more high profile the job - for example, in an intelligence agency or for a top position in a multinational company, the more stringent and extensive the check will be. So, the next time you go for a job interview, beware, as you never know what can be probed about you and you could come out pondering over, saying, "Whoa, even I didn't know this about myself!"

Medical record in hands