Episode 82: Truth in Background Checks


May 17th, 2022

17 mins 33 secs

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About this Episode

Today we’re talking about background checks. Background checks are a standard piece of company’s hiring processes. The company takes the resume and verifies education, employment, and criminal records. Sometimes they also do things like drug tests.

Both of us have had to rescind offers or eliminate employment based on background investigations, and each of those situations could have been avoided.

The net net: be honest. It establishes trust.

Background checks include references. A bad reference check can cause doubt and we’ve seen offers get rescinded because of them. So be aware and make sure all of your references will speak positively about you!

Different industries (especially regulated industries like healthcare, financial services, and government) have different requirements including FBI checks and credit checks. Do your research to know what to expect.

For most companies, they ask if you have any felonies, arrests, or other criminal records. TELL THE TRUTH. Yes, that arrest for drunk and disorderly on Spring Break ‘97 WILL show up on the report. If you’re honest, you should be ok. We’ve only seen issues when there are discrepencies between the application or resume and the check. Make sure you’re always as honest as possible!

For education checks, if you claim to have a diploma, make sure that the school will confirm that you have the diploma. Taking credits does not equal a degree. Finishing coursework but not taking exams does not equal a degree. Having a financial hold means that there is a hold on your degree and you can not claim it.

We have seen when someone doesn’t know that there is a financial hold (and they even walked), and we’ve seen companies go both ways when this happens -- they might rescind the offer, or they might let it go and follow-through with the hire. Still, if you aren’t sure, check with the school before claiming the degree.

We encourage you to keep good records of the dates of your jobs. If you don’t know for sure, say “approx”. Just disclose whatever you can.

What about changing your title on your resume to make it more searchable? That's ok -- your resume and Linkedin are marketing tools. BUT, you want to make sure any application states your true title, no matter how goofy it is. There’s a difference between changing the words on your title and lying about your title. We’re begging you to tell the truth.