Why You Should Run Your Background Check

07/07/2022 09:30 AM By Kayla Florence

When you are applying for a new job, you may come across employers who require that a background check be run. To prevent being denied a job you are hoping for because of an error, it is important to consider running your own.

Catching Common Mistakes:

It is not unusual for a background check to reflect an inconsistency or two. Ideally, you would catch these mistakes before your potential employer does and the negative impression affects your future in the job position. Though it is possible to correct inaccurate information after a background check is run, it is more efficient to be proactive in checking it out yourself before the process begins. After carefully reviewing the results of your background screening, you can ensure there are no errors displayed.

Though there are many background check services online, make sure the one you choose follows the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Just any online background investigation may not indicate all the information that would be included in the one your employer would do. Background checks that are FCRA-compliant are more thorough and similar to what an employer would see when running yours.

I Ran My Background Check—Now What?

1.  Look for common mistakesImagine staring at a robbery charge that you were never convicted for from many years ago on your background check. Your name, social security number, signature, driver’s license, credit card, and criminal records are common mistakes that can be found during background screenings. A misspelled first or last name, an incorrect social security number, a falsified signature, a suspended driver’s license taken out in your name, an inaccurate credit card debt claim, or the inclusion of legal cases that have been sealed or expunged, can all affect the way you look on paper and make someone not want to hire you. Look very closely at each detail reflected and make sure it is all correct.

2.  Find the source of the error. Once a mistake is identified, contact the reporting agency and determine where the misinformation was obtained. They should be able to tell you where they got their reports from. There may be an area on the company’s website where you can submit a form and personal documents as evidence of the inaccuracy of their report. You may also dispute data from your background check by mail or phone.

3.  Report identity theftIf the inaccuracies on the report suggest, your identity may have been tampered with or stolen. You may consider identity theft if anything revealed on your report is a complete surprise to you. Common clues of identity theft occurring on background checks include unfamiliar credit card debt, unheard-of criminal charges, and a signature you do not recognize.



Is My Employer Following the FCRA?

If there is an issue with your background check, an employer has specific requirements on how to move forward in adherence to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

First off, they may not hire any other applicant for that role until your dispute is settled. Along with this, the employer must alert you of their hesitancy to hire you because of details detected in your background check; you will have five business days to reply to this notice. The employer is required to provide you with a copy of the report, a summary of your rights under the FCRA, and the contact details of the credit reporting agency they got the information from.

  • Any existing or potential employer must have written consent to run a background check.
  • You must be advised if a background check has had an impact on the hiring process.
  • You have the right to obtain a copy of the background report used.
  • You are entitled to challenge any error on your background check
  • Any error on your background check must be amended within 30 days of your dispute.
  • Employers, consumer reporting agencies, and background checks companies that breach the Fair Credit Reporting Act are subject to legal action.

Final Thoughts

The next time you find yourself consenting to a background check for an employer, you should consider running your own as well. This way, you can be aware of any mistakes that may exist in the report before they reach the employer. If there is a fallacy, there is a formal process for correcting it and preventing it from returning in future screenings. If you are not hired because of information from a background check, you are entitled to certain rights highlighted in the FCRA. 

Background Partners does not offer or provide legal advice of any kind. Any information on this website is educational information only.