Just a few decades back, the baby boomer generation committed their entire career to a single organization. But today, there are far more opportunities, and pursuing your career aspirations is no longer a far-fetched dream. Changing jobs frequently has become the norm, and there’s little that will stand in your way if you’ve got the right expertise and experience.
But this doesn’t mean it’s all a breeze. Candidates today face more competition than any of their predecessors. So, building skills and competencies has become crucial to stand out from the crowd. Another hurdle is the employee background check. With a majority of employers conducting pre-employment screenings, keeping an unblemished track record even outside work has become a necessity that you can’t overlook.
But this is easier said than done. Today, a background check for employment could be pretty in-depth. Hiring managers aren’t just satisfied by looking at a resume, conducting interviews, and putting the candidate through skill tests. With more advanced solutions available to make background checks easier, they’re going all the way to look into the most personal and confidential information of potential employees to understand them better. And what they unravel could have a significant influence on the hiring decision.
Reasons for failing a background check
There are several reasons that frequently lead to a failed background check. Some of them are deliberate mistakes, while external events may sway others. But many can be avoided once you understand their impact.
So, what are the most common reasons for failing an employee background check? Let’s find out.
1. Giving out inaccurate information.
A surprising number of candidates give out misleading information, either during interviews or on their resumes. For example, they could exaggerate work experience or underplay how they’ve got fired by a past employer. But the fact is, it’s nearly impossible to outsmart recruiters. They’re trained to identify suspicious or contradictory details. And a background check is an easy tool to validate and verify candidate information.
People search sites offer pretty extensive reports nowadays that could give out more information about your employment history than you may wish to divulge. But it gets worse. These reports could even include details about your personal life, from your full name, aliases, and home address to details about your family, friends, neighbors, and associates.
The bottom line is, recruiters can easily verify any inaccurate information you provide using a background check. So, sticking to facts and being transparent with them is essential. Of course, genuine mistakes could happen, too. But a hiring manager may see it as a deliberate attempt to mislead them. As a result, it could become a reason to fail a candidate. To avoid such blunders, double-check all details like dates and names. And familiarize yourself with what’s on your resume before going for an interview so you can avoid making contradicting remarks.
2. Social media activities
According to one survey, at least 70% of employers go through a candidate’s social media activities as part of the screening process. Any inappropriate content they find could severely thwart your chances of getting hired. So, as a general rule, stay clear of defamatory, offensive, or discriminatory material. Even a like or comment you make could implicate you one day.
Be particularly mindful of the type of content you share on these platforms. Uploading drunk photos or half-dressed ones may not leave a great impression on potential employers. Delete posts that might put off a hiring manager. Instead, use social media to build a positive image of yourself and to showcase your creativity. Make it a tool to improve your hiring potential.
3. Identity theft
Becoming a victim of identity theft could leave you in a precarious position. For example, it could add a criminal record under your name. And there’s a good chance you might not even find out until years later. Unfortunately, by that time, the damage may have already been done. So, it’s important to run your own background check before a potential employer does. It’s the only way to avoid any unpleasant surprises for both you and the hiring manager.
Identifying any signs of an identity breach in advance will help you remove inaccurate information tagged to your name. You can even complain to the police and the Federal Trade Commission. The official reports they issue will be crucial to set the record straight with recruiters.
4. Bad references
Hiring managers will naturally check references by speaking to your former bosses and colleagues. And one bad remark could create doubt and cost you your dream job. So, ensure you select referees who can provide a positive recommendation on your behalf. Keeping in touch with ex-colleagues and parting ways with bosses on good terms are equally essential.
But there are several other steps that could help you gain positive references. LinkedIn, for example, allows users to request recommendations from those in their professional network. So it’s an excellent option to obtain a few personal references and post the best ones under your profile.
5. Poor credit checks
Recruiters could inquire into your financial information, especially if the position you have applied for involves some form of financial responsibility. Of course, some laws could prevent employers from checking your credit reports in certain instances. But today, accessing financial data such as mortgages, debt, and lien records is not that difficult. When information is readily available, you can never tell what a potential employer could check without your knowledge. So, responsible handling of your debt obligations could be paramount not just for your financial health but also to ensure you get hired.
All these five factors could severely hamper your chances of getting hired, regardless of your experience and expertise. But in many instances, you can rectify them well in advance with a good understanding of what employers expect to see in high potential candidates.