We’re pleased to have a guest blogger today to give a unique perspective on the recruiting process most haven’t thought of. A big thanks to Backgroundchecks.com for providing valuable content to our job seekers. We couldn’t agree more that it’s crucial for candidates to know all the skeletons in their closets before getting in the hot seat.
If you are planning on commencing or continuing a job search in 2014, you can bet that you are going to find yourself up against a few pre-employment background checks. While many job hunters think that either their resume, their job application, or their interview is the most important step of the job screening process, it is becoming more and more common for employers to look into the backgrounds of their applicants. As a result, it is also becoming more common for applicants to miss out on job opportunities because of something unflattering in their background.
In other words, while you are perfecting your resume, checking and double checking your job application, and answering practice interview questions, you should also make a point to run a background check on yourself. Doing so could be the difference in landing a dream job and missing out on a golden opportunity.
Should you choose to do a background check on yourself, you need to make sure that you are looking at your background with the eye of an employer. Trying to assess your personal information as a virtual stranger would, and attempting to formulate as objective a viewpoint of yourself that you can, will help you to understand why parts of your background are problematic for employers. Once you know that information, you can do damage control and try to reposition yourself as an attractive applicant, despite your possible shortcomings. As you comb through your background, ask yourself the following questions.
Is all of my information correct? It’s a sad fact of the background check industry that, every once in awhile, a pre-employment screening will return inaccurate information. An employer’s eye won’t catch the false facts, and will view them as part of your background. You, on the other hand, will be able to pick out inaccurate information quickly. Whether your check returns someone else’s criminal record or an unflattering credit score that you don’t think reflects your financial history, make sure to contact the proper authorities to fix the information prior to your job search.
Do I have criminal convictions? If you’ve missed out on a few jobs due to a background check, you are justified in feeling frustrated. However, running a background check on yourself and looking at your report objectively may help you to understand where employers are coming from when they choose to reject your application. If your criminal record contains a violent felony – or even a non-violent crime or a few minor misdemeanors – those offenses may be portraying you as a risky employment prospect. If you are unhappy with your criminal record, consider looking into expungement.
How does your online presence make you look? In the modern age, many hiring managers supplement their pre-employment background checks with appraisals of applicants’ social media profiles. Unlike your criminal background, you have direct control over what goes up on your Facebook account, so take a glance at your page with the eye of an employer. If you were a hiring manager, would you hire yourself? Or do you have inappropriate posts and photos that posit you as an immature applicant? If the answer to the second question is yes, make efforts to reverse it.
Michael Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.