Home Tips & Tricks How Do Background Screening Checks for Employment Work, and Should I Be...

How Do Background Screening Checks for Employment Work, and Should I Be Concerned?


Imagine a male applicant who has just scaled the interview process. The HR manager turns to him and says, “Congratulations! Now that we’re done, the offer is contingent on a background check, but I do not anticipate any problems”. The applicant then replies with a nonchalant, “Yeah”. However, his heart races because he doesn’t know what’s going to show up. He begins to ask, What does a background screening check entail? Should I be concerned about what they might uncover? This post aims to provide answers to these pressing questions.

What is a Background Screening Check?

A background check is a process that a company uses to verify that a person is whom they claim to be. It provides an opportunity for employers to check applicants’ criminal records, employment history, education, driving record, education, and other past activities to confirm their validity. 

Contrary to what TV crime movies portray, the process isn’t as straightforward as a computer whizz sitting in a dark room while pulling out everything about a person in an eye’s blink. Rather, it involves calling previous employers, universities, police checks, looking up public records, and more. It typically takes between 2 to 5 working days to complete but can sometimes take longer depending on many other factors.

A Background Screening Check May includes Any of The Following:

  • Employment background checks
  • Education and professional licenses verification
  • Credit history checks
  • Driving records
  • Drug test
  • International background checks… and more. 

Major Sources of Concerns

Here are some of the major fears applicants have while they await the results of their background checks, and also, how to deal with them.

Concern #1: How Does A Criminal Record Impact An Applicant?

About 84% of employers do criminal history checks to ensure workplace safety. While simple offense or old convictions may hold little bearing, more heinous crimes like violence, sexual harassment or theft will have a negative impact. For roles involving working with children or the elderly, a person with a violent record or a sex offender will not be employed. 

Concern #2: Will Speeding Tickets Show Up on The Background Check?

Employers can pull out your driving record in a background check, but a few speeding tickets should do you no harm unless your role involves driving. 

Concern #3: How does credit history affect an applicant’s chances?

A credit history check is used to determine an applicant’s financial state and how well he or she manages their finances. This is extremely crucial in financial roles where the applicant will be required to handle money. 

Concern #4: What Happens If An Applicant Is Caught In A Lie?

About 85% of applicants lie or embellish the truth in their resume. While a simple embellishment might be overlooked, a serious lie like forging a degree or professional certifications will be frowned at because it seriously questions the competence of the applicant. Moreover, no employer wants to work with a person that willingly tells lies. 

Concern #5: What Happens If An Applicant Is Denied Employment-Based On The Result Of The Background Check?

If this happens, the employer has to send a written explanation for their decision. The applicant can also legally request for a copy of the background check. If it turns out that there were some inaccuracies (background checks are not 100% foolproof), the applicant should contest the result and ensure that all misconceptions are clarified so it wouldn’t cost him or her another opportunity in the future.



As long as the applicant is honest in all the stages of the hiring process, there’s little to worry about. Furthermore, applicants should do background checks on themselves so they can see the information potential employers may find. This provides them with an opportunity to make corrections if there are inaccuracies. Moreover, it positions applicants to be better prepared in explaining their checkered past to prospective employers.