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Background Checks – A Detailed Guide

Most people think that to run a background check you should turn to a private investigation bureau or a security company. In fact, background checks are easy to do yourself, with a little time and effort.

Background checks are widely used in business, human relations, media, education and even for screening day care workers. In many companies, background checks along with psychological tests and screenings have become integral part of hiring a person for higher level positions. You may choose to run a free background check when hiring a live-in caregiver or a nanny.

In many areas of employment, companies choose to run a background check to protect them from potential legal action. Background checks have become more common also after the tragic 9/11 events. For example, no one would wish to unknowingly hire a sales manager who had been found guilty of larceny in another country.

For many headhunters and employers, background checks can be as simple as getting a credit report or more complex checks such as in-depth verification of applicant’s educational background and working credentials. An in-depth background check could even include an investigation by a special agent of addresses where a person lived for the past few years, interviews with family, neighbors, and even ex-spouses.

More often, a background check includes checking recommendations and validating employment history; some positions require an examination of civil or criminal records, an authentication of various professional certifications, and sometimes an inspection of a credit history which is essential for positions related to finance or valuable commodities.

When a hiring company notifies you that a background check is to be performed, it does not mean that an employer has negative feelings about you. In most cases, a hiring manager may even not notify that they require the background check. However, in many cases employers are required to get your permission to access certain types of information.

Most HR professionals already know that all information required for a free background check is public and easily accessible. Sometimes, however, employers would have to pay a fee to access more specific information or hire third-party organizations to do their checks for them. To make sure you have nothing to fear, order a copy of your own credit report, a driving record, and, if you have a court history, legal records.

Generally, free background checks have limited if no access to bankruptcy information that is more than 10 years old or to other civil issues after seven years. The sort of information collected by free background checks can also vary; depending on whom performs the checks.

In most cases, unless you are particularly curious, you don’t have to perform a background check on yourself. However, you may wish to run a free background check on yourself just to make sure no errors have been made or recorded incorrectly. Now you too have the ability, thanks to the Internet to do a free background check on yourself if you really want to. You can make sure that your records are absolutely clean for that extra peace of mind, that may help you get that precious contract or a job of your dreams.

Submitted by:

Kirsten Whittaker

For more information on Background Checks please visit the Financial Services blog.




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