What Shows Up On a Background Check? – Ultimate Guide

background check

A background check is a crucial tool used by employers, landlords, and educational institutions to assess an individual’s past and predict future behaviour. This article will provide comprehensive insights into what constitutes a background check, its types, what it includes, and how to obtain one.

What Constitutes a Background Check

A background check is a process that reveals an individual’s criminal, employment, credit, and more. This information is vital for decision-making processes such as hiring or renting decisions. A background check report may include a person’s criminal history, employment history, financial status, professional qualifications, educational background, and more.

Types of Background Checks

There are various types of background checks depending on the information required. The most common ones are:

  • Criminal History Checks: It reveals any criminal record of an individual, including arrests, convictions, and pending charges.
  • Employment History Checks: It verifies an individual’s previous employment, job titles, start and end dates, and compensation.
  • Education Verification Checks: It confirms the educational qualifications claimed by an individual.
  • Credit History Checks: It provides insights into an individual’s financial responsibility, spending habits, and past financial crimes.

Components of a Background Check Report

A background check report can contain several components depending on the type of check conducted. Below are the most common components:

Personal Information

This involves verifying the identity of the person being screened. A person’s driver’s license number, state ID number, or Social Security number, among other identification pieces, can be utilized for verification.

Criminal Record

A person’s criminal record is often a critical part of a background check. It may contain information about any arrests, charges, or convictions, and any ongoing criminal proceedings.

Employment History


A background check also heavily considers the individual’s employment history. This may include verifying an individual’s previous places of employment, job titles, start and end dates, and compensation.

Credit History

A standard credit history check can include a person’s credit score, outstanding debts, bankruptcies, payment history, and other financial documents.

Civil Court Records

A standard background check may contain information from civil court records to confirm a person’s financial accountability, legal issues, or any conflicts of interest.

Education History

Verification of a person’s academic credentials, professional certificates, and other information may be part of an education history review.

Social Media Profiles

A background check may involve a review of a person’s social media pages primarily for employers or groups trying to evaluate character and conduct.

Property Information

A background check that includes a review of the person’s assets may be performed whenever a business or organization needs to know how financially stable an applicant is.

Reference Checks

References are important in any background investigation, as references may provide light on an individual’s personality, work habits, and personal and professional connections.

How to Obtain a Background Check

There are several ways to obtain a background check. One way is by ordering a report from a reputable background check company.

Negative Information in a Background Check

A background check can reveal negative information about an individual. If the employer denies an applicant a service based on negative information in a background report, the applicant must be notified and provided with the data.

Understanding what is included in a background check report can help both employers and individuals. Employers can use a background check to ensure that they are hiring the right person, while individuals can use it to ensure their safety or get an idea of where they stand with potential employers. Knowing what information is available within a background check report can help you make informed decisions about your future.

Frequently Asked Questions About Background Checks

What does a background check typically include?

Background checks typically include criminal records, employment history, education, credit history, driving records, professional licenses and certifications, and social media.

Can employers see your work history?

Employers can verify that you’ve worked at the jobs you list on your resume. However, they won’t typically find past jobs that you haven’t listed on your resume unless you added them to your credit report or posted about them on social media.

What if something negative shows up on my background check?

If an employer finds something negative in your background check and plans to use the information as a reason not to hire you, the employer is required by law to provide you with a copy of the background check report.

How far back do background checks go?

Background checks most often go back seven to 10 years when looking at criminal records and credit history, but this can vary based on where you live.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the information revealed by a background check can vary, depending on the type of check, its intended use, and the information sources it consults. Whether applying for a job, looking for a place to live, or doing anything else that would require a background check, it’s crucial to know what kind of information might turn up. By being aware of what can be included in a background check and taking precautions to ensure the information being provided is correct and current, you can increase your chances of passing a background check and accomplishing your objectives.

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