Don’t Let an Employment Background Check Kill Your Dream Job

Illustration by Uran via Dribbble
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Despite the fact that there are currently 3 million available jobs in the U.S. and only 1.8 million unemployed workers, getting a job is not an easy process. Especially when you hear that there are 250 job applicants for every corporate job, and only 5 will be lucky enough to end up with an actual job interview. So, what happened to the others who applied?

Here are some jaw-dropping statistics that may help explain. You probably spent hours writing and polishing your resume, proofing every single word, and making sure that your skills and background stand out. The hiring manager or recruiter, on the other hand, will spend a maximum of 5 to 7 seconds reviewing your resume.

75% of the resumes they do review will be discarded because of an unprofessional email address. But it gets worse: 88% of resumes are rejected because they include a photo of the job applicant.

If your resume gets you noticed and you make it through the interview process and are offered a job – the next step is an employment background check. The name “employment background check” often strikes fear in job candidates, but it really doesn’t have to. If you are prepared.

A Closer Look at Employment Background Checks

Putting job skills, experience, education and previous jobs on a resume is one thing, but a company has to do its due diligence to make sure you have accomplished what you said you’ve accomplished. Anyone can write down that they received an MS from Yale, but if you do, you’d better have proof you earned it.

An employment background check is done to verify and validate the information you supply, check your background for criminal history, pending criminal charges, warrants, bad credit and gaps in your employment history, among other things.

The company you’re applying to wants to be sure they’re not hiring someone who could be a liability or one who poses a threat to the company. They also want to be sure that the job candidate has been forthright and honest in the information that they’ve supplied.

Where Your Background Information Comes From

So, where do background check companies get all that information about you? According to an informative article published by OneRep, this information comes from a variety of sources. Google is often the go-to site to start the process, but Google only collects the information it finds on the Internet.

And a lot of that information comes from people-search sites, like Intelius, Pipl and US Search, who publish unauthorized personal information about you. If that information isn’t available on the various people-search sites, then Google won’t show it. So the goal is to delete it from those sites and opt out.

Еhere are more than 100 people-search sites, and each one has its own rules and methods for deleting information. That could eat up a lot of your time, but rest assured that the time and effort spent on doing this is absolutely worth it.

Here’s something else to consider: with the amount of identity theft going on, you need to ensure that any information posted about you on the Internet is valid and accurate. The best way to see what’s out there is to Google yourself – just enter your name and see all the material and links that appear.

This is your opportunity to set the record straight – if things aren’t accurate, ask to have them removed. Google has policies in place to delete information if you can show that it’s inaccurate or would lead to potential harm or identity theft.

Social media sites are another source of information about you. In fact, over 54% of job candidates are eliminated from consideration based on what background checks uncovered on social media. While you might have found it amusing to post references to alcohol or drug consumption years ago, employers don’t find it funny.

So, you need to visit every single social media site you use and review every posting you’ve ever done. That includes all the photos you have ever posted. If there is anything even remotely questionable about your images or posts, delete them! Think about how your family or children would react to those posts – if you think they might be embarrassed, remove them.

Google’s bots scour the Internet looking for information about you, so if you’re appearing on any websites, try to remove that information as well. If you control the website, it’s not a problem. But if it’s published on websites you don’t own or control, contact the website’s owner and ask to have the information removed.

Boosting Your Professional Profile

While you want to remove any questionable information about you on the Internet, Google and various social media sites can help with your background check.

More than 10,200,000 people found their job on LinkedIn in one year, for example, so you want to increase your LinkedIn presence by posting articles and relevant material on that site. Get your colleagues to provide references for you, and respond to your posts to show that you’re networked into the professional communities in your industry.

Create articles and post them on your website, as well as submit them to professional websites and organizations in your industry. Anything you can do to show that you’re networked into your field will be beneficial to you.

Be vigilant about continually checking your name to be sure no additional information has been added to various websites online that hasn’t been verified for accuracy. The Internet is fluid and is constantly changing, so you have to work hard to stay on top of what’s being posted.

By following the recommendations and suggestions above, you’ll have prepared as best you can for any type of employment background check. Remember that you’re entitled to see results if you end up not being hired due to information uncovered in a background check. You’re also entitled to challenge any information that isn’t true and accurate.

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