Criminal Background Check: All You Need To Know

September 7, 2021

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Searching for a job and not sure what a criminal background check is? Here’s all you need to know about background checks and how they can help, or not, your chances of getting hired.

Finding an adequate workforce nowadays can be quite difficult. People now have more opportunities than ever, including remote working or freelancing, and they also have higher expectations from their employers. 

On the other hand, recruiters must also be on top of the current guidelines to follow when hiring. Companies have figured that employing the wrong people, and training them for as long as it takes until they perfectly fit the position, can be more difficult to deal with, not to mention costlier, than by not hiring someone at all. 

Moreover, most work contracts are made in a way that breaking them is not easy business. As a result, hiring the wrong person can lead to many complications for an employer, and that’s why criminal background checks are currently more common than ever.

The Law Of Negligent Hiring

Other than the high costs of training a new employee, there’s one more consideration many employers take into account — the risk of hiring someone with a troubled past. 

And here comes into play…The Law Of Negligent Hiring. According to this law, if any of the employees engage in criminal or violent behavior, the employer could take the hit too and be accused of negligent hiring.

Since nobody wants to take unnecessary risks, most organizations perform a criminal background check on their applicants before deciding who to hire. Background checks look at different aspects of a person’s personal and professional history and can be requested by both an employer or hiring agency.

With this being the new reality for both employers and employees, let’s look at what exactly a criminal background check is

What Is a Criminal Background Check?

A criminal background check will primarily reveal felony and misdemeanor criminal convictions, as well as pending criminal cases.

In other words, a person applying for a certain job might have their entire criminal history record exposed, whether they want it or not. As such, an employer can receive access to criminal files that will have the potential to serve as a good enough reason for your job application to be rejected. 

The most common reasons why someone may fail their background check are usually related to a damaged driving record, poor credit history, false employment history, education discrepancies, or a failed drug test. This type of check is otherwise known as a level 3 criminal background check.

Typically, criminal records will be accessible for up to seven years. But the search can go back even further depending on what is being searched for, and the compliance law in effect at the time. This is also something that can vary from state to state. 

How Deep Can Criminal Background Checks Go?

There is a standard check that reveals only certain information. However, employers do have the option to request a search that goes deeper into an individual’s personal history. For example, an employer can find out if a job applicant has any sex offender crimes in their records or if they were sued for personal injury or property damage.

team discussing what is a background check

Finding everything about a potential employee helps ensure that the work environment will stay safe and secure. It also protects the company’s employees and customers from any potential threat or liability.

Who Pays For a Background Check?

It’s typically the employer who will pay the fees of a background check. Depending on the type of background check requested, and the elements found, the fees for a background check can vary between $10 – $500. 

How Long Does It Take To Complete a Background Check?

If we’re talking about a basic background check, it should take anywhere between two and four business days to process and complete. There are, of course, cases when it can take longer than this, depending on certain factors:

  • When the applicant’s history includes information outside the USA.
  • When the organization conducting the background check has difficulty contacting an applicant’s former educational institutions or employers.
  • The local court may be closed for holidays or backlogged, meaning that obtaining a complete criminal background check could take longer.
  • In the case of a drug testing request, where a Medical Review Officer may contact you to talk about your sample’s results.

How Can You Prepare For a Background Check?

If you’re an active job seeker looking to get hired as soon as possible, you can go the extra mile and be one step ahead of your potential employer.

Since most employers will only perform a criminal background check to ensure security in the workplace and understand if you’re the right fit for the company, you can have the results in handy when applying for a job.

What you can do is talk to a company that conducts background checks and ask them to prepare your files, so you can help speed up the process:

  • Get involved and research your own history. We’re talking about former employment details, such as titles, salaries, and so on.
  • Locate your own diplomas and transcripts in advance.
  • Get ready to give your current and past addresses at any time. In some cases, you may even need to give your driver’s license number, so make sure this is not information you need to dig too deep for.

All In All

The keynote to remember about criminal background checks is that organizations have the right to request them for any of their potential job candidates. However, there is something that job seekers can do too to ensure their background check is completed with positive results.

If you feel there’s anything in your professional or personal history that could prevent you from reaching your ideal job, our team can remove your criminal records as well as other private, personal information from the most popular websites used by employers.

Don’t let the concerns about your criminal record and other private, personal data showing up on a background check affect your employment, housing, or dating opportunities. Contact us today, and we’ll handle everything for you. We have all the resources needed to erase any previous arrest records or mugshots and restore your reputation to where it deserves to be. 

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