CRAs source information through various means—calling employers and universities, looking up public records, and even, when required by certain jurisdictions, physically going to courthouses to retrieve information.
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Understandably, both you and your future employer are anxious to get the results. The CRA works as quickly as possible to gather all the requested information in the shortest time possible keeping in mind that that the information has to be matched to you and complete and up to date to be reported. To learn more about how long a background check should take, take a look at this fun video.
You may also be screened for drug and alcohol use. What the CRA checks is up to the employer, so that list may vary. What to do?
Come clean. You may be sensing a theme here. Just be up front about it. If you worked someplace a decade ago and accidentally listed the duration of employment as a year and it was really six months, explain the honest mistake to your recruiter. These things happen. It may not adversely impact your offer.
If there are things on your resume that are out-right fiction, as painful as it may be, consider telling the truth.
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The employer will find out anyway. Belated honesty may cost you this particular opportunity.
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This could be a good time to adjust your resume accordingly to avoid running into inaccuracies in the future. You can request a copy of your background report. The CRA does not decide whether you are hired, nor does it make recommendations. If the negative aspects of your report do indeed impact your offer, your prospective employer has a legal obligation to inform you of the potentially adverse action and give you the opportunity to dispute the accuracy or completeness of the findings directly with the CRA.
Within 30 days, the CRA will then investigate the disputed information with the source and will notify you of the results. You can get this information for free by setting up a user account at the Social Security Administration website. Credit Report: You can get one free credit report every year from each of the three national credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion at annualcreditreport.
Credit reports:. Address History: Background checks typically identify addresses associated with your name and Social Security Number from sources such as credit card statements and magazine subscriptions, and typically cover your last seven years of residences. Driving Records: You can visit your state department of motor vehicles to obtain a copy of your driving record, or order a copy online.
Criminal Background: Criminal convictions, imprisonment, parole, and probation will be reflected in a criminal background search. If you were arrested in the past seven years, even if charges were dropped or you were found not guilty, that may show up, too. The legal services website Nolo.
Specialized Lists: Many background checks also include specialized record searches that are not available to the general public. These may include:. While you can freely request and obtain your public records, they seldom come for free. Securing copies of public documents often involve administrative fees—and your time to track them down. The time required for you to receive each record varies as well, from a couple of days to two weeks or more.
If you decide to use a commercial service to run a self background check, how do you decide which service to use? Here are a couple of guidelines to consider:. Find a provider that also supplies background checks to employers and landlords. Eliminate services that do not comply with the U. Pre-employment and housing screenings in the U. The FCRA also specifies that certain information should be excluded from pre-employment background checks.
Bankruptcies and civil judgments may be stricken from your credit history after seven to 10 years as well.
Non-FCRA-compliant background check services may not exclude this information, and so could give you a distorted view of the information employers and landlords will receive. Running a self background check is about as easy as buying a book or movie online. In addition to a payment card or PayPal account , you will need your Social Security Number and a valid email account. Give a final authorization and wait for the check to run. The Starter and Basic searches will be complete and ready to review in a matter of minutes, as will the database portions of the Standard search.
This is your opportunity to explain apparent gaps in your job history, or comment on circumstances or atonement surrounding any legal infractions. Mixups can happen with less common names as well, and when they touch on financial or legal matters, they can be anything but minor. FCRA-compliant background checks, such as GoodHire, include guidelines you should follow for filing a dispute and reporting inaccuracies.
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The reports also note their data sources, and you may want to contact the providers of any inaccurate information, so they can correct any inaccuracies as well. Try to view it as a hiring manager or landlord would, and identify anything that might be a source of concern. An unexplained gap in your work history could be an issue for an employer, for instance.