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How To Prepare For An Employment Background Check

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When you apply for a job, you may have to undergo a background screening. What should you do to get ready for a background check? Learn what information you need to gather for the screening, whether you should do a personal background check on yourself or check your credit report, and what to do if you have a criminal record that a background check will uncover.


An employment background check can seem intimidating. At GoodHire, we make the process as easy and transparent as possible.

Here’s how to get ready:

Gather The Information You’ll Need

You’ll finish the background check process faster if you have the right information at your fingertips.

The most common information required on background checks includes:

  • Your legal name
  • Address
  • Birth date
  • Social Security number
  • Recent past employers (company name, address, phone number, start/end dates)
  • Education history (institution name, phone number, begin/end dates)
  • Professional license numbers
  • Drivers license number

That’s really about all you’ll need for a background check to be run. There are a few additional things you can consider, though, especially if you’re concerned that the background check will show something that could be a red flag for employers.

Consider Running A Personal Background Check

When you run your own background check, you have a chance to see what an employer will see. A personal background check will tell you if:

  • Your Social Security number can be verified.
  • Criminal records appear on your background check.
  • Your education and employment can be verified.
  • There is any inaccurate information in government or law enforcement files related to you.

These kinds of alerts on your background check act as a red flag for hiring managers and may delay or jeopardize their decision to hire you.

You’ll also be able to spot any inaccuracies and take steps to correct them. 

Get A Personal Background Check

GoodHire Makes It Easy

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Illustration of GoodHires personal background check option

You might also consider requesting a copy of your credit report (you can get one free every year). Some employers do run credit checks for employment for certain positions, but employers do not see your credit score. (See The Difference Between Employment & Personal Credit Checks.)

If You Have A Criminal Record, Be Ready To Explain It

If you have a criminal record, have a plan for how you will bring this up with a potential employer. 

Whether you run a personal background check or an employer runs one on you through GoodHire, you’ll be able to add comments about your record directly to your background check results. These comments can give employers a more complete picture of what happened and what you’ve done since the offense.

Taking a little extra time to gather the information needed in advance, running your own background check, and preparing comments about your results helps you get set for success.

Disclaimer

The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.


About the Author

Sara Korolevich is the director of content marketing and managing editor at GoodHire. She produces educational resources for employers on a variety of employment screening topics, including compliance and screening best practices, and writes about GoodHire’s company and product news. Sara’s experience stems from 20+ years working as a B2C and B2B PR and communications professional.