Friday, February 3, 2012

Pre-Employment Background Screenings

Congratulations, you have made it through the interview process and are one of the top candidates for the job. Your prospective employer will be doing a background screening, and you are wondering what to expect. First, don’t be alarmed. Many employers conduct pre-employment background screenings to verify information about candidates they are interested in hiring.

The Background Report
Some companies use third-party consumer reporting agencies to provide background reports. These agencies must adhere to provisions in the government’s Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). However, companies conducting their own in-house screenings are not held to FCRA guidelines. The FCRA is a federal law governing credit reporting so as to protect privacy and promote information accuracy. The FCRA stipulates that, before employers can have consumer reporting agencies run a background screening for employment purposes, they must obtain your written consent. Before signing anything, take the necessary time to read up on the FCRA.

Most screenings verify personal identification information; review employment, credit, and driving histories; check educational records; and explore any record of criminal activity. Other data collected includes, but is not limited to, property ownership; worker’s compensation claims; bankruptcies; and licensing, medical, and military records.

Be Prepared
A background screening is simply an extra verification to ensure that the candidate a company is planning on hiring is representing himself/herself truthfully and won’t pose a risk to the organization. Be sure the information on your resume and application is accurate, and know in advance what is on your credit report. There’s no better time to take advantage of the FCRA provision granting you free access to your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide reporting companies—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

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