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                                                How To Prepare For A Background Check?


A person can order their own background check to see what information that others are privy to examine.  This way, a person can see if the information contained in consumer reporting databases is correct or just get a look at what is out there.

Another good idea is for a person to order and examine his or her own credit report.  See if there are any discrepancies on it.  If there is anything wrong, do what is necessary can to fix the situation and the information.

If a person has a criminal record, check the file where the record is located.  Make sure that any reporting agency is not reporting a misdemeanor conviction as a felony conviction.  Make sure that all procedure has been correctly followed to expunge any record. 

Verify the information that is contained on the driving record.  People must understand that a DUI or a DWI conviction is not a minor traffic violation and must not be reported as such.  If a person reports incorrectly about either of these violations on their application, the employer could think that the person is dishonest.  Wording must be carefully noted and reported on applications.

People can request personnel files from former jobs.  Ask current employers about their policy on personnel files.  Any files that have your signature on them can be copied and examined.  A person may request copies of previous background check reports from consumer reporting agencies. 

When a person is asked to consent to a background check, that person should read and understand the fine print about the check.  The wording cannot include questions about sex, race, birth date or maiden name.  The background check notice must be on a separate page.  If the consent form waives the right to sue, it should not be signed, as it is a violation of the Equal Employment Opportunity laws.

If a person thinks that an investigative report may be conducted and that former and present associates may be questioned, the person should let these people know.  This will reduce suspicion, quicken the pace of the investigation and will let a person know about any potential problems. 

For people who are active in social networks, blog or have profiles online, they should do a search for their names.  Negative references can be removed by contacting the website owner and profiles can be edited.  The idea is to reduce any unflattering information including pictures that may be used against a person.

When an employer engages the services of any outside agency to perform consumer reports, the employer must receive permission from the job applicant or employee according to the Fair Credit Reporting Agency.  This protects job applicants or employees when the employer uses outside agencies.   When the employer uses an in-house method for performing background checks, the employer's screening activities are not regulated. 

For companies with a tighter budget, this may mean that those companies would be performing in-house background checks.  With so much information available, it is expected that there will be a certain portion of employers who screen job applicants or employers without any regulation from the FCRA.

When a potential employee or employee gives permission for the background check, the person must sign on a separate document, according to the FCRA.  The FCRA says that in the case of a negative report, the employer provides the person with a pre-adverse action disclosure and their rights according to the FCRA.  The person can receive a copy of the report. 

When an employer takes adverse action that is a result of the report contents, these actions typically include preventing promotion, withdrawing a job offer, firing the employee or not hiring the job applicant.  When an adverse action has happened because of a background check, the person is given a notice about the adverse action with an explanation of the right to contest the accuracy of the consumer report. 

Unfortunately, if the employer performs an in-house background check, the job applicant or employee may not be able to receive a report copy.  Instead, the employer does not disclose the background check to the FCRA and can tell the person that they were not chosen because the other applicants were more qualified.

A problem with the in-house background check system is that there have been actual cases of identity theft.  In such cases, an innocent person has been impersonated. The impersonator can use the person's information to get loans, rent houses or otherwise get credit.  The impersonator defaults on the credit and the actual person is left with the bad credit.  Sometimes, an impersonator develops a criminal record that the innocent person must deal with when job hunting.  If the innocent person with the bad credit or criminal record has the bad luck to have had background checks performed through in-house methods only, then the person may not discover that identity theft is damaging their reputation.

It is in a person's best interests to know what is on their consumer reports.  If all is well, then there is no problem.  If there is a problem, the person can spot it and take action sooner.