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Should you run a background on yourself?

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Have you ever considered running a background check on yourself to see what might be out there in terms of criminal cases, court records or other information that could show up as adverse on a pre-employment background check? Many people want to know what a prospective employer will find out about them before they authorize a pre-employment background check.  Will that nasty divorce or false arrest show up? We get calls on this topic all the time.

Here are some tips to consider if you are concerned:

  • Arrest records are not reportable in most states*
  • Criminal records without convictions are not reportable in most states**
  • Family Law Matters including divorces, custody battles and temporary restraining orders are not reportable***
  • Minor violations found on a driving record (accidents & tickets) can be reportable but are not obstacles to hire under new “Ban the Box” rules.

If you elect to run a background check on yourself you "might" uncover information that an employer would see. It is important to understand though, that employers can run a variety of searches so there is no way to know how deep or how narrow the search will be and what will be uncovered.

If you have a pre-employment background check run on yourself, please keep in mind that you are entitled to a copy of the report and you are entitled to contest the findings if you believed the records found do not belong to you. If you want to contest any records, you should notify the prospective employer and the background screening company right away.

*If your employer is a local, state, or federal government agency they likely conduct Live Scan background checks through the DOJ and FBI. The information these types of employers have access to is less restrictive than that of a private employer.  For instance, all arrest records will be available even if a criminal was never filed. Also, criminal cases are reportable even if the case was dismissed or if you were found NOT guilty.

**Many states like California, New York, Illinois, and others only allow for criminal records that resulted in a conviction to be reported if the disposition date is less than seven (7) years prior.

*** Permanent restraining orders resulting from criminal activity can be reportable.