Background checks have become increasingly more common as part of the selection process. Typically the background check is not completed until it is determined that an offer will be extended or an offer has been extended. What I’m referring to is the credit, criminal background check. However, most companies will also check previous employment and education. These reports are often completed by a third party vendor that can uncover not only legal or criminal issues but also verify information found on resumes such as college degrees, previous employment and perhaps even professional licenses.
Some companies may just want to verify basic information while others may be digging deeper. For example if the position includes dealing with company finances the company may want to check to see if the candidate has had any bankruptcy which could point to the candidate having a problem handling their own finances effectively.
If unfavorable information is found on a background check it does not necessarily mean that the candidate will be eliminated. Employers may consider the severity of the issue. They may even give the prospective employee an opportunity to explain the situation. Given the state of the economy the last few years, bankruptcy and other financial issues are not uncommon. The attitude about bankruptcy has changed as well. It is not an immediate knockout these days.
The bottom line however is this…if you know you have an issue talk to the employer prior to the background check being completed. If there is an issue, it will be uncovered. It is always easier to explain something before verse after. Explain the situation in detail. If there is any documentation be prepared to share that as well.
This applies in particular to bankruptcies. There is no shame and again, it will be uncovered. It is something that typically can be explained to an employer’s satisfaction.