If you’re seeking a job, you may or may not be accorded the same rights in background checks as other applicants in the United States.
Why? There isn’t a norm you can expect in background checks.
“Technically each company has their own policies, each state has their own laws and each background screening company has their own ways of doing things, not to mention they use all types of different sources,” says Michael Klazema of Klazema Communications.
He says you’re probably not getting the same treatment as other job seekers.
“However, there are a few commonalities when it comes to background screening,” explains Mr. Klazema, who says your education and work experience will be checked.
“Where the confusion comes in is how long they will go back,” he says. “For example, in one company, it may be considered normal to go back five years when it comes to work history but in another, normal is 10 years.”
It’s common for employers to check for a possible criminal background.
“…some companies would never dream of checking a state criminal database or federal court records but they will certainly check county records,” adds Mr. Klazema. “Other companies will focus fully on the federal records and not the county records.”
Possible atypical checks
“Other things, however, like driving record checks, credit checks and medical checks may not be normal and may not even be legal in your state,” he asserts.
“For instance, it would probably not be normal for a company to check your driving record if you will be doing no driving for them,” Mr. Klazema points out. “Credit checks, on the other hand, used to be fairly normal, but over the past few years they have become much less so.”
Many states have banned credit checks for hiring purposes. That’s true for medical checks.
“The only thing that a medical check can be used for is to ensure that you can do the duties of the job,” he says. “For instance, if you are required to lift 100 pounds and walk it across a warehouse as part of the job description and you are medically unable to do this, a medical exam can be used.”
The bottom-line: If you need more specific information, your best source regarding your rights is probably an experienced employment lawyer.
From the Coach’s Corner, more job-seeking tips:
Career Advice — An Alternative to Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time.
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With a Mentor, You Won’t be Alone in Making Career Decisions — You don’t have to be alone in making career decisions. No matter what you do for a living, there’s one investment on which you can count to improve your career. Plus, it won’t cost you any money. Huh? Yes, you can get a mentor.
7 Tips to Tweet Your Way to a Great New Job – Seriously — Surprise! If you play it smart you can take advantage of the 500 million Twitter account holders to get a new job or career. Really, it’s true.
“In 20 years time you will regret the things you didn’t do much more than the things you did wrong.”