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What employers look for in background checks

Planning to start a new job in 2021? You should be prepared to have your personal history scrutinized by potential employers at some point during the hiring process. The majority of companies routinely conduct background checks on candidates before making a formal job offer.

When many job seekers hear that there is going to be a ‘background check’, they assume this means that employers will call their references and maybe confirm if they have a criminal record or not.

There are actually quite a few more pieces of information that can be verified during a professional background check. Here’s what employers will be looking into before they make the decision to hire you.

Your Social Insurance Number (SIN). This piece of information confirms that your identity and that you are legally allowed to work in Canada.

Your work history. Candidates often fudge the truth about their experience. Employers will contact your previous workplaces to confirm your job title, the dates of your employment there, what you were responsible for, and how you performed on the job.

These will be more technical details of your work history than the employer’s own opinion of working with you. That more personal perspective will likely come from your professional references. (And make sure you choose those wisely. A recent study found that one third of applicants are rejected because of their references.)

Your education. Colleges and universities will attest to your studies and whether or not you actually achieved the credentials or diplomas you’ve claimed, along with your years of study. One of the most common resume fabrications is candidates listing degrees that they have studied, but not completed.

Your driving record. If you are applying for a job that involves driving a vehicle or carrying passengers, employers will be sure to check that you have all of the valid license classes required and that you have a clean driving record.

Your credit history. Employers may want to know if you have any financial issues that could make you a risky hire. They can confirm that you have positive credit record and whether or not you have declared bankruptcy in the past.

A criminal record check. For some roles, employers may also contact police services to determine if you have been convicted of a crime.

The majority of employers also say that they Google candidates for news stories, blogs, and websites, and they check their social media profiles and posts. One of the things they look for is to see if the information you’ve shared online matches the timeline and details of your resume. Here is how to clean up your social media profiles for a successful job search.

Honesty matters. Candidates who are caught exaggerating their education or faking their work history are rejected immediately. Employers won’t want to begin a professional relationship with someone that they cannot trust. You’ll find much more success making the most of the credentials you do have and selling your capabilities than by trying to get away with lying. Stick to the facts.

And be sure to prepare your references for the screening call.

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