Employer Background Check Considerations

It is not unusual for an employer to perform a background check for various pieces of information that are related to your past. Employers may want to find out more information about you for a number of different reasons. For example, they may want to be careful with who they hire, as they can be held responsible for their employees’ actions, so employers want to be cautious with who they hire. Background checks also allow employers to confirm is the information that you provided during an interview is true, and that you are a capable employee who will be a vital asset to the company. In order for employers to confirm your references and education, along with getting the peace of mind that you are not likely to commit an offence, they will be searching for specific pieces of information when investigating these areas in the background check.

Criminal Record

Employers will usually look at your criminal record first. State laws will determine how far back employers can go through in your criminal record as some states will not allow employers to ask questions on incidents that took place at a certain point in the past. When employers look through your criminal record, they are searching for any offences that you may have committed in the past, and making a decision based on whether or not they can trust you to act without re-offending and making the employer liable for charges. Although there is a risk of putting too much emphasis on criminal records, the EEOC has been cracking down on companies who do this, so it is unlikely that your potential for getting a job is determined solely by your criminal records hows that you have been involved in violent crime.

Credit Checks

Not all companies look through credit checks, or the ones that do tend to only check a number of credit checks for employees when performing a background check of employees. These reports provide companies with information such as your current address, social security number, along with your finances which includes debt on your credit card and student loans, mortgages, car payment along with defaulted loans and late payments. When an employer is doing a credit check, they are generally looking for outstanding payments, such as a late credit card (though this is unlikely unless the credit card has been gone to collection which cannot be overlooked by the employer), along with defaults on students loans. Employers are, however, less strict when your debt is due to medical bills or other medical emergencies.


Employers will look for information on your education based on the information that you provided them. When looking for this information, employers are confirming that the information that you have supplied them during an interview is genuine. In addition to this, certain instances in a college, for example, not paying a library fine, can result in the college stating that you did not receive a degree. However, this is not a problem if you are able to verify that the information that you are giving to your employer is true.


Companies will look through the references that you have supplied. Similar to background checks on your education, employers will mainly contact your references to confirm that the information is genuine, so they know that you have had experience in the area that you are applying for. They may also be checking on your ability to work through anecdotes by previous employers. Although the policy of certain companies prohibit anyone to speak out against their employees, some will do it regardless.

Social Media Activities

Unless you make yourself hard to find, employers will look for your social media activities. This can include online posts, videos, and blogs, along with other things that they can search up. This serves a similar purpose to looking through your criminal record as companies will determine the risks of employing you by looking at your activities on social media. Your social media activities may also show that you are not a suitable candidate for a particular job position.

Medical Records

These tend to be off limits for background checks. Generally, companies would use medical records to determine if an employee is fully capable of working, but they are prohibited from doing so, and thus if an employee says that they are able to work, then the employer must take their word for it. However, exceptions exist where medical exams are required in the job that you are applying for, or other jobs that are similar. However, they can only ask for a medical exam, unless all employees in the company are required to have a medical exam.

Drug Testing

Employers are able to perform drug testing before employment. This would be part of a background contingency to ensure that you are not taking any illegal drugs or are taking drugs illegally. The drug tests can detect drugs that are perfectly legal, but this is not a problem if you are able to show that the prescription is legal which can easily be done through showing your prescription bottle with the appropriate information attached.

Driving Records

Your driving records are open to the public, and thus the employer can access this information easily during a background check. Employers will treat this like your criminal record as they will be looking for any incidents that you were involved in while driving. Your driving records will allow the employer to confirm that you are able to drive safely, for example, an employer would be concerned if you have been charged with driving under the influence or endangering the public with your driving.


Although bankruptcy records are available online, employers are unable to hold any bankruptcies against you.

Military Records

The information that employers find in military records can be very limited as they can only find information on your rank, salary, duties and awards. Like bankruptcy, businesses cannot discriminate against their employees if they have been in the military, nor can they deny work to someone if there is a chance of them being called to active duty.