Nervous About a Background Check - What to Know (2022)

I'm nervous about my background check; what should I do? Employers use background checks to vet potential employees for new positions. Employers often examine a candidate's work history, education, criminal background, credit history, and other activities.

Here are common issues that an employer might run into when performing a criminal record background check and completing the background screening process for a job application.

nervous about background check

Issues to get concerned about regarding an employment background check

Here are issues about when a job applicant's background check takes too long.

You have an imperfect work history.

While gaps in employment history aren't always a red flag, a pattern of unemployment or a run of short-term jobs might indicate that a candidate is untrustworthy and not worth investing in. Internships, training, and seasonal employment, which get viewed as advantages for entry-level positions, are not included.

Your resume has discrepancies, or you lied on it.

Employers view dishonesty as a significant red flag, and it might lose you a job. No matter how well-written or exaggerated your resume is, if they discover you lied about your education, abilities, or credentials, it will undoubtedly get discovered via a background check.

Employers generally call references to confirm data about former positions, such as the length of time you worked there, and get a sense of your responsibilities and work ethic. A background check might also reveal when and where you received your education.

You've had a criminal record.

When companies screen candidates, one of the first things they look for is a criminal background, which frequently results in dismissed job applications. Minor infractions or long-ago occurrences may be disregarded, but significant felonies will almost certainly keep you out of the running. However, depending on the hiring requirements of the business and the seriousness of the offense, a candidate may still be employed if they disclose their criminal past to the employer.

nervous about background check

Previous employers provided you with negative recommendations.

An excellent recommendation will go a long way toward ensuring that you get the job. Employers can discover more about your personality, work ethic, and general aptitude for a position. What happens if a previous boss disparages you or gives you a poor review? It is entirely dependent on the firm.

A lousy reference may not jeopardize your chances, but a string of terrible references will undoubtedly disqualify you. However, many employers do not offer information other than employment dates, job titles, and compensation due to the possibility of defamation lawsuits filed by former workers.

You've got a bad credit history.

Credit checks are typically reserved for positions in the banking and federal sectors. So, if you'll be dealing with money a lot, bad credit history is a liability since it might affect your ability to manage money appropriately.

Related: How long does a background check take?

You were unable to pass a drug or alcohol test.

Drug and alcohol testing are also job-specific, such as when candidates are required to drive, operate machinery, or execute highly skilled tasks. If a candidate fails a drug or alcohol test, the firm may consider them a liability.

You have a blemish on your driving record.

Like your credit history and drug testing, your driving history will only be reviewed if the employer needs you to drive. Multiple citations for speeding, driving under the influence, or a conviction for reckless driving can all contribute to a poor driving record.

Related: USPS Background Check Policy

You engage in questionable social media behavior.

This is a complex issue since there are several rules and legislation in place that safeguard job seekers' rights when it comes to social media.

While social media screening is not required as part of a background check, it is allowed, and many employers utilize it or screening services to learn more about a candidate's character after the interview.

Employers often look for hate speech, profanity, or unpleasant content that might reflect poorly on the organization and cause future difficulties.

You are not legally permitted to work in the United States.

Employees must be eligible to work in the United States lawfully. All citizens and non-citizens must fill out an Employment Eligibility Form throughout the recruiting process (I-9). The business will need job seekers to produce documentation proving their identification and employment permission.

Related: Amazon Background Check Policy

Can I get dismissed for having poor credit and no criminal record?

Because companies frequently use third-party firms to do background checks, they must also adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). They should also check the regulations of their state and municipality regulating the use of background reports or information for employment reasons since some states and municipalities limit the use of such information.

Usually, job applicants are not dismissed due to poor credit alone. Your hiring manager is more concerned with any criminal records that can come up during the background check report.

What will make you ineligible for government employment?

Federal positions are open to those with criminal histories or who have served time in prison. However, specific federal restrictions may prevent you from applying for particular employment. Visit for more information.

Is it necessary for me to be concerned about a background check?

A background check is an unavoidable requirement of the recruiting process. You won't have to worry about anything if you're honest on your CV and know your rights. Before applying, be sure to verify your state's background check rules. Remember that if an employer disqualifies you based on their findings, you have the legal right to obtain a copy of your background report.

Who is protected from employee discrimination?

Applicants, workers, and former employees are all protected against discrimination in the workplace because of their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information (including family medical history).

Retaliation (punishment) is prohibited against applicants, workers, and former employees who make a charge or complaint of discrimination, participate in a discrimination inquiry or litigation or oppose discrimination (for example, threatening to file a charge or complaint of discrimination).

Learn more at

Why shouldn't I lie on my resume?

Unfortunately, many job seekers try to deceive companies by lying on their resumes. Lying occurs more frequently than you may believe. According to a poll conducted by CareerBuilder, 58% of employers have discovered lying on candidates' resumes. Many of these deceptions are falsehoods.

It's best to be entirely truthful during the hiring process. If you have a poor credit history, that's something that can get withheld until it is necessary to disclose. If you have a criminal record, it's best to bring that up with your hiring manager.

Credit reports are not as important as criminal history, where local and federal laws have been violated.

What occupations don't require a background check?

Most remote employment does not require background checks, although it is ultimately up to the company.

How can you know whether a background check was successful?

The employer will contact you to inform you that your background check has been completed successfully. On the other hand, if you get employed, you will know that there were no problems.

On a background check, what do employers look for?

  • Previous work experience.
  • Academic or professional credentials are required.
  • There are no criminal records.
  • History of credit.
  • Use of social media.
  • Records of driving.
  • Use of drugs.

Is it possible to exclude employment from my background check?

Yes. You are not required to list every job you've ever had on your resume and CV, especially ones that have been held for more than ten years or are unrelated to the position you're applying for.

What is the best way for me to pass a background check?

There is no way to pass or fail a background check. They are reliant on the company's recruiting requirements and what they consider appropriate.

Is it possible for an employer to terminate you after being employed due to a background check?

Yes. Because you are employed at-will, your employer has the right to terminate you at any moment.

How much does a background check for employment cost?

The price of a background check for employment varies depending on what is being screened, but you should anticipate spending between $5.00 and $25.00.

With a misdemeanor on my record, will I be able to pass a background check?

A misdemeanor will almost certainly come up during a background check. Still, you may get employed depending on your potential employer's hiring requirements and the sort of work you're looking for.

Related resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo,, SparkHire,,, FairyGodBoss,, St. Edwards University, NC State University,, Thrive Global,, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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