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Background Check Basics

Background Check Basics

Most employers use background checks to evaluate potential employees, but what does a background check reveal?

Criminal History

Background checks show a person’s criminal history and can be accessed using a person’s Social Security number. Criminal background checks typically reveal felony and misdemeanor charges as well as arrests and ongoing investigations.

These checks also show:

  • Ongoing criminal investigations
  • Pending criminal cases
  • Pending arrests
  • History of incarceration

Depending on the job a person is applying for, they could be disqualified if their background check shows a history of criminal behavior.

You may not get these jobs if you have a criminal history:

  • Child care
  • Law enforcement
  • Healthcare
  • Government jobs

In some cases, retail jobs will not accept those with a criminal record especially if they sell an item that was involved in the crime. For example, gun shops are not likely to hire someone with a record of armed robbery or murder. Teaching jobs also eliminate those with violent crimes or child related crimes on their record.

Credit Checks

Credit checks are a kind of background check especially for certain jobs. Most positions within the financial sector do not allow people who have filed for bankruptcy apply and may choose to pass on applicants with poor credit or to much debt. Accountants, CFOs, and fiduciaries must do a background and credit check before they can be considered.

Social Media

Some companies also evaluate an applicant’s social media page before accepting their application. This is to ensure that the individual does not post harmful content or that they complain about work or their leaders on their social media account.

Essentially, social media checks are character evaluations while credit and background checks are more quantitative evaluations.


Testing a fingerprint could involve a number of testing techniques. For example, dye can be applied to the finger tip and pressed on a page which is scanned or the person may have their finger scanned directly. Most of the time, these checks are performed as a form of additional security.

Level 2 Background Checks

Not all background checks are created equal. In some cases, background checks are more extensive and could require specialized checks and a longer evaluation period. For example, some background checks go back ten years instead of seven. Often, level 2 background testing is necessary for teaching, healthcare, and senior care positions and are used to detect violent or predatory behavior. In some cases, a level 2 background check includes juvenile offenses as well.

Other Important Facts

Doctors and specialized workers face harsh penalties for criminal convictions. In most cases, DWIs or other crimes can lead to removal of the physician’s license to practice. If it is the first offense, the medical board may be more lenient but leniency could still involve suspension or termination.

Specialized jobs that require operation of machinery or vehicles often check for tickets and accident reports when evaluating a prospective employee. Some expunged records could show up on a background check but only for advanced positions within a government agency. If you have a criminal record it is essential that you contact an attorney.

Contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC. today.


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