You don’t need to read a history book to learn about Hurricane Katrina or the Iraq War if you lived through these events. So why should you look into your own history when you have lived to experience every minute of it?
If you are looking for a job, employers are going to look closely at your history in pre-employment background checks. Some perform background checks on everybody while others check candidates only after a job has been offered. What they find could prevent you from being hired, even if the information is misleading or inaccurate. By fact-checking your own academic, employment, criminal, driving, credit, financial, and even social media history, you can make corrections and get answers ready if you’re asked about things in your past.
Before you interview for a job, here are six ways to fact-check your history:
- Verify your academic records
Whether you are still in high school, or a post-graduate with a master’s degree, you will want to verify all of the information that employers typically ask about your academic history. Make certain the GPA, extracurricular activities, coursework, and degree information you provide is completely accurate by verifying it with your school. If you provide academic references, get permission from the teachers and professors you put down before you submit an application.
- Call former employers and supervisors
Many employers will ask you for the exact dates of employment, so capture this information accurately by verifying it with your employers. For each job you’ve had, you’ll need references. If your reference is a former employer or supervisor, check with them first to alert them that they may be contacted.
- Run a criminal background check
Google “criminal background check” and run your name through one of the criminal registries to make sure there is no misinformation about your criminal history. Employees can be disqualified because of felonies or misdemeanors. If there are any mistakes, contact the appropriate courts and agencies to correct them before proceeding with your job hunt.
- Run a credit check
Employers check your credit to see how responsible you are with money. This part of the background check is especially critical if the position involves handling money. The credit check will reveal your history of opening credit accounts, paying bills on time, and applying for loans. If there are any accounts that you don’t remember opening or transactions that look suspicious, or if your FICO score is lower than you expected, someone could be fraudulently using your credit cards or social security number. Try to correct any errors by contacting the appropriate financial institutions before applying for jobs. If any issues remain in limbo, you can explain them during interviews.
- Review your driving record
Your driving record is another indication of your general level of responsibility, but it is especially important when applying for positions that involve the use of a vehicle. Numerous citations and accidents can jeopardize your application. Make sure there are no tickets or citations on your record that are inaccurate or unpaid.
- Check your social media accounts
Employers check social media accounts to see if there is information that contradicts what you have told them in your application and to make sure there are no behavioral red flags. If you have photos that show irresponsible behavior, posts that demonstrate intolerance or character concerns, or even comments that are too personal for anyone beyond your immediate circle to read, make them private or delete them. Finally, check your privacy settings to be sure you are not providing full access to the general public. Your social presence should confirm the impression you make during your job interviews.
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