In the U. CRAs source information through various means—calling employers and universities, looking up public records, and even, when required by certain jurisdictions, physically going to courthouses to retrieve information. Understandably, both you and your future employer are anxious to get the results.
The CRA works as quickly as possible to gather all the requested information in the shortest time possible keeping in mind that that the information has to be matched to you and complete and up to date to be reported. To learn more about how long a background check should take, take a look at this fun video.
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You may also be screened for drug and alcohol use. What the CRA checks is up to the employer, so that list may vary.
What to do? Come clean.
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You may be sensing a theme here. Just be up front about it. If you worked someplace a decade ago and accidentally listed the duration of employment as a year and it was really six months, explain the honest mistake to your recruiter. These things happen. It may not adversely impact your offer. The agent showed Jack a copy of the report, which referred to a man with a similar name and birthdate, he says.
Among other things, the man pictured had conspicuous face tattoos. As he tries to correct the record and clear up the confusion, every day is a new day of limbo. She has also requested a copy of the report used for the second rental application, which was issued by a different background check firm, she says. Joshi declined to identify the firms involved, since their responses are still pending.
Such checks are routinely required for employment and rental applications, and conducted with varying levels of diligence by hundreds of companies around the country, but they only work properly when the information they contain is accurate. Digitizing data like court records has made background checks significantly cheaper and faster than in years gone by: In , a Society for Human Resource Management survey found that more than two-thirds of organizations polled conducted criminal background checks on job candidates.
What can you do about false information on your background check?
But regulation has not necessarily kept pace. In one case, she says, a client with a common name received a report with 65 pages of criminal history data about unrelated people with similar names. Even job applicants who do have criminal histories can still be unfairly harmed by slipshod background checks. Background checks are compiled from multiple reports provided by many different sources, and errors do sometimes happen.
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The false information may have resulted from incorrect data entry due to misinterpretation of handwriting or confusion over a common name. It could also be because of a corrupted file or old information that has not been updated. Remember that even if, worst case scenario, someone stole your identity you can still contest the background check and potentially get the position by providing proof of the incorrect information.
First, request a copy of the report to specifically see the error in full. This will give you the ability to contest it completely. Next, file a dispute with the background screening company and ask for a re-investigation of your results.
Don’t Panic! Background Screening Explained
You will be asked to verify your information for system errors, and you may be asked to supply additional information that could help strike inaccurate information from your screen. If a re-investigation supports the inaccurate results, you will want to gather proof to support your claim. For example, you can contact your alma mater to obtain documentation proving your education, call the DMV to get accurate driving records, or get in touch with credit agencies to provide an accurate credit report.
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