how can you prepare for a background check

It’s common to take part in some interview preparation when you are being considered for a job. Working with a friend or family member to prepare for common interview questions and applying your answers to the job role is a terrific way to get ready for the real thing. How can you prepare for background checks? This separate piece of the pre-employment screening process is one that most employers consider to be as important as the interview. 

To start, prepare yourself for the possibility. According to statistics from, 96 percent of employers now run at least one type of background check on their candidates. Whether it’s a criminal history screening, a motor vehicle records check, or verification of resume information such as education and past employment, you will almost surely need to pass a background check before you can begin a new job. 

Here’s how to prepare for different types of background checks. 

  • Criminal History: First, know your rights. Do you live in an area where ban the box policies are active and enforced? If so, you may not be required to disclose any criminal history on a job application. The law may even demand that the employer delay your background check until later in the job screening process. Second, consider running a self-check to make sure that you know what your criminal record shows. Wondering, “what’s on my background check?” Blinkx offers an easy way to see your own criminal record.
  • Resume Information: When it comes to educational credentials, professional licenses, past jobs, and other resume information, be honest. Employers can verify this information with just a few phone calls. Lying about a college degree or job title will cost you more than it will gain you. On a similar note, before you list references to speak on your behalf, ask their permission.
  • Driving History: Unless the job that you are seeking involves driving a vehicle or operating a piece of machinery (such as a forklift), you probably won’t need to pass a driving history check. To prepare for a driving history check, use the Blinkx self-check to make sure that you know what your motor vehicle record looks like.
  • Credit Checks: Similar to driving history checks, you won’t need to worry about credit history checks for most jobs, but positions that involve control of finances or access to sensitive financial information are likely to involve this type of check. To prepare, check your own credit. You’re entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Look for odd or unexpected information that might indicate identity theft or other problems. If there are issues, contact the credit bureau to initiate investigative measures. 

Always know what to expect from employer drug testing strategies, and be prepared for drug testing for any position. 

These preparation strategies will help put you at ease as you head into the pre-employment screening process. Just as getting ready for an interview can loosen you up and dissolve some of the nerves around the process, preparing for background checks makes it easier to see those checks as nothing to worry about.



When applying for a job, most candidates focus their energy on preparing for the job interview. While the interview is certainly an important part of the equation, there is another area worthy of preparation: the employment background check.

A background check can mean the difference between getting hired and not getting hired. Spending some time thinking about your background check before you apply for a series of jobs could save you lots of grief and wasted time.

First, realize that the average employment background check is more than just a criminal history check. The common misconception is that if you don’t have a criminal record, the background check process can’t hurt your hiring chances. In truth, most employers look at other facets of your history, too.

List the steps you should take to properly prepare for a background check.

Here are a few steps that you can take to prepare for every piece of the pre-employment background screening.

  • Take a look at your own criminal background check: Even if you have no criminal record, it’s a good idea to run a background check on yourself. That way, you’ll see exactly what the employer will see.
  • Check your resume: Go through your resume with a fine-tooth comb before sending it out to an employer. You want to make sure they every piece of information you’ve provided there is accurate. Check job titles, employment dates, lists of responsibilities and accomplishments, educational background, and other details for errors—and for embellishments. Many employers now conduct verification checks for employment history, education, and professional licensing or certification. Discrepancies in your resume can call your honesty into question, potentially costing you a job opportunity.
  • Ask your references to be references: When you provide a list of professional references, don’t just list people who you think will speak well on your behalf. Contact those former employers, managers, or mentors and ask for their permission to list them as references. That way, you know that the person in question is willing to speak positively on your behalf and that the person is prepared to be contacted by prospective employers.
  • Know your rights: Employers must follow certain protocols when conducting employment background checks on potential hires. Know what your rights are under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Be aware of any ban the box legislation that may be active in your area.
  • Be prepared for other checks as well: Depending on the job that you are seeking, you might face other types of background checks. For instance, if you are applying for a position that involves driving, you will want to check your driving record for any red flags. If the job involves financial responsibilities, a credit history check could be in the cards for you. Drug testing is common for many jobs, so be aware that you may be asked to submit to a test prior to employment.

Above all, be honest and forthright. Employers have the means to learn about your past mistakes. Being transparent about these missteps ahead of time gives you a chance to control the narrative with employers so that they don’t assume the worst.


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