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Worried About a Background Check

Worried About a Background Check

A Monster member writes: I have recently been offered a job with a great company. The offer is contingent on a background check. I have no criminal record, but I'm concerned that I didn't list an employer I worked for for less than a year on the application. I returned to work for the previous employer with no tenure disruption. Should I be worried about this? Is this something that can negate the offer?

The Employee Advocate says: There are two types of background checks, typically. One is a reference check, which essentially involves the HR person calling each of the previous employers you listed on your resume to confirm your dates of employment and salary. Your former supervisors or the references you list may be asked about your strengths and weaknesses as well as your work performance.

The second type of background check is less related to your work history, but may involve a more thorough check done by an agency hired by the employer. This may include a credit check or a criminal record check depending on the sensitivity of your position. If your position has contact with money, for instance, the employer would want to know about bad credit or embezzlement convictions. Violence in the workplace is another concern, as well as weeding out convicted child molesters who apply for jobs dealing with children. If an employer turns you down because of a thorough credit check, it is required to notify you under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, and you would have a right to dispute the report's accuracy.

It sounds as though you omitted a small job that was temporary in nature, and that may not show up at all in your reference check or a background check -- unless the job changed your employment dates. To be absolutely clear with the prospective employer, you may want to call the manager who wants to hire you and let him know you omitted a reference to this. If you refer to it as a small temporary assignment, it may be no big deal and chances are that you would have clarified all that needs to be clarified in your application process.


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