When you seek a new job or settle in a new apartment, the process will inevitably involve a background check at some stage. In 2019, HR.com survey indicated that 96% of the US employers conduct background checks for their prospective hires and clients. With this stage looking certain, it is important to avoid last-minute surprises by carrying out a personal background check. Conducting a background check for yourself will help you be informed and stay ahead of the process.
Employers conduct background checks on their potential employees to ensure they hire candidates who do not have any criminal records that could affect the organization's reputation. It also helps to prevent fraud and criminal activities in the organization.
Landlords also carry out background checks on their potential tenants to ensure their apartments only house tenants who do not pose a threat to other tenants. They, too, do this to avoid letting the apartments to individuals with bad credit history who have the possibility of defaulting their rents.
What Is A Personal Background Check?
A personal background check is a GBS screening service that allows your background check just like an employer would. You should be aware of the information that the background check shows. Personal background check can be extensive. People search sites, like the ones you see everywhere that claim to be free will not provide you sufficient or updated information. You can check out our other article, why free background checks are not accurate.
What Personal Background Check Shows
Personal background check show reports on the following records:
1. Social Security Number (SSN) Verification
The GBS Background check gives information associated with a Social Security Number, showing personal details like official names, alias and address history. From here employers double check at the industry standard court houses (typically two in each county) to verify the info.
2. Credit Report
National credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) provide free credit reports every year. You can access the free services at annualcreditreport.com. This should be only for financial positions or upper level positions.
Background checks reports show:
Summarized debt and payment history.
List of past and active debts and outstanding loans.
Possible Bankruptcy activities within 10 years of their filing date.
FICO score is not legally provided to employers, however if you're applying for housing, like an apartment, the property manager or landlord is legally allowed to see FICO.
3. Address History
Background checks identify addresses linked to your SSN and your name. They reflect typically up to 7 years of history of residence. The address is used to check other criminal records. You can find this information on “white pages” that are available online for free.
4. Driving Records
The state's department of motor vehicles provides information about driving records. You can go physically and obtain a copy or order it to be sent online. These reports typically only go back 3-5 years in most states.
5. Criminal Records
Criminal background checks will show criminal records of an individual like convictions, imprisonment, and probation. The check reflects any criminal activity recorded in the past seven years, even if the charges were dropped or found not guilty. The length of years the employer goes back mainly depends on the state the employer is located.
6. Education and Job History
Some employees run a background search on your education history to confirm that you attended the school you listed in your resume. They also search for information to verify that you have worked in the companies you claim you have worked for.
Why Conducting A Background Check For Yourself Is Important
Getting the background check result that your potential employer will see can help you in many ways to ensure a smooth process.
1. You can make changes in cases of errors.
When you conduct a background check for yourself, you will have time to go through the report and just proofread it for accuracy before your future employer or landlord does.
2. Early Preparation
A personal background check enables you to prepare to answer questions that could be asked regarding some records under your name.
3. Keeps you aware
Running a background check for yourself ensures you know the records and possible results that the employer may also have. Therefore, you will avoid surprises and be able to control the whole process by preparing.
4. Equips you with a report that you can share
Some employers can ask you if you have ever conducted a background check on yourself. If you have the reports, you can share it with them and make the process easier.
Where Can I Run A Background Check For Myself?
Several companies offer professional services for your background check. With so many background services at your disposal, it can be challenging to know which one is reliable and can provide the desired service. If you decide to run a background check for yourself with a commercial service, you should consider some factors that can help you narrow down to the best service provider.
1. Accreditation and compliance
When searching for a reliable background check provider, confirm that the agency is FCRA compliant. If the agency is not compliant, their background check results cannot be used for legal screening purposes.
The FCRA defines your rights that pre-employment background checks have to comply with. Some rights include:
● Your employer must get written consent from you before running any background check on you.
● All background check reports must have a summary of your FCRA rights.
● If an employer changes their mind and does not hire you after the check, they have to provide you with a copy of the background check and the chance to respond before they make their final decision.
The accurate report is vital when it comes to background screening. Ensure that the agency has a history of providing accurate reports and information.
3. Available Checks
This is one of the must-look factors. Go for an agency that runs several types of background checks that you may need to run.
Consider your budget when comparing companies that offer personal background screening services. Some agencies add additional fees that you should factor in before making a decision.
5. Turnaround Time
Some agencies provide quick turnaround time for their background check services than others. If you are working with a tight deadline, you should consider going for companies offering fast and accurate results.
6. Customer Support
Many background services offer different customer support services by mail, phone calls, and even live chat. Choosing an agency that offers your preferred customer support method will ensure you get the best services by being attended to in a way that is convenient for you.
7. Online Services
Go for an agency that provides online services and where you can create your portal to view your results in one place if you are planning to conduct multiple background checks.
Most background check agencies offer general background checks for different industries. However, if you can find an industry-specific background check service, it will be important to provide a thorough evaluation and report.
While it is practically impossible to know which background screening agency your potential employer will use, it is possible to narrow down to similar services and have almost the same results as they will be having.
Use an agency that also offers background check services to employers and landlords. You may have the same results since these agencies also have access to resources and records that employers are seeking.
One of the best background screening agencies in the United States recommended for your background check is Global Background Screening (GBS).
GBS offers an easy online background check for yourself. Besides, you need a valid email account, SSN, and a payment method (Stripe or Paypal) for the whole process.
How It Works
With a valid email, SSN, and a payment method, you can follow these simple steps for your self background check.
1. Select A Package
GBS provides several background check options with different prices and features that you have to choose from. For running personal background checks, you need to select the Background Check on Myself package and then select the purpose for "employment" to see what an employer would see. If you select "personal" then you will get EVERYTHING on your record, as we wont abide by the FCRA or EEOC guidelines.
This background check service costs $49.99 and it is the one you should select for running a personal background check. It is a standard package and the price may vary on the state you're living in.
The search includes everything a typical background check from an employer consists of (unless it's a financial or government position):
● SSN Trace report which uncovers information on your previous addresses and name.
● County courthouse search
● Sex offender
● Nationwide database search
● Federal criminal records
● Terrorist watch list search
You can choose to add additional services along with this personal background check package. Here are some addons you can consider:
● Drug screen. You will need to provide an electronic consent that will be emailed to your nearest Drug screening lab for testing. You will be given up to 2 days to report for testing.
● Motor Vehicle Report. If you need Motor Vehicle Report to be included in your background check results, you can contact email@example.com or make a call to add the product.
2. Give Consent
Once you have selected the personal background check package and the addons you need, you will be required to make payments. After making the payments, electronic consent will be emailed to the email you provided for you to make a consent.
3. Receive Report
After you have given consent for the personal background check, the turnaround time is between 1-3 days before the report is sent to the email you provided.
Inaccuracies can appear in your background check report at times. It is important to cross-check every information in the report to make sure it is accurate.
Inaccuracies may appear in your report due to the following reasons:
● Identity theft involves fraudulent use of your name and SSN to get access to services like loans. These fraudulent activities also appear under your name and the report.
● Confusion over records for people with the same names. This includes court clerk errors. It's nice to fix them now, as
Why Run Self Background Check With GBS
GBS uses technology throughout the whole process. No more paper forms are required. E-consent forms ensure a fast process with quick turnaround time.
Your data is secured through GBS’ bank-grade encrypted E-consent forms.
GBS complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and follows strict EEOC guidelines to insure you receive the most compliant search possible.
What Can I do If I Have Negative Report?
Unfortunately, not everyone has a perfect report. It is possible that you may have a criminal record or had messed up, and they still show in your report. The good thing is that you have time to prepare for possible questions your employer may ask you since the FCRA requires that you are allowed to respond to your employer before they make their final decision. After taking ownership of the report and accept that they are correct, here is how you can tackle the situation.
● Explain yourself without giving excuses. Some situations like a long jobless period in your resume may be due to valid reasons you can explain to your employer, who may understand the situation.
● Admit if you messed up. Everyone can mess up and land into problems. Explain to your employer that you took lessons out of the situation and have changed ever since.
GBS background screening service lets you add explanatory notes and comments in reports that you feel are negative about you and could cost you the opportunity.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can A Criminal Background Check Disqualify My Candidacy For A Job?
As a standard rule by the FCRA, a candidate's disqualification depends on the relationship between the job duties and criminal records. For example, if the job is about driving, you may not be disqualified for records showing underage drinking 20 years ago but can be disqualified for more recent driving charges.
2. Do employers check my social media accounts during background checks?
While employers may be tempted to check on your social media accounts like Facebook, it is against the law since any background check requires you to provide written consent.
3. What does a red flag mean in background checks?
Red flags in a background check report include criminal records, application discrepancies, and derogatory marks.
Staying ahead of the process by running a personal background check will help you prepare early and to have answers to questions that could otherwise have been difficult to respond to. Background checks for yourself will also ensure you have access to information and make any changes in time before your potential employer gets a hand to the information. Besides, it is important to ensure that your public records in different databases are correct about you, therefore avoiding surprise information in your reports.