Criminal Background Checks

If you've done something illegal in your life, chances are good you will get caught. And when you get caught, that bad thing you did will end up on your criminal record, following you for the rest of your life. Of course, ideally, you want to avoid breaking laws (well, the major ones anyway) so that when criminal background checks are done, you have nothing to hide. These background checks are done on a regular basis when applying for jobs and for other positions in your life - i.e. volunteering, childcare, etc. But you seem like a pretty law-abiding citizen, right? Here's what you need to know about criminal background checks since you already know how to avoid having a background in the first place (well, hopefully).

Who Needs Criminal Background Checks?

Criminal background checks are often one of the answers to the question of, "What is preemployment screening?" As one of the main components of preemployment testing, criminal background checks allow employers to see into your past to see what you might have done. Sometimes, these checks will be voluntary, with the employee simply being asked about their background. And other times, an employee might be asked to sign something giving permission to the employer to find out more about their background. Of course, if you've been asked whether there is something in your background, you might want to be honest - often, the employer is going to be double checking your story.

Criminal background checks are needed for employers who have sensitive material or clients who will be handled during the employee's career. And honestly, this includes just about anyone. From businesses that handle money to organizations that work with children, knowing whether an employee has had troubles in the past is going to help employers avoid troubles in the future. For example, if an employee has already had a background of embezzling from a previous employer, chances are pretty high they might try to steal from another company as well.

How Criminal Background Checks are Done

There are a number of ways criminal background checks can be done on a prospective employee. The company might contact the local law enforcement agencies to see whether there is a record on a specific person - or the company can also go online to various websites which specialize in background checks. In doing so, the employer can find out your past history quickly and accurately.

Of course, even if you have a criminal background, chances are good you might still be able to get the job. Some lesser offenses might pop up (shoplifting when you were 10, for example) and they might just need an explanation from you. Often, employers just want to be certain things won't happen again, so they may just want to hear it from your mouth that you aren't going to repeat your past. If you can assure them you won't, chances are they'll let little things slide. It's the lying about your past that employers really don't like - so avoid that.