You’ve completed the interview successfully, and the employer seems interested in hiring you. But before making the offer, they want to do a background check. It may seem invasive, but the background check has become a routine part of the hiring process for many jobs.

Jobs That Require Background Checks

Not all jobs require background checks, but many do, especially those in which you will interact with certain populations such as children or be responsible for money or expensive equipment. Government jobs on the federal, state, and local levels will conduct background checks.

For some jobs, background checks are required by law. These include jobs in education, child care, health care, financial fields, and information technology. The laws will vary on the state and local levels. However, keep in mind that any employer may run a background check if they wish.

What Shows up on a Background Check

A background check will verify your identity through your social security number and date of birth. The report includes your credit history, including any outstanding loans and bankruptcies. It will also search through certain databases, such as the FBI and Homeland Security, as well as any criminal records on the local, state, and federal levels.

A criminal record can limit your job opportunities and may raise red flags for employers. The report will list information on any felony or misdemeanor convictions, along with pending cases and warrants. A record will not automatically disqualify you, but trying to conceal it might.

How to Prepare for a Background Check

As part of your job search, it’s a good idea to get ready for your background check. Although you can’t erase the past, there are some measures you can take to fashion a more favorable profile. The first step involves knowing what might be on the report by doing a background check on yourself.

You can dispute any discrepancies or inaccuracies in the report. You can also address issues such as delinquent loan payments or debts. Certain criminal records can be sealed or expunged, if they qualify.

Everyone leaves a record of their past, for better or for worse, and employers can easily find it. Applying for a job is stressful enough, and worrying about a background check can just add to it. You’ll have more peace of mind when you know what to expect.

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