Job Advice

What Will Show Up On Your Background Check?

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January 5, 2011

With eight out of ten hiring officials in Central Indiana jobs conducting background checks, it is vital to know what may show up on yours. 

Employers are running checks that range from a basic criminal check for those applying for entry level jobs, Indianapolis part time jobs and administrative jobs in Indianapolis to nationwide criminal and credit checks for those applying for finance and accounting jobs, Indianapolis executive jobs or six-figure jobs in Indianapolis and an even more intensive background check, including interviewing previous neighbors, previous drug use, etc. for those applying for Federal Government Contract jobs in Indianapolis.


Even more important than knowing what may show up on your background is that you disclose this to Executive Headhunters or any hiring official in Central Indiana jobs. You may have a conviction that meets an employer’s criteria but if you have not disclosed this, that is considered falsifying your application.


There is valuable information found at The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse  

Before you begin your Indianapolis career search, take the following steps to reduce the chances that you and/or the potential employer will be "surprised" by information found in the background check process:

  • Order a copy of your credit report. If there is something you do not recognize or that you disagree with, dispute the information with the creditor and/or credit bureau before you have to explain it to the interviewer. Another individuals name may appear on your credit report. This happens when someone mistakenly writes down the wrong Social Security number on a credit application causing that name to appear on your file. Or you might be a victim of identity theft. (See PRC Fact Sheet 6 on your credit reporting rights,, and Fact Sheet 17a on identity theft,
  • Check court records. If you have an arrest record or have been involved in court cases, go to the county where this took place and inspect the files. Make sure the information is correct and up to date.

    Reporting agencies often report felony convictions when the consumer truly believes the crime was reduced to a misdemeanor, or that it was reported as a misdemeanor conviction when the consumer thought the charge was reduced to an infraction. Court records are not always updated correctly. For example, a signature that was needed to reduce the charges might not have been obtained or recorded by the court. Don’t rely on what your attorney may have told you. If you think the conviction was expunged or dismissed, get a certified copy of your report from the court. For an explanation of expungement, visit

  • Check DMV records. Request a copy of your driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles, especially if you are applying for a job that involves driving.

    Many employers ask on their application if you were ever convicted of a crime. Or they might word the question to ask whether you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. Typically, the application says you do not have to divulge a case that was expunged or dismissed, or that was a minor traffic violation.

    Don’t be confused. A DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) conviction is not considered a minor traffic infraction. Applicants with a DUI or DWI who have not checked "yes" on a job application may be denied employment for falsifying the form — even when the incident occurred only once or happened many years before. The employer perceives this as dishonesty, even though the applicant might only have been confused by the question.

  • Do your own background check. If you want to see what an employer’s background check might uncover, hire a company that specializes in such reports to conduct one for you. That way, you can discover if the data bases of information vendors contain er

    roneous or misleading information. (Consult the Yellow Pages under "Investigators.") Or, you can use one of the many online search services to find out what an employer would learn if conducting a background check in this way.

  • Read the fine print carefully. When you sign a job application, you will be asked to sign a consent form if a background check is conducted. Read this statement carefully and ask questions if the authorization statement is not clear. Unfortunately, job seekers are in an awkward position, since refusing to authorize a background check may jeopardize the chances of getting the job.

These steps can help eliminate a costly (and even embarrassing) mistake in your Indianapolis job search!