6 Reasons You Might Lose a Job Offer Due to a Background Screening

background-screeningThe vast majority of employers these days do extensive background checks on their job applicants before making an official hiring decision. Even if you have a job offer on the table, it might be conditional on you passing a background check first. Suffice it to say that these screenings are a very important step in the job interview process, and that they can impact your chances of landing or not landing a dream job.

If you’ve never submitted to a pre-employment background check before, it can be unclear exactly what employers are looking for (or finding) in your past. You’ll find yourself asking questions like “What are they learning about me?” or “Do I have to worry about missing out on a job because of this?” Both are valid questions. To help answer them, here are six reasons that you might be rejected for a job based on a background check.

1. You have an extensive criminal history

One of the first things that employers are looking for on their applicant background checks is criminal history. The simple existence of a criminal conviction on your record doesn’t necessarily mean you will be disqualified from employment consideration. Most employers won’t look at misdemeanor offenses or older convictions as deal breakers, and people who aren’t repeat offenders are regularly given the benefit of the doubt that they are trying to rebuild their lives after a criminal offense. Violent criminals, sex offenders, notorious repeat offenders, or embezzlers are just a few of the groups that will repeatedly lose job offers due to criminal history background checks.

Ultimately, though, know that different jobs have different standards as far as acceptable criminal history is concerned. For instance, you’ll be much more likely to get hired for a warehouse job with a criminal record than you will be to win a teaching position at a public elementary school.

2. You lied on your resume

Background checks are great for uncovering an applicant’s criminal history, but they might be even better for unmasking bits of dishonesty on the resume or job application. Maybe you claimed a college degree that you don’t really have, or perhaps you lied about a previous job title or hire date. Between background checks and employment or educational verification checks, an employer has a good chance of finding out if you lied on your resume. And if you did, even if the fib was minor and seemingly inconsequential to you, it can still cost you a job opportunity. After all, what boss wants to hire a person they know is willing to lie to them?

3. Your credit history is poor

Not all employers will look into your credit history. For jobs that involve the handling of money or finances, though, you might find yourself approving a credit history check. Quite simply, your prospective employer wants to know how youhave handled your own finances in the past. And in such situations, substantial amounts of debt or evident money issues can mark you as someone who is not responsible enough for the job at hand.

4. Your driving record revealed issues

As with credit history, driving records are not something that every employer is going to look at. If you are going to be operating a vehicle as part of your job, then a driving history check should and will be a part of the applicant screening process. A speeding ticket or two shouldn’t hurt you, but if you’ve been charged with reckless driving or with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, then you’ll be out of the applicant pool as quickly as the hiring manager can shred your application.

5. A previous employer gave you a bad review

As part of a background check, hiring managers won’t just call the references you’ve listed to speak on your behalf, but they’ll also probably try to speak with your former bosses. There’s an obvious reason for this: your prospective employer wants to hear how you operate on a day-to-day basis. Are you friendly? Are you a hard worker? Is your work of a high quality? These are a few of the types of questions that a hiring manager might wish to ask your former bosses, just to get an idea of what kind of experience they would have with you as an employee.

Due to libel claims and other similar issues, some former employers won’t be willing to speak about you beyond confirming job titles, hiring dates, and salaries. However, if you left a job on bad terms or frequently had clashes with your boss, there’s a chance that information could come out during the pre-employment screening process, and it might just alter your hiring chances.

6. Your background check pulled up incorrect information

Chances are you’ve been reading this list and keeping a tally of the things you might have to worry about from background checks. You’ve never committed a crime, you were completely truthful on your resume, you have exemplary credit, your driving record is clean, and you are on great terms with all of your old bosses: you should have nothing to worry about, right?

Well, not quite. Sometimes, you can do everything right and still have your employment chances derailed by a background check. How come? Because ultimately, not every background check is going to be 100% accurate. For instance, a criminal conviction might have been filed on your record from a felon who shares your name. Or perhaps you’re a victim of identity theft, and that fact has left your credit in ruins. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to do a test background check on yourself before heading into the interview. If you find any incorrect information, you can contact the appropriate courts or departments to get everything fixed and put in proper order.

Also remember that if you do lose a job opportunity because of a background check, you have a right to know why. The employer needs to provide you with a written explanation for the decision, and you are legally permitted to request a free copy of the background check report that cost you the job. If the report was inaccurate, you can dispute the findings and get your name cleared so that you have a better shot at getting the job next time around.

Still looking for a job at an organization you’ll love? DAVIS Companies specializes in finding job seekers best fit opportunities, not just open positions. If you are looking for work, take a look at DAVIS’ job openings

background screeningMichael Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.


34 thoughts on “6 Reasons You Might Lose a Job Offer Due to a Background Screening

  1. It makes sense that a background screening revealing any one of these things may prevent companies from offering you a job. Though, it is sad to know that you may lose an offer based on a screening that gave incorrect results. It’s still good to know that you can request the reason and results if the offer is lost, and that you can dispute it if there’s any incorrect information.

    • Is that true? My daughter was just denied employment due to findings in a background check and the employer told her that she did not have a right to know, nor were they obligated to disclose the reasons or provide her with the background check. Who do we complain to?

      • I was just turn down a job with CoreCivic, and HR, told me they do not know why, it another company that does the background checking. How do I find out who I get intouch, to find out WHY?

        NEED A JOB! RUTH

  2. Before submitting credentials to the company you are applying for, it is greatly important to keep in mind to put only authentic information about you and never try to syndicate experiences or little background of you. Because at certain point of time, this will be used against you to firing you if you do not specify true info.

  3. I recently had an interview with a Courtyard by Marriott hotels for a front desk position I was told at the end of the interview that they wanted to offer me a full-time position and they just had to wait for my background check to come back I hadn’t heard from them in a while so I emailed the gentleman that I interviewed with I got an email back from a woman who was the front desk supervisor just stating for me to call them at my earliest convenience anybody have any experience with this do you know if this means that I for sure got the job or not?

    • Sounds like “The run around” to me….I would ask for your free copy of your background check by law you have that right! I’m having issues with job hiring also well now I’m having to take empl oyers to court for writing me fraudulent checks!!! I not picky i just need someone to be helpful!

  4. You forgot 7… When the background check company you are sent to fails to transmit your fingerprints and the check never takes place. Then you don’t get a job because they assume something is wrong and that’s why the check is taking so long. Exactly how it went down for my wife and her dream job. Hired on the spot, never got to work.

    • Same with me. Finally landed a good job and just got the call about something being on my background check. They wanted to know what happened and said they’ll make their decision, but I know they aren’t going to hire over one small mistake I made years ago. They made me a offer me before they did the background and what’s on my background really has nothing to do with my ability to work. I can’t get a break!

      • Did you get the job? I’m going through the same exact thing right now. Got hired on the spot for the perfect job. Background check came back “consider” so I explained what happened and it happened 11 years ago. The hiring manager had to email corporate and they will decide if I can work. I’m waiting, as I just got the “consider” call today. Got my fingers crossed.

      • You must learn how to present yourself in a positive light and showing you are not your past. You have to own whatever did. They will respect your honesty and maturity to say that you made a bad choice, since this then you have done positive things to better your life. If you are active in your community, church, etc. That is what they want to hear. I have worked with ex-offenders for 8 years and see it everyday, where people with little experience and multiple things on there records get jobs.

  5. Hi I’m wondering if my employer didn’t ask me about my record And there wasn’t any questions on application or with the owner and hiring manager concerning my record or background check. Can I be fired if they find out about it after I’ve worked for the company for almost 60 days?

  6. Hi I’m looking into working at an airport, to be exact as a gate agent. Gate agents are required to operate jetways , we’ll I was convicted with a DWI in 2014 will I be able to operate a jetways and will this effect me getting hired?

  7. Hi,
    I just got a formal job offer contingent on a pre employment verification and screening. The state is Minnesota (Ban the Box state) so there weren’t questions on the application about my background nor did it come up in the interview process. I have a felony criminal mischief from 15 years ago when I was 18. It is a non violent crime. Would this company withdrawl their offer because of this and is it legal for them to do so? I’m active duty in the Marine Corps and have been for 9 years and I’m getting out with an honorable discharge.

  8. I think that collecting all this information is not only wrong headed and invasive, it’s also, and most importantly, unconstitutional. I don’t care what kind of misdirection or equivocation one uses to obfuscate the truth under the guise of it being’what’s right for employers and all all the tired rules of a defunct meritocracy/bureaucracy, it’s all lies. The simple truth is that people are not perfect and just because they’ve made a single mistake 20 years ago, it’s no reason to deny them employment. Society at large depends upon a broad pool of talent to pull from. While I’m not sugggesting that employers hire dangerous people, I am saying that their metrics are flawed and even when they’re not flawed, the people that do the reading are full of bias, imperfection and even agendas that are far too often allowed to be used as a considering factor when extending employment offfers. I do believe in checking basics, however, and I believe that credit checks should be allowed in jobs that deal with money. But that’s it and I also KNOW that urine tests are unconstitutional. The assumption is that working is an option….In this era of few jobs working is NOT an option and thus all the protections of the constitution should apply whether you work for Boeing building jet systems or at the local steel mill. Because each of these entities are using this check now. People will use any tool they can as hiring managers so they appear to be using diligence in finding candidates. As long as there’s any question about fairness, it should be disallowed for jobs it’s not specifically indicated for. Thank you.

  9. I have 2 out standing speeding tickets in NV. company is doing a pre employment background check on me. Will it cost me the job.

  10. My name is David let me explain my situation. I recently had a job at Michael’s finer Meats. I worked there for almost 3 years and then I sought better employment at sbm. Let me explain I fill out an application sbm while working at Michael’s finer Meats. The site manager sbm call me in for a interview I went in for the interview during the interview site manager told me that my application came up loss and I have to redo it another application he also told me the hours I’ll be working 2 days I will be working and gave me a tour other facility after that I left now during all of this I’m still working at my prior job. Few days later he called me back again gave me paperwork and told me to go to the specific location to take a drug test I did that and a day later the place he sent me called me and told me that the drug test I took was no good void because I was sent to the wrong location and for me to take the paperwork back to the place and tell them what had happened and for them to reschedule me and send me to the correct place I did that. So the site manager schedule me to take another drug and alcohol test I went and took the test 2 days later he called me and told me to come in for an orientation I came in for the orientation after the orientation the supervisor asked me could I start that evening I told him no because I’m still working at my prior job I would like to finish the week out and start the following week he said that that was fine. So at the end of the week I quit Michael finer Meats and started working for sbm the prior week and work 40 hours that week and then I was off for 3 days. On my second day off Site Manager called me in on my off day and told me that I have some more paperwork I have to fill out when I got there he informed me that they lost the application once again and that I will have to fill out an application all over again I did that and then when it was time for me to start work again on my scheduled day to work he told me that my background check hasn’t come back and that I will have to wait until it comes back. I called HR explain to them everything that has happened HR agreed that it was not my fault and she said that she would talk to her supervisor and get back with me and see if I can continue to work until 9 background check came back and if anything was on my background check that will prevent me from working at that point in time they will have to let me go I agree to that she talked to her supervisor call me back and told me that her supervisor said that I could not work until my background check comes back no I haven’t been working for almost 2 weeks now I have missed all kinds of money I’m a family man I have kids and I have bills to pay is there a law that protects people like me that ends up in a situation like this? Understand I was already working prior to getting this job shouldn’t they have done a background check prior to letting me start? Is there anybody that can help me out with this I would greatly appreciate it.

    • No, mostly employers conduct background checks AFTER they hire you. The law in most states is that they must not discriminate against HIRING people based solely on a background check. That’s all the law cares about. So, once that is satisfied, the rest is up to the employer to do as he wishes. Kinda messed up and no one likes it. It gives false hope and wastes the time of the applicant and it costs the employer money for the background check and time spent hiring and then getting rid of you.

  11. In January 2017 i charge with a dui not a dwi the court gave me a pbj also I’m a cdl license so will this hurt my criminal background history when I apply for driving jobs

  12. I recently was hired at a Catering company but after the background check was completed I was told that they are separating my employment due to the background info showing offense that I thought was expunged but they said it was showing as an active case.So long story short I went and checked with county and state and was told that there’s an order to conceal after expungement and I’m fine. so I asked for the agency name that did the check on me and called them and they said they will send a request to who I don’t know to see if it’s indeed incorrect. So I called two days later to that background agency again and was told that their database wasn’t updated and that’s why my case was showing pending so they corrected the information . Couple of months before that I was offered a different job and my check was fine but it was a different background agency performing it and it was totally clear criminal record. So that tells me not all background agencies update their information and things like that could happen again cause there’s so many places that perform background checks and what do I do ? Call every background agency in US to see if theirs showing right info??? It’s absurd.

  13. I was picked by my local (CA) Sheriff’s Dept for employment pending a background check. Not a criminal, but something they found…they didn’t like. It was a huge process. I got a letter telling me my background check didn’t meet their standards and, per the letter: “We are unable to discuss the contents of your background investigation with you”.

    Is this legal in California, for law enforcement?

  14. Have 2 theft charges pending but have been employed with my current job for 3 years and we just got bought out. They are conducting a hair follicle test with background. Should I be worried

  15. I’m now 38 and when I was in my 20’s I had dream jobs pharma, medical, if one failed another just came along. Btw, that’s not good I now realize because you come to an expectation that everything will fall in your lap. Well… I’m here to tell ya it doesn’t and your luck will run out and mine did especially after 2008. Anyway, things have changed these background checks have gotten very intensive and what I feel invasive particularly the credit check. Pharma ran one on me but understandable I had to have a credit card. I’m going through one now and I’m like what the hell im surprised they don’t want a DNA sample. My credit is no indication of the type of worker I am, line 10 ppl up and you’d be lucky if 8 of em could pass a credit check or get a loan from their monther. Life happens sometimes, hey that’s why we want to better ourselves with a better paying job. Don’t feel I should be chastised for a number. I know that’s how the world works now by that 3 digit number. However my work ethic will not be judged based on that!! Rediculous!!

  16. I think that it is a good idea for employers to do background checks on their employees and candidates. By doing a background check, they can find out the history of the candidates for a job. If you have a few people that are qualified and one has a criminal record while the other one doesn’t, it would help to decide which candidate to choose. Also, you will be able to know if they were truthful on their application which would be very important.

  17. I applied for a job recently and git the offer pending my background.
    in the questionnaire I was asked to post any and all criminal convictions in the last ten years and it specifically state to NOT post anything prior to that. Well I check the box that read “I have no criminal conviction in the last ten years”.
    Well I got a call back from the recruiter telling me they saw my misdemeanor from 21 years ago along with my probation violation from the same time period. Now the recruiter stated that they need more information on the case ( the police report and an official statement as to what my probation violation was). Can they deny me the job for this? in Washington State. I did two interviews, personality assessment, along with other hoops Ive had to jump through. I am struggling financially and am a single dad so I really need and want this job.Thank you for reading and answering in advance.

  18. I am in the process of completing an employment form where there is question “Have you ever been fired or from a job or being asked to leave”?
    I was let go from the company due to performance. But was not asked to resign and was on the payroll for a week with full benefits after the date I was let go.

    – How should I response to this question?
    – Can an employer refused a job in my situation?

  19. It’s so hard to find a job these days and now they make it even harder with all these background checks. I can agree with a company that they want to make sure your not a criminal but when a former boss knocks you down for your performances then that’s just wrong. Not everyone is perfect and fits every job. I supported a large group of people and couldn’t keep up with all the work but is that the reason to put me on an employee improvement program and tell future employers that they shouldn’t hire me?
    Mangers are not always right. I fought that I’m supporting 25 people and I wasnt hired to do that but it didn’t matter.
    I was told I need to adjust to the demands of my department or they will fire me.

  20. There is no verifiable, trustworthy, or reputable data that says bad credit equals bad employee. It’s all a scam. It’s a scam because it’s an easy way for companies to eliminate candidates, instead of gauging their character. I have poor credit, but have been told I’m a valuable employee by several of my employers. I have poor credit but I have a better driving record than 1/3 of the country. I haven’t had an at fault accident in 18 years, no dui, only 4 tickets which alk of them been reduced to parking citations after adjudication. I have driven 450k miles since 1997.

    So tell me how bad credit makes me a bad employee and a bad driver….im waiting. It’s pure junk.

    • Bad credit is indicative of unmanageability. Those with poor credit are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol or even be involved in any number of risky behaviors. The odds are in the favor of a direct correlation between poor credit and problems at home carrying over to the workplace. Sucks. What can u do? Make better decisions in life. Somethings are unavoidable but most can be traced back, if you are honest with yourself, to some poor decision, that when you think about it now, you wish you would have handled it differently. I’m included in this as well.

      • You couldn’t be more wrong. The same propaganda the insurance companies say, people with bad credit are insurance risks. Well I must be the incredible exception to every rule. I’ve had no at fault accidents in 18 years(July 1999), despite me driving 400k mikes since. Ive never touched a drug in my life, and have no criminal record. Never been detained, arrested or placed in handcuffs. I hold my ccw permit. Never had any domestic incident where the cops have came to my residence.

        I guess I’m the oppitime of bad things happen to good people.

  21. I recently received an on the spot offer contingent on my background check. I applied for this job in July, but I began working for another job at the end of August. They req I bring the resume with me I used to apply and I did. The problem is, I didn’t update my resume bc I started working after I applied for this job. Will the employer look at me like I lied on my resume? I had to list my current employer for the background check and I did. The company I listed on my resume is a commission based company I contract with(and still do) even while working job I got in August. Does anyone think this will be a problem?

    • You shouldn’t have a problem. I did the same thing. I had a job I started out as a temp with a temp agency, but after 6 months got hired on as permanent. On my resume I put the full time employer for the entire duration. I did this to make it appear more attractive to prospective employers. So it doesn’t look like I had multiple jobs when it was truly only 1. I listed the real employers when I started the background process.

  22. I applied for a job as home care nurse (in nursing field 28 + yrs) never had a problem finding a job due to criminal history. I had issues in the past with pain killers and did stupid things to get money to get them. Anyways, in 2005 I shoplifted 2010 bad check as well as 2016 all 3 cases I had an attorney and was told THIS IS NOT A CRIMINAL OFFENSE they were pleaded down to nothing. So naturally I checked the criminal past ? As a NO. Got a call from.security office . The guy was grilling me as to what happened etc etc. I tried to explain. He listened and then just said , he will submit his findings to HR . I have yet to hear if I have the job or not. It is my dream job. Should I try to meet with this guy and explain things since he is a big part of the deciding factor to be hired? I am clean now going on TWO YEARS. And under Drs care. If he met me maybe he would be more apt to understand. What do y’all think??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *