Of the many questions we are asked at GroupOne Background Screening, perhaps the most common is what “red flags” do employers notice during a background check? We’ve listed nine of the most common below.
1. Erratic employment history
Gaps in employment history are not always a cause for concern, but a regular pattern of unemployment or a list of short-lived jobs could suggest an applicant is unreliable. This would not include internships or training, which is always a plus for entry-level positions.
2. Lying on your resume
A specific eastern politician has certainly put this red flag squarely in the headlines. And it’s more common than you might think. Dishonesty is a huge alarm. Lying about your education or qualifications will usually be detected during a background check. Background screening teams will contact references to verify details about previous jobs. A background check will also determine when (and if) you obtained your degree.
3. Criminal history
Depending on an employer’s hiring standards and the severity of the crime, an applicant can still be hired as long as they make their history known to the employer. Usually, minor misdemeanors or incidents that occurred many years ago may be overlooked. The standard of how many years screeners go back is usually seven years, but this is not always the case.
4. Bad references
What happens when a former manager gives you a less than shining review? One bad reference may not hurt your chances. Multiple bad references? Well, that’s a definite red flag. It should be noted, due to potential litigation from former employees, many workplaces do not provide information other than dates, title and salary.
5. Poor credit history
Credit checks are not always the standard and are usually performed for financial jobs. If you are going to be dealing with money, a poor credit history could be considered a red flag.
6. Failed drug test
This is a complicated red flag wrought with maddening inconsistency. At the moment, marijuana is legal for adults in 22 states and Washington, D.C. But drug tests are also job-dependent, such as those requiring candidates to drive, work with machinery or perform technical duties. If a candidate fails a drug test, no matter the state, that’s a definite red flag.
7. Bad driving record
Akin to credit history, your driving history will only be checked if the job requires you to drive. Poor driving records can include multiple citations, driving under the influence or a conviction for reckless driving, red flags all!
8. Social media activity
Another tricky area with constantly evolving laws that protect a job candidate’s rights. Social media checks are not the standard in background screenings, but make no mistake, it’s legal. Employers can peruse social media to gauge a candidate’s character. Common red flags are hate speech, foul language or distasteful material that could reflect badly on the company.
9. Working legally in the U.S.
Simply put, employees must be legally eligible to work in the U.S. During the hiring process, both citizens and non-citizens must complete an Employment Eligibility Form (I-9). Job applicants will need to present these documents verifying their identity and employment authorization to the employer.