Understanding Background Checks

In a competitive job market, Toronto employers want to make sure they are getting the best and brightest.  Anyone can make themselves look like a star on paper, but hiring managers generally take the necessary steps to cover their basis.  Not every employer conducts a background check, and most are tailored to the responsibilities of the position. 

See also: Can you lie on your CV

Are you who you say you are?

Confirming identity is a basic requirement that is usually satisfied by a piece of government issued ID and a SIN number.  This is a standard procedure that helps your employer comply with typical payroll regulations.  It’s a good idea to have your ID, SIN number and banking information handy on the day you sign off on your job offer so that all of your paperwork can be completed at once.

Did you really complete that degree?

Most people work long and hard for their post-secondary education, so it’s no wonder that employers want to separate the finishers from the fakers.  It can be tempting to embellish the truth, especially if you are only a few credits away from competition, but it’s not worth it if it costs you the position.  Some hiring managers will ask for transcripts or copies of your certifications and diplomas for your file. 

Did you actually hold a management position at your previous company?

Will your potential employers ever find out if you adorn your resume with relevant, but slightly fictitious, work experience?  The truth is – they might.  What’s worse, they may have the right to terminate you down the road if they find out you overstated or you weren’t truthful about your work experience.  Employee background checks typically involve a few phone calls to past employers to verify your position, responsibilities, and your length of time with the company.

How dangerous are you behind the wheel?

Submitting a driver’s abstract is very common for employers that need to put you on a company auto insurance policy. Your behaviour on the road, especially in a marked company vehicle, is a direct reflection of the business itself in the public eye.  It’s a good idea to order a copy of your driver’s abstract ahead of time so you know what it says and can address any errors that might appear on your history.

What does your credit report say about you?

More and more companies are requiring employee’s permission to pull a credit report.  This is common practice in the accounting and financial services field, especially when you’ll be required to handle money in your new position. You won’t necessarily be disqualified if you have a less than stellar credit score, but employers may want you to disclose past bankruptcies or consumer proposals.

Have you ever been in trouble with the law?

Most employers will let you know up front if this is a requirement, so applicants are well aware before they make it to the interview process.  Having a criminal record may be a deal breaker in certain industries, especially if the position requires cross-border travel.  If you’ve had some legal troubles in the past, it’s wise to see if you can get a pardon, whether you are on the hunt for a new job or not.  Pardons can take a long time to get sorted out, and you will be thankful that you did the legwork well in advance.

Do you know of anything else that a potential might look for? Please share in the comment section below.

Criminal WatchDog
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