Preparing for a Background Check

Preparing for a Background Check

You can take steps to prepare for an employee background check before you apply for a new job. By doing so, you could reduce the chance of being surprised by inaccurate or forgotten information that could show up during the background check process.

Verify Your Records

Court Records

If you have an arrest record or have been involved in a court case, go to the county where it took place and inspect the files. Make sure the information is correct and up to date. Court records aren't always updated correctly so it's always best to check these for yourself. If you think a conviction was expunged or dismissed, get a certified copy of your report from the court. Some courts may allow you to obtain records online or by mail.

Credit Report

Order a copy of your credit report and (if there's something you don't recognize or disagree with) dispute the information before you have to explain it to a potential employer. 

Driving Record

Request a copy of your driving record from your state’s motor vehicle department (DMV, MVD), especially if you are applying for a job that involves driving. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) convictions aren't considered minor traffic infractions. Applicants with a DUI or DWI who have answered no to a conviction on a job application might be denied employment for falsifying the form (even if the incident only happened once/many years before). 

Personnel Files

Even if you don't work there anymore, state laws might allow you to see your personnel files. You might also want to ask your former employer if they have a policy on releasing personnel records to other companies. Many companies limit the amount of information they disclose.

Review Your Online Presence


Search your name online and (if you find something you don’t want a potential employer to see) contact  the site to learn if/how you can remove it. This might also help you find old accounts you have forgotten about.

Social Media

Make a list of your social media accounts (both in-use and inactive). Determine which accounts are public and if you'd want a potential employer to see the information on them. If necessary, change the settings to make them private. 

If you're a content creator, review your content from the perspective of a potential employer.

Check Yourself

If you want to see what an employer’s background check might uncover, you could buy your own background check. Getting your own report could help you discover potential errors or misleading information.

If you've already had a background check, you might be able to receive a copy of your file from the employment screening company. If you don't know the name of the screening company, ask whoever requested the background check.