While different companies have different opinions on what makes a red flag on a background check, the most common one is factual inconsistency. The information on your resume and job application should always be accurate because it will be checked, be it through a specialized provider like CheckPeople or another way.

According to a study by CareerBuilder, up to 15% of job applicants enter rough estimates of employment dates. This is to be avoided because it can lead to disqualification in extreme cases and to a hiring delay in the best one.

Up to 90% of job seekers have lied about their work experience or dates of employment at least once. You might think this is a little white lie that won’t do anyone any harm, but you might have a problem with it. The reason a company chooses one applicant over another is exactly their experience. The company has a solid reason to reject those who haven’t been honest. Don’t say you spent years doing a specific type of work because the truth will emerge sooner or later. This will either be during the background check or (worse) after you’ve already been hired. This is precisely what employers want to avoid.

Other common red flags on background checks include: 

  • The candidate claims false terms of separation and even false job descriptions
  • An educational institution doesn’t confirm a claimed degree or qualification
  • Someone’s professional license has been subject to disbarment, sanction, or disciplinary action
  • An applicant has a reportable conviction

Fact vs. Fiction

On the note above, we debunk a very common myth: an employer can disqualify someone based on a criminal record immediately. While a conviction would clearly be a red flag for any company, it should be investigated further because applicants may have legal recourse. More specifically, the employer should give the applicant an opportunity to dispute the background check findings. They have this right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). What’s more, companies should consider the violation only if it is relevant to the job the person is applying for.

Job applicants need to know the data, which is shared about them. If you’re looking for a new job, you can run a self-check or view public records. However, there’s no guarantee these kinds of searches will show you what your recruiter will see because they don’t have the status of a pre-employment background check.

Both job applicants and employers should appreciate the fact that screenings are in place to protect them. It’s important to select a background check service provider wisely because you risk getting unreliable, inaccurate, or legally incompliant data. Now, on to some other common red flags on background checks.

Negative Driving History Information

ADUImight kill your chances if you’re applying for a job as a driver or one that will involve driving. This is because your employer will see you as a potential liability and won’t want to deal with legal and insurance-related consequences.

Bad Credit History

If you’re applying for a job in economics or finance, you can be sure the employer will do a credit check. If your credit is not good, this won’t help your chances. Most companies understand that candidates can’t always control their credit rating, but still, it’s best to try and fix it. Awful credit history will probably lead you to fail the screening. When asked about it, be open and leave the impression that your worst days are behind you.

Failed Drug Test

Every employer will want to avoid hiring someone who uses illegal drugs regardless of the position they’re applying for. They have every reason to exclude someone who fails a drug test from their pool of candidates. A favorable hiring decision will be contingent on passing a drug test, and candidateswho fail will find themselves no longer under consideration.

Final Thoughts

Raising a red flag with your prospective employer isn’t the same as losing an employment opportunity. Whatever the case may be, you need to be aware of pertinent laws.

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