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What Shows Up On a Background Check?

what shows up on a background check

A background check can reveal a lot about you on various levels.

This check can unleash information about your personal and financial status. Employers run these checks before hiring potential candidates for a job.

This is also because they want to hire candidates that do not have any red flags in their past.

What Information Does A Background Check Cover?

A background check contains case-sensitive information and depends on privacy protection regulations. Most organizations are subject to the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Even though they run a background check, they must abide by the equal employment opportunity commission. All shared information must fall under the guidelines of these two bodies.

Candidates often wonder what information a background check reveals. Here is what comes under a basic background check.

what shows up on a background check

1 Criminal History

Almost every organization will check your criminal history. You cannot hide your criminal background because it is linked with your social security. This includes all information including past criminal charges, convictions, or any pending cases.

This also includes additional information such as a pending arrest or pending prosecution.

2 Juvenile Record

Juvenile records do not show up in background checks because they are sealed o protect your identity. A criminal conviction, however, does show up after a certain age but only for certain crimes. Criminal records older than 7 years will not show up in most states. This is because they forbid this from happening.

What To Expect From A Pre-Employment Background Check?

Background checks conducted by employers go through various aspects including:

  • A criminal check
  • Identity verification
  • Education verification
  • Past employment verification
  • Professional license verification, if needed

Candidates will also face a driving background check. Some employers even conduct a drug test. This is because they do not want to hire any candidates using illegal substances.

These tests are critical in organizations where they require their employees to handle:

  • Vehicles
  • Coworkers
  • Public safety
  • Heavy machinery
  • Customers or buyers
  • Hazardous equipment

Law Limit On Background Check

These are some of the federal and state law limitations. These limitations apply to the employment background check.

1 Low salary cap

If a candidate earns less than $75000 a year then the authorities do not reveal all information. Civil judgments, disciplinary hearings, government sanctions, and professional license information is not disclosed.

2 High salary cap

If an individual earns more than $75,000 a year all information is disclosed. This is even if the information is older than 7 years.

Fingerprint Background Check

Fingerprint background check ties an individual’s fingerprints to their background information. The information present in a background check can vary for each individual, depending on their history.

what show up on the background check

Criminals with a conviction will have all their information linked to a fingerprint background check.

A person with no conviction may not have too much information linked to their fingerprint. This is because they have no charges pressed against them.

FBI Background Check

Some organizations use federal government agencies to run background checks on their employees. An FBI level background check leaves no stone unturned when it comes to revealing information about a candidate. This includes anything and everything including parking tickets accumulated over the years.

The authorities must integrate an individual with the automated finger identification system. This will enable them to show up on the FBI background check. All felons fall under this system.

This background check includes information on sex offenders, wanted criminals, and terrorists. This information may not always be complete however it does provide a lot of information regarding the candidate.

An FBI background check is one of the most detailed background checks for an individual. This is because it involves extensive research, interview with the individual in question along with people who know them. It is not easy as getting a security clearance and may involve a lot of time.

Level 2 Background Check

A level 2 background check is an extensive background check. This is because it is run on individuals looking to work with:

  • Children
  • Senior citizens
  • People with special needs or disabilities

This check is also run on individuals looking to become foster parents or to adopt a child. It involves two levels of screening and pulls out records, irrespective of the age of the candidate.

Since the individuals looking to bag the job would be dealing with sensitive and vulnerable individuals, this check reveals all, including juvenile convictions.

What Shows Up On A Background Check?


Driving under the influence is a serious criminal offense. It comes up in your criminal background check. If the job requires you to drive, you may not get through. This is because you have a DUI against your name.

2 Criminal Convictions Older Than 7 Years

Different states have different laws with regards to revealing convictions that are more than seven years. Certain jobs require more information. If your salary cap is high enough then this information can be revealed.

what show up on background check

3 Warrants

Open arrest warrants and bench warrants usually do not show up in a background check. Once the warrant is executed, it is part of your background check and will show on all checks run on you.

4 Dismissed charges

Dismissed cases may appear in criminal background checks. Sometimes even sealed records get revealed because of the nature of the job.

5 Pending charges

Pending charges show up on background checks however an employer is required to ignore pending charges on a misdemeanor. They can only consider pending charges on a felony.

6 Expunged or sealed records

Expunged or sealed records are out of bounds for the public. If the employer would like to learn more about it then they need to put in a request.

The authorities grant this request in a level 2 background check. They also grant it if it involves the mistreatment of a child or a vulnerable individual and the nature of the job is on similar lines.

What Does Not Show Up On A Background Check?

1 Misdemeanor

A misdemeanor is a petty crime that involves a sentence between 15 days to a year. This shows on your criminal background check and is knocked off after 7 years.

2 Restraining order

A standing order is a civil matter. This does not come up in a criminal background check unless you were arrested for a violation of the order.

3 Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy has nothing to do with your criminal background check. It will not show up, especially if it is older than 10 years.

4 Parking Tickets

Most background checks will not reveal all information because it is not required. This includes information such as traffic tickets. This gets revealed only for jobs that are case-sensitive. Most organizations do not care if you have a parking ticket or two.

Final Words

Your background check information varies based on what the organization is looking for. Others like to dig a little deeper depending on their nature of business. Irrespective of the kind of background check conducted, it has to be FCRA (fair credit reporting act) compliant.

Irrespective of the check run on you, you need to be confident when applying for a job. This is because as a felon, you need to understand that second chances are not provided easily. You will need to work your way up the ladder and establish a trustworthy relationship with your employer.

Make sure you are honest during your interview and inform the hiring manager if you fear something will come up in your background check.

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