Forewarned, Forearmed: Self Background Checks Named “Trend” for 2012

Posted January 3, 2012 in Consumer Law by

With the unemployment rate hovering between 8 and 9 percent, job seekers still face a lot of competition for every opening. At a time when you need to pull out all the stops to impress potential employers and stand out from the crowd, don’t get caught off-guard by a nasty surprise in your background check.

  • Self background checks one of “top ten trends” for 2012
  • Three out of four employers check applicants’ backgrounds
  • What to do if your background check has inaccurate information


More Than Just Navel Gazing


Self background checks by people applying for jobs has made the list of top ten trends in background checks for 2012, compiled by Employment Screening Resources, a Bay Area firm that provides various background checking resources to employers.

“If [job seekers] have to undergo a background check, it would be in their best interest to make sure the information found on the background check is accurate, up-to-date, and complete,” ESR Founder and CEO Les Rosen wrote in a press release. “As a result, some jobseekers are taking matters in their own hands by proactively conducting ‘self’ background checks on themselves to verify the accuracy of their public information.”

There are various ways you can get a sneak-peek at what employers might see when they check you out:

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 14:  The new Apple...Google yourself, and check out social media sites that might have information about you posted.
  • Use background check apps and websites—but be cautious, the information provided by these programs may not be entirely accurate or match what a professional background check will turn up.
  • Check your credit—by law you can get one free report from each of the three credit ratings agencies once per year.
  • Engage a professional background check service, such as that offered by ESR.


 Wait, I Didn’t Sign Up for that Credit Card . . .


According to a 2010 survey, three quarters of businesses in the United States background check their applicants, including checking references, criminal records, and to a lesser extent, credit reports.

In that kind of environment, the last thing you want is to miss out on a dream job because of inaccurate information found in your background check. ESR lists a host of reasons that a background check could sink applicants who think they have squeaky-clean records:

  • A job seeker is the victim of identity theft.
  • Someone with the same name as a job seeker has committed a crime.
  • Some minor or old criminal matter that the job seeker thought was judicially set aside or was too old to matter still pops up.
  • Some past employer or school does not have the job seeker’s record under the proper name so that a background check may be inaccurate.
  • A school may have a job seeker under a different name, or may not have given the job seeker the degree due to not paying a final bill and the school did not officially give the degree.
  • A driving record check may reveal an old ticket that the job seeker thought was taken care of but went to a warrant for failure to appear.


If you find there is inaccurate information on your official background check, there are several steps you can take:

  • Alert potential employers in advance of the error
  • Request the background screening firm double check and correct their information
  • If necessary, consult a lawyer or law enforcement in cases of identity theft or other fraud


 Aaron Kase is a news reporter for


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