Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

Do Your Homework on Yourself: Background Checks for Business

Know what everyone else knows about you, and you won't be tripped up by an interview question.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Background checks come in many shapes and sizes. Whether it is a criminal record check for a new employee, a credit score for a new car or a little bit of both for your new landlord, you are virtually guaranteed to experience a background check at some stage in your life. For many years, a lot of the data kept on you was a closely guarded secret but, inevitably, the rise of technology has created a shift in favor of the public when dealing with your personal data.


Related: How Far Would You Go to Check Out a Job Candidate?

Credit checks

Calculated by an inconceivably complicated formula, a credit score will draw from an individual's level of debt, rate of successful payments made and general cash flow. This results in a credit score from which different companies will be able to decide if you are in the correct demographic for their services. This can cause problems further down the line, particularly if your credit score does not accurately reflect your actual living situation. You could be earning great money and still be blacklisted from lending companies - it isn't what you earn, it's your financial background that is being reflected.

This notably can cause upset, particularly when the formula for calculating these scores are so hidden from view. However, these dark days are now long gone, with websites such as Transunion and Experian offering comprehensive breakdowns of your credit history and, most importantly, allowing you to make changes for the better.

Related: This Navy SEAL's Safety Checklist Could Save Your Life on Your Next Trip

Employment checks

While this affects everyone in some sense, employment checks can often be the deciding factor when applying for jobs in certain sectors. In many cases, this is a fairly standard criminal record check just to have some form of evidence to say that the employer has done their best to ensure the safety and security of the company and its staff. However, in some cases these checks may be extended further into health record checks and character statements.

While a company will likely have a preferred method of running these checks, there are many options available and for many potential employees, it is understandable to feel a little bit concerned over what it is their employers might be trying to find out. In their article, How To Prepare For An Employment Background Check, states, "It's always a good idea to know about any red flags that might be on your record, so you can plan on how you will handle them."

Related: 7 Steps to Keep Employees Safe In The Workplace

For those who may want to look a little deeper, you can check this list of the top 10 background apps for employers to use for their business. These apps are free to use and will give you an edge in your research and understanding of what employers are investigating.

You already know yourself, but it wouldn't hurt to learn what everyone else knows, too. Stay on top of your credit score and your references and there won't be any nasty surprises ahead of you.

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks