What You (and Your Employer) Should Know About Background Checks

More companies are using background checks to screen job applicants, rejecting the ones who have poor credit because they’re unemployed and struggling to pay bills, credit cards and household expenses. That’s why it’s so important to know what’s in your credit report. And employers should know how to stay clear of the risks of running such checks.

Tips for Employers

  1. Keep background screening limited to relevant positions. For example, check driving records only for positions that involve operating a vehicle.
  2. Develop specific criteria for performing background checks and put it in writing.
  3. Evaluate the use of background checks when hiring new employees. By eliminating unnecessary screening, employers can eliminate the risk of a costly legal battle. 

Tips for Job Seekers

  1. Sign a waiver allowing a background check. Refusing to do so is likely a deal breaker for an employer.
  2. Avoid surprising the prospective employer. Explain the circumstances surrounding negative information that will turn up.
  3. Know what’s on your credit report by checking regularly, at least twice a year. Every consumer has the right to get a copy of his or her credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies, free of charge, and as often as necessary. Instead of getting a report from both credit reporting agencies at once, get one from each bureau every four months (providing you with a different snapshot three times per year). To obtain your free reports, contact the reporting agencies directly. You can find the information about requesting your credit file on their website: https://www.transunion.ca:443/product/consumer-disclosure  and https://www.consumer.equifax.ca/personal/.