Nowadays, more and more employers are requiring applicants to complete a thorough background check as part of their pre-hiring process. Despite the ubiquity of these checks, however, many job searchers are still surprised when a prospective employer asks for permission to run a background check. Questions of trust, privacy, and discomfort quickly run through the applicant’s head in such situations, and while the majority of job hunters have nothing to worry about from a background check, being blindsided is never a pleasant experience.
Furthermore, having a chance to prepare for a background screening – by running checks on yourself and making sure all of the information is correct – is an important step that can mean the difference between getting a job offer and becoming an also-ran. With that in mind, here are five popular employment industries that will almost always require background checks of their prospective workers. This list is by no means comprehensive, and plenty of jobs not listed here demand meticulous background investigations. However, if you do happen to be looking for employment in one of these job markets, make sure to prepare for the background check ahead of time, because it’s almost certainly coming.
1. Educational workers: The first job most of us think of when we hear “background check” is that of a teacher, and for good reason. Employees working in the educational sector are entrusted with the safety of children, teenagers, and young adults, and schools absolutely have a responsibility to make sure they create a safe environment. In many ways, that means not hiring a violent criminal, a sex offender, or some other dangerous individual into a position where they would have access to a slew of vulnerable victims.
But while teachers receive some of the most intense background check scrutiny of any professional group, you can bet that background checks are an almost across-the-board presence in the educational world. Administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, teacher’s aides, office workers, college residence hall directors: the list goes on and on. Suffice to say that, if your passion points toward education, a background check is in your future.
2. Healthcare professionals: If teachers are at the top of the list for background check scrutiny, then doctors and other healthcare professionals are absolute runners-up. The medical field is notorious for being staunchly regulated, and that unbreakable regulation extends to pre-employment screenings. From doctors to nurses and dentists to orthodontists, virtually any job you might be seeking in the broader healthcare industry is going to be marked by thorough, multi-tiered background checks.
Screenings include looks at criminal records and sex offender registries, but they also focus heavily on verifying education, work experience, and medical licensing and certification. In addition to making sure that their workers don’t pose a direct risk to patients, hospitals and other healthcare organizations need to confirm that every doctor, nurse, surgeon, dentist, or other healthcare expert they employ is completely qualified for the work at hand.
3. Government workers: Whether your greatest aspiration is to become the manager of a small town parks and recreation department or to serve as a member of Congress, if you are going to work in government, you are going to have to pass a background check to get there. Federal jobs are especially subject to background check scrutiny, with an entire department (the United States Office of Personnel Management, which is essentially the federal government’s human resources department) built with the primary purpose of running background checks, determining the reliability of employees, and issuing what are called security clearances to those who pass background checks. Background checks will vary depending on the job at hand, but every federal job and most state and local government jobs demand at least a criminal history check and a credit history check.
4. Financial specialists: The world of finance is a place where unscrupulous people could do an awful lot of damage, so whether you want to be big-name stockbroker or simply the person who handles payments for a mid-sized business, don’t expect your employers to hire you without first requiring a background check. In addition to looking at criminal histories – with a special eye trained for any charges related to fraud, embezzlement, or even simple theft – companies in the finance sector will also pay special attention to the credit histories of their prospective employees.
Poor credit can have a slew of different explanations, and most employers are kind enough to recognize that fact and give job hunters the benefit of the doubt when a dodgy credit report comes across their desk. However, in finance, a person with bad credit is often viewed as someone who is irresponsible, bad at budgeting, or just generally weak when it comes to managing money. Needless to say, none of those qualities exactly scream “financial expert,” so if you have dreams of working in the finance community, cleaning up your credit history should be one of your highest priorities.
5. Computer and IT Managers: It goes without saying that someone in charge of a company’s finances has a lot of power. Nowadays though, few things are more valuable to a company than its computers, its electronic data, its contact lists, and its overall information technology networks. With that in mind, computer specialists and IT managers have as much power over a company as finance managers – making it unsurprising that technology and IT directors are subject to such stringent background check measures.
Again, criminal history is the bread and butter here, since instances of cybercrime, fraud, or other offenses will rightfully disqualify applicants from consideration for any jobs that would put them in charge of company or customer information. However, IT technology jobs are also dictated by reference checks, previous employment verifications, and educational background screenings. Someone who is going to run a company’s computer network needs to demonstrate proof that they have the experience not to crash the network and take the entire company offline. Strong references and educational notices can give an employer the peace of mind they need to know something disastrous won’t happen.
About the author: Michael Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.
Thank you Michael for your valuable contribution: 5 Job Industries Requiring Pre-Employment Background Checks
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