It’s something that we never expect to happen, but when it does, it makes us question everything. With background checks becoming commonplace for renting, credit, or employment, knowing why you’ve failed the review of your information is essential.
After all, you can’t fix what you don’t understand. That’s why we’ve broken down the most common areas you’ll fail a background check and how it influences employers and landlords.
Criminal Convictions or Charges
Having a criminal record does not automatically bar you from getting employment or housing, but it may make it more difficult. That’s because running a background check will show your criminal history to potential landlords and employers.
Landlord Interpretation of Criminal Charges
A landlord has to minimize potential problems and liabilities within their property. As such, they are reviewing any criminal conviction on your file as a possible safety or integrity concern. For example, a landlord may not care about a theft charge as much as they care about several disorderly conduct convictions.
Employer Interpretation of Criminal Charges
Every employer can deny employment to an applicant based on criminal history; however, the reason must show a relation of criminal history to the position applied for. For example, if you have prior theft, fraud, or assault charges, working in a customer service job with financial accounts may not be appropriate.
Prior Employment Verification
Your employment history shows both landlords and prospective employers the stability and dependability you bring. Lying or falsifying this information will be seen as grossly negligent, and both may refuse to continue to relationship dynamic further.
Websites like CheckPeople.com offer employment verification with their reports if you’d like to verify this information yourself.
Landlord Interpretation of Employment Verification
A landlord wants to know that their rent will arrive on time, every time. As such, it’s important to verify any employment you’ve listed on the application to ensure you have the financial means to pay every month.
Likewise, a landlord is going to confirm that your salary matches what you’ve indicated on your application too. They don’t want to rent a place to someone and deal with evictions or non-payment of rent.
Employer Interpretation of Employment Verification
An employer wants to know why you left a company, particularly in cases of dishonorable discharge (firing or termination). Firing shows potential employers that you can’t follow protocols or rules mandated by the company, which increases the risk of hiring you.
They’re also looking for employees that will stay with the company for long periods. Hiring, training, and employing individuals takes a lot of time, resources, and energy. If you have a history of changing jobs frequently, over embellishing skills, or lying about performance, a company may terminate your application.
Poor Credit Report
Your credit history follows you from the moment you open your first bank account. It’s a comprehensive report of all financial accounts in your name. Lines of credit, car loans, credit cards, utilities, and delinquent accounts are all included in your credit report. The credit report is essential to both landlords and employers for different reasons.
Landlord Interpretation of Credit History
A landlord wants to know that his investment will return every month, and the best way to determine that probability is by looking at your credit report. Likewise, a landlord wants to see that you have monthly bills and pay them every month.
If you’re trying to secure a new rental property, ensure that all bills in your name are current and paid on time. Having a history of past due accounts, delinquent accounts, or collection activity is a significant concern for the prospective landlord.
Employer Interpretation of Credit History
If the job you’re applying for deals with finances, an employer will want to see proof you’re responsible with funds. Likewise, those in charge of client portfolios or financial resources will be held accountable for large amounts of funding. Employers will want staff that can prove their financially responsible with their own money before being hired.
How to Fix Your Background Report
Although you can’t remove the criminal activity attached to your report, there are a few things you can do. The first step to improving your background report is monitoring it closely for any changes. For example, review any employment history and watch for errors in start dates or when the termination of the contract occurred.
If needed, you can contact prior employers to update your file with the correct timelines. You’ll also want to watch for any accounts you haven’t opened, any personal information that’s not attached to you, and any credit accounts that you didn’t open.
If you’re trying to improve your credit report, make sure that you pay all bills on time. You’ll want to remove the collection accounts or delinquent accounts to enhance your profile, so contact them to make payment arrangements whenever possible. Showing a good payment history takes more than a few weeks but will improve over time.
Never take on more debt than you can afford to pay, and aim to keep any account balances under 30% of their maximum. If paying off the entire balance isn’t feasible, always make the minimum payment on your accounts.