The truth about your background

With the growing number of people looking for work in today's job market, applicants backgrounds are becoming more relevant. The possibility of employment issues or background issues being a problem is causing nearly two-thirds of all applicants to, intentionally or unintentionally, place inaccurate information on their applications or resumes. Some of this information might include:

  • Education background
  • Criminal convictions
  • Previous employers
  • Employment dates, places and duties
  • Because of this occurrence, employers have begun using four different tools to catch employment issues and possible issues with an applicants background.

    • Background checks
    • The asking of behavior-based questions
    • Holding multiple job interviews
    • Administering tests

    Background Checks

    One of the most common tools when looking for possible background issues is the background check. This is used for the following purposes:

    • Verify credentials
    • Uncover any employment issues
    • Provide a complete profile of the applicant

    Background checks can come in a variety of forms.

    • Speaking with supplied references
    • Contacting previous employers
    • Using an independent investigation firm
    • Credit history - especially if the applicant will be dealing with money

    Probing Questions

    Unlike the standard questions relating to who, what and where, these are more behavior-based questions. These questions can be harder to answer and can show any employment or background issues which may not surface on paper. These questions usually look for the following:

    • The applicants true motivations
    • Character
    • Patterns of behavior
    • Decision making style

    These are questions which ask about hypothetical 'what if' situations.

    Multiple Job Interviews

    Another tool used by employers to find possible employment issues is the multiple interview method. Many times this will allow an employer to weed out less experienced applicants, it also allows them to check inconsistencies which show with each interview.


    Tests allow employers to gain added information about any employment issues or background issues to aid their assessment of an applicant. These tests can take the form of any of the following:

    • Aptitude tests
    • Drug exams
    • Personality profiles
    • Psychological tests

    Any, or all, of these tests can be either conducted during the interview process or be a condition of employment.

    Many applicants exaggerate their accomplishments, cover problems or simply omit facts about background issues which may give the employer a reason not to hire them. Employment issues which will need to be addressed after the applicant is on the job for a period of time, is the main reason employers attempt to weed out any potential problems which would cost time and money later.

    Employers will want to predict your performance based upon an understanding of your background and behavior patterns. The problem for the applicant is not how to hide the issues, but how to best present a positive view of the issues which is favorable to the employer.