Companies are taking a closer look at who they hire today. From heightened security concerns to an increase in negligent hiring lawsuits, companies understand that bad hiring decisions can cause them big problems.
Thatís why over 90% of employers now run background checks on potential hires.
During a background check, a hiring company takes a good look at your personal and professional history. They verify your education and past employment, check to see if there is criminal activity in your past, and talk to your references. Some companies may even look at your driving record, credit history or previous drug testing results.
To run a thorough background check, a company needs some very specific information from you. For example, they need contact information for your former employers and the names of your previous supervisors.
This type of detailed information is typically not found on a resume, even one that is professionally prepared. So companies have candidates fill out a job application that is specifically designed to get the information thatís required to run a complete background check.
How you fill out a companyís job application is directly tied to whether or not you get the job. In fact, over 80% of companies say that discrepancies on a job application can take a candidate out of consideration.
When you fill out a job application, you want to make sure that your information is complete and easy to verify. However, there are lots of situations that can cause problems for an applicant. Here are a few:
What kind of contact information do you provide for a former employer that has gone out of business?
If you worked for a company through a temporary agency, who do you list as the employer?
If you were fired from your previous job, should you leave it off the application?
How you answer these and other questions can make the difference between a swift and successful background check and one that grinds to a halt because information canít be verified. Human resources will usually caution against hiring someone whose information is hard to read, has gaps or inconsistencies, or is lacking important details.
A successful job search requires a professional-looking resume, strong interviewing skills, and a can-do attitude. These tools will get you in the door and help you make the final cut.
But if you donít pass the background check, you wonít get the job.
Take the time to prepare the detailed information that will go on your job application. Itís one of the best things you can do in your job search.
Jan Maxwell is a freelance writer and the author of "A Job Hunter's Secret Weapon: How to Survive a Background Check and Get the Job You Really Want "
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