You’ve polished your CV, researched the company and know it like the back of your hand. 

Now imagine getting to the interview, and you’re acing every question thrown your way, the interviewees are smiling and are impressed. 

Everyone in the room is almost sure the job is yours. A couple of days pass, and you hear nothing, then weeks and an entire month of silence. 

What could have possibly gone wrong?

All that prep and good nights rest didn’t land you a job but you forgot to do one of the most uncommon but important things and that’s perform a background check on yourself.

The company you interviewed with ran a background check, and one of the answers to the various checks performed came back with unfavourable results.

How do you not know that you have a fraud listing or criminal record under your name?  

What is a background check? 

“A background check or background investigation is the process of looking up and compiling employment history, criminal records, commercial records, and financial records of an individual or an organization. Wikipedia

Background checks are pre-employment screenings, often requested by the employers. They assist employers in making the better-informed decision with the candidates they’re thinking of hiring.

The pre-employment screening gives employers a fuller scope of the person not just professionally but also give insight on their cultural fit.

Pre-employment checks range from: 

  • Criminal records 
  • Credit check 
  • Identity verification 
  • Fraud listing
  • Qualification verifications
  • Professional Associations

Knowledge is power 

Knowing every area of your life equips you with the ability to make the right decisions. 

No one should know you better than yourself, and that’s why performing a background check on yourself is essential. It gives you competitive value in all areas of your life, professionally and personally.

A background check gives you vital information about yourself; you may not have been aware of and that’s not to say that, that information is true.

Pre-employment screening flag details that can make it seem you won’t be able to perform the job correctly. A reference check from a previous employer may state that you’re terrible with time management and have no leadership skills. 

Only to find that you had a micro-manager who lived by the saying “My way or the highway.”

That is just one aspect of the things you can pick up in your background screening results and can try to resolve. 

It also shows diligence on your end a trait that is well sort of in any organization. 

Which Checks You Should Perform On Yourself?

Performing these checks on yourself will also give you better understanding on the screening process. You get insight which organizations supply information and how long does it take them to share that info with you.

Competitive Advantage: Be 2 steps ahead

The South African job market is not the most ideal and is highly competitive more than ever. 

As a job seeker, you have to ensure that you’re the perfect candidate in every form. By running a background check on yourself helps you clear up any misunderstandings before they land on your future employers’ hands.

Even if the results of the background screening come back ‘clean’ mentioning information you picked up from your screening will definitely impress the interviewers you actioned something that 9 out 10 candidates never do.

Performing a background check on yourself does just that, makes you the perfect candidate or allows you to be one. 

You’re giving yourself a better footing by knowing whether or not you have a criminal record and what for. 

Even though the results might not come back ideal, knowing those negatives under your names allows you to explain or dispute the findings. 

To ensure your information is correct. 

Unfortunately, results can be incorrect. 

They can come back and say you’re under debt review, or don’t have a valid passport. 

Human errors are more common than we’d like to think ad the process of how the information is gathered by the various data sources can lead to mistakes being made. 

Somewhere along the line at the credit bureau, a considerable amount of debt could have been placed under your name instead of to whom it belonged. 

You may think that you’re name is impeccable you’ve never taken out loans and have above average money management skills. 

But how can you be so sure you’re the ideal candidate for the bank to employ or people to trust with their money?

 How can you be so sure that there’s nothing under your name?

Meaning performing a background check on yourself is beyond helpful to help you secure employment and reveal inaccurate information. Once you know what information is under your name, you can take the necessary steps to change the incorrect status to be correct before it costs you your future. 

Be in Control

The above points emphasize this last one, being in control.

Knowing how employers screen and what kind of information they receive aids you in being aware of your hiring process.

Being in control means you can speak confidently in any situation or environment.

Whether it’s during a hiring process, business transaction or lease agreement, you haven’t left anything to chance instead are making data-backed decisions.

Knowing your position with a criminal record or if your degree is authentic eliminates unwarranted surprises that may cost you immediately and in the future.

Most importantly knowing which checks to perform, so you get that information is more critical.

Performing a background check on yourself does much more than hopefully securing a job and making better decisions it ensures that an accurate reflection of you is out there.

Other ways to screen yourself

Social Media research

While many of us enjoy the entertainment and outlet social media gives, social media has become a major concern for employers. Liking the wrong type of content, commenting or sharing something can now lead to a nightmare.

Hence the social media check is now part of the hiring process for 70% of HR practioners

According to PR Newswire these are some reasons employers didn’t hire a candidate bases on content they found on social media platforms.

  • Job candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 40 percent
  • Job candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 36 percent
  • Job candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc.: 31 percent
  • Job candidate was linked to criminal behavior: 30 percent
  • Job candidate lied about qualifications: 27 percent
  • Job candidate had poor communication skills: 27 percent
  • Job candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee: 25 percent
  • Job candidate’s screen name was unprofessional: 22 percent
  • Job candidate shared confidential information from previous employers: 20 percent
  • Job candidate lied about an absence: 16 percent
  • Job candidate posted too frequently: 12 percent

There is two ways you can perform a social media check on yourself.

  1. Sign up to Dots Africa and perform the Farosian Social Media check
  2. Investigate your social media profiles with a critical eye.

When you look at your social media profiles does anything inappropriate come up? You should immediately be able to pick up harmful comments or images that you’ve posted or shared.

In the world we live in today discrimination towards any group/community is not tolerated whether or not it is a joke. Remember there’s nothing wrong with sharing your views as long as they don’t infringe on someone else’s human rights.

If you do find that your social media profiles are not in the best condition, you can clean them up if you feel that’s the best decision.

Check out your references

Contacting your reference and checking your work history is a step that is almost never missed by employers.

Checking out your references starts with knowing when you started in a company and what your role entitled. You’ll need to go further than that, and call in with your professional reference you’ve listed on your CV and have a conversation with them about the type of employee were.

Call your previous manager and corroborate your position, responsibilities and qualities you have, you can also request a copy of your academic record from your high school or tertiary institution and verify those records.

A fee may be charged by tertiary institution every institution has their own price, you’ll have to keep that in mind.

Is Performing a Background Check On Yourself Worth It?

The answer is yes! Many employers perform background checks on candidates, you performing one on yourself states you simply care about the information that is out there about you.

Why should everyone be able to request and have acess to data you’ve never seen before?

We’ve mentioned throughout the blog that performing the pre-employment checks on yourself gives you competitive advantage, an opportunity to fix any wrongs and helps you secure employment.

Yet what makes performing a personal background check on yourself really worth it is that you get to control the narrative about you and haven’t left it in the hand of others.

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