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You’ve interviewed with a company and things went well. The next step is to receive the job offer. In most cases, it’s a simple process — they offer you the job and you must already know how to evaluate a job offer before you accept. But sometimes there are circumstances surrounding the job offer that complicate the process. 
Below are strategies for job seekers to handle the situation when there is concern about a background check.

Job Offer Contingent Upon Background Check

A job seeker recently asked: 
I interviewed with a company yesterday and they mentioned that a background check is a standard part of their hiring process. I’m worried what a background check will reveal. What should I do?

Don’t wait until you’ve been offered the job to address significant negative issues, such as a DUI or a bankruptcy. You don’t want any issues to “surprise” the employer. If you know a background check is part of the hiring process, you will want to disclose information during the interview process (or on the application form, if it asks you about current or previous legal or financial problems); otherwise, you risk having the job offer rescinded when the background check reveals an issue.
The most common reasons for not passing a background check are errors of omission, misstatements of facts, and financial and legal problems. Also, your job application is a legal document, so all information on it must be accurate. If a background check identifies a discrepancy you cannot explain, you may lose the job offer.
Another important consideration is that if it’s a conditional employment offer contingent on a successful background check, do not give resignation notice to your current employer until you’ve passed the background check. Otherwise, you might find yourself without a job entirely, if there is a problem with the background check at the new company, and you’ve already given your two-week notice at your current job. Let your new employer know that you will be giving your current company your resignation letter once their offer has been finalized — meaning, when you’ve cleared the background check.
According to a survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), 69 percent of employers conduct a criminal background check as part of the hiring process. You will be asked to provide permission to conduct the background check, and you likely will have to sign a release form. If a conviction is revealed through a background check, the employer must consider the nature of the crime, its relevance to the proposed job, and the time that has passed since the offense.

In the “Job Offer” Series

About the Author

Mandy Fard is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW, CMRW) and Recruiter with decades of experience in assisting job seekers, working directly with employers in multiple industries, and writing proven-effective resumes.
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