5 Ways You Can Fail a Background Check
With more and more jobs requesting background checks on potential and existing employees these days, you may be worried about what happens if you fail one.
You’re not alone. Many people ask the same questions.
Let’s get one thing clear – it is possible to fail a background check. However, it is not possible to “fail” a DBS check (criminal record check), as all the DBS does is check your files and details, and return a certificate detailing any convictions – in other words, it’s not a “pass or fail” test.
But, having criminal convictions on your record is one way for employers to reject your application, which is the same as failing a background check. It’s not the only way to fail a background check, as getting bad references from past employers is just as likely to lead to failure.
If you’re about to have a background check carried out on you, read on to find out about the different ways that it could possibly fail and what you can do about it if so.
Are Employees Always Expected To Get A Background Check?
The simple answer is “no”, not all employers will ask for a background check. But an increasing number of employers are insisting that people get one done before starting in a new role these days.
Employers use background checks to vet job candidates and make sure that they are suitable for the role that needs to be filled. DBS checks form a pivotal part of a background check and are used extensively by employees and organisations during the recruitment process.
Some employers carry out extensive background checks that include financial checks for jobs that involve a lot of responsibility.
5 Ways In Which You Can Fail A Background Check
1. Failing based on the result of a DBS check
The number one way to fail a background check is if details of past convictions appear on a DBS certificate. Any criminal behaviour can show up on a DBS check, depending on the level of the check carried out – basic, standard, or enhanced.
Having a blemish on your criminal record is more likely to be a deal breaker on a background check if the crime is relevant to the role in question, e.g. if there is a conviction for a sex offence and the work involves caring for vulnerable people.al crime and are applying to work with young people).
If the convictions are not related to the job being applied for, then it won’t necessarily mean that you fail the background check. In fact, under the guidelines set out in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, employers are not allowed to discriminate against candidates based on spent convictions.
The best thing to do if you have criminal convictions on your record is to bring it up with any potential employers ahead of time. In other words, you should disclose the details of any criminal behaviour before a DBS check is carried out as this will create a more favourable impression with the employer and potentially generate more trust.
But remember, employers do have a legal responsibility to keep workplaces safe, especially when vulnerable groups such as children or elderly adults are involved.
If you are applying for a job that requires a high level of security clearance and you have any of the following on your criminal record, there’s a good chance you will be turned down:
- A serious crime (or more than one) such as violent or sexual offences
- A history of repeated minor offences
- Fraud or embezzlement
- Repeated anti-social behaviour
- Tax evasion
- Repeated theft of property.
2. Providing false information on your application
Another way that a background check could result in a failure is if you have provided false information on the form or on your CV. Some people are tempted to exaggerate their achievements or qualifications, but this is a mistake. If a thorough background check is carried out, this will get picked up and you will be rejected. Employers won’t tolerate people that lie on an application as it means there is more chance that you will lie when you’re in the role or act in a dishonest way.
3. A poor credit history
This really only applies to jobs that involve high levels of financial responsibility. If you are in serious levels of debt or have mismanaged your finances and this shows up on a credit check, then you may fail the background check. Employers for jobs such as accountancy work, financial advisors, or fund managers are more likely to blacklist people that fail a credit check than jobs that don’t involve handling or managing money.
4. Poor reference or work review
Let’s face it, if a previous employer gives you a poor reference or feedback then a prospective employer is going to think twice about hiring you. The type of questions employers may ask when they request a reference are: is the candidate:
- A hard worker?
- Polite and well-mannered?
- Willing to put extra effort in when required?
- Motivated and success-driven?
- Good at working in a team?
If the references received are poor or lukewarm, then most potential employers will view this as a reason to fail the background check.
However, under the law, you do have a right to challenge a poor reference if you feel it has been unfairly made. Sometimes a past employer may have an axe to grind or hold a grudge, so it’s worth challenging it, if that is the case.
5. A mistake is made by the employer when conducting your background check
Finally, there is always a slight chance that a mistake will be made when carrying out a background check and it will show up false information about you that makes you look bad. For instance, sometimes there are mistakes on criminal records and a conviction gets recorded on your file as you share a name with a convicted criminal or they have stolen your identity. This will then show up on any DBS check that gets submitted.
In the case of erroneous information showing up on a DBS check, or any other part of the background check, the first thing you should do is notify the potential employer, contact the DBS, and also notify the court and local police so that the false details can be amended as quickly as possible.
If you want to make sure that there are no mistakes or bad information on your DBS certificate, you can apply for a DBS check online through our quick and easy-to-use portal. Contact us now for more details.