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11 Common Red Flags on Background Checks

11 Common Red Flags on Background Checks
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Employment background checks can aid in the development of a quality workforce while also encouraging a healthy and productive workplace culture. A thorough and reliable background screening policy can help you discover more about the people you could hire, but you must still weigh all of the facts and how it affects your decision.

Knowing all of the typical background check red flags and how they affect a candidate’s qualifications can help you pick the best individual for the position and for your organization.

Red Flags from Background Checks

Now that you know what to do, all you have to do is understand what to avoid. This will include other warning indications, such as disparities in education and skills or a criminal record, in addition to employment background check red flags.

1) Multiple Unemployment Periods

Employment gaps are typical, and many potential employees’ resumes may include periods of unemployment. Some may have changed careers, become unwell, or taken time off to care for a family member.

However, if unemployment appears to be a pattern in the candidate’s background, you should look into it more. Multiple gaps in employment may suggest that the candidate is difficult to work with, unreliable, or otherwise unable to maintain employment.

2) Several Short-Term Jobs

Someone with various short-term jobs, like someone who has been unemployed for a long time, could be a source of concern.

While seasonal or temporary jobs are fine—and excellent for acquiring experience—someone who jumps from job to job is unlikely to be a good fit for your organization.

It could indicate that they were dismissed or forced to resign, or that they are quickly bored or dissatisfied in their current work. You want your organization to invest in dependable, long-term personnel, and this type of candidate is unlikely to meet those goals.

3) Inconsistency in Education or Experience

Inconsistency is one of the most prevalent red flags in a background check. If an employment background check turns up material that contradicts what the candidate and their résumé said, you should look into it further.

To make oneself more appealing to you and your firm, your potential employee may make up facts about their schooling, work experience, or the roles and responsibilities they held. While many job applicants embellish their resumes to make themselves sound as excellent as possible, you should proceed with care if the exaggerations become fraudulent.

Even if they have the necessary qualifications in other areas, this insight into their character must be taken into account in the future.

4) Exclusion of previous employment

While falsifying experience on a CV is not a good idea, the contrary should also be avoided. Occasionally, job seekers will exclude relevant positions or experiences from their resumes.

When job hunting, applicants want to present their best self, but the lack of many suitable possibilities suggests they may want to conceal anything about those positions.

Your new employee may have an explanation for the missing information, but it’s also a good idea to contact these previous employers to acquire as much information as possible.

5) History of Offenses

Investigating a candidate’s criminal history is perhaps the most crucial component of a reliable background screening policy. While some instances may not prevent you from hiring a candidate, knowing an employee’s criminal background is nonetheless vital.

If you don’t conduct criminal background checks on employees and they later commit a crime, your organization could be held liable.

However, you must consider the context of any information uncovered during a criminal history check. Arrests do not always mean convictions, and small or long-ago incidents could just be the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

While these results may not be deal-breakers in and of themselves, you should be wary of employing someone who lies about their criminal history in an application or interview.

A candid candidate who is open and takes the time to explain the problem honestly demonstrates more trustworthiness than one who lies about their past records.

6) Convictions that are Job-Related

While minor convictions or occurrences from years ago may not be cause for alarm, keep in mind how a candidate’s criminal background may affect employment.

Someone with a bad driving record, for example, should generally avoid working in a position that requires driving. Even if the allegation is small, an applicant accused of financial fraud will not be the first option for a bank job.

It’s considerably more crucial to consider how a previous crime has affected the work and company than when it occurred or how severe the penalty was.

7) Credit History Issues

Many background checks do not require a credit check, but any employment that deals with money should require one.

Keep in mind that a candidate’s bad credit could be the result of other life events like divorce or death, and it may not affect their ability to execute the job. If you’re hiring for a job that includes handling money, be mindful of applicants who are struggling with bills and loans.

8) Refusal to Accept a Check

In many cases, you can learn just as much about someone from how they handle potential red flags as you can from what emerges on their background check.

If an applicant calmly and honestly answers any inquiries regarding their criminal, financial, or work background throughout the application or interview process, it could signal that they’re a qualified and dependable employee to hire.

On the other hand, if someone lies about their past or simply refuses to provide information on a background check, they might be concealing something more serious than you think.

You want trustworthy, dependable people working for you and your organization, and someone who tries to hide significant aspects of their background—even if it’s merely small issues—is probably not the right match for the job.

9) Bad References

References are an excellent method to discover more about a possible employee’s character and work ethic, and speaking with previous employers can quickly corroborate previous experience. You can get bad comments about your candidate if you phone prior employers.

It’s crucial to remember that negative feedback can result from misconceptions, personal concerns, or other circumstances beyond the candidate’s control.

If the same unfavorable opinions keep popping up, you should consider this when deciding whether or not this possible employee will fit into this job and work environment.

10) Failed Drug Tests 

If the job requires the employee to operate machinery, drive, or engage in other activities that need the employee to be free of drugs and alcohol, you may need to seek a drug test.

A failed drug test is significant since it indicates that the candidate may endanger your clients or other staff.

11) The Internet and social media

Examining a candidate’s social media presence is another technique to learn more about their character.

While it is wrong to dismiss someone based on their political beliefs, you may want to consider a different candidate if you discover a candidate has questionable values or is publishing hate speech. In fact, this could save your business money in the long run.


You should have as much information as possible and examine any context or explanations you have for these red flags, as with everything else.

Knowing more about a candidate’s background—both positive and negative—will aid you in making a better, more educated decision when it comes to choosing the proper individual for the job.