Your most exciting moment is the time you receive that confirmation letter after an interview that you are the right candidate for the job. Before your celebration picks pace, you get a call requesting you to sign a background check authorization form. The background check consent form is the authority you give to your employer to investigate your past just to be sure you have a clean past. It is not an incriminating document but after the report, your employer may decide to turn down the offer they had given you if your background doesn’t look good.
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Background Check Consent Forms
What is a background check application?
Currently, it is normal to find employers performing background checks on people they intend to employ. Some employers may request employment candidates in their final shortlist to sign a background check authorization form to help them make the final decision on who to employ. Others will make their final decision and then ask the employee to sign the form before their reporting date.
Whichever style a company uses, the background consent form helps the employer to investigate the information the candidate provided and confirm it as true. They check with the school the candidate attended, consult with the criminal department, and any other kind of background they may decide to check. If the employer is satisfied with the information they receive, they go ahead with the orientation processes but if not, they look for another candidate.
What form is used to request a background investigation
Government entities use different types of forms for background checks.
- Form SF-85 is used for non-sensitive positions
- Form SF-85P is used for public trust positions
- Form SF-86 is used for national security positions
Non-government entities use the DCSA Freedom of Information and Privacy form.
Background Check Authorization Forms
Is it mandatory to sign a background consent form?
The legal part of the background check application is contained in both the federal and state laws. It is also written in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It is a law binding employer not to conduct a background check on their employees without written consent from them.
The law also gives the employee authority to ask for a copy of the report from the employer. This includes details on the entity that carried out the background check. If the employer is not satisfied with the report, the law entitles them to place a dispute. If it is applicable, they may also request that the report be corrected.
Having this in mind, the law doesn’t make it mandatory for you to sign the background check authorization form. If you don’t wish to sign the form, the employer will not force you to do so.
However, since it is a requirement by the company to conduct a background check before an employee joins, they will look for another candidate who is willing to sign the form. If the employer conducts your background check without your consent, you have the full right to sue them.
What will an employer be looking for?
The background check application form gives your employer full authority to conduct any type of background check they may choose including future investigations. Once you sign the form the employer decides the lengths and breadths, they will go depending on what details they want to find out about you. The employer may conduct one or all of the following background checks.
Verification of employment
The background consent form you sign gives your employer authority to seek your employment details from your former employer or employers. That means they may consult your recent employer or all employers you have worked for in your career history. They may request the following details
- Your employment records to confirm you were a worker there
- Your conduct as an employee
- The position you worked for
- Your payment packages
Drug and substance use test
Your employer may also decide they want to know if you are addicted to drugs. They will request you to visit a collection center for samples. The employer will determine the type of drug tests they want the center to conduct.
The test may include marijuana test even though most states have legalized its use for recreation or medicinal. The law does not bind employers to accommodate the use of marijuana. The testing centers mostly take samples for hair, urine, and saliva although they may also take blood samples.
The employer will write to the educational institution or institutions you attended and request confirmation if you were a student there. They will request verification of the course you studied, the degree you graduated with, and the professional licenses you hold.
The educational institution will verify your records, get copies of your transcripts, and copies of your degrees. If the employer makes a request, the institution may provide information about your conduct as a student at the institution.
Motor vehicle records
Part of your role in the company might be using company vehicles for delivery, marketing, or any other responsibility you might be given. Your future employer may conduct a motor vehicle record check.
Your employer will request details of your driving history including records that touch on speeding, accidents, driving under the influence, etc. If you know your motor vehicle records are not very good, it might help to discuss the issue with your employer before you sign the background consent form.
Although some states might restrict criminal records search to the past seven years, your employer is free to request records beyond that time as the state laws allow. They can check records from the criminal investigation department, the police, federal courts, or state courts.
The records will show if you have ever been imprisoned and the reasons for imprisonment. They will check if you have ever had a case in court and if it touched on criminal justice. The employer may go as far as checking online for your mugshot and investigate why the police uploaded your mugshot in their records.
It is possible for people seeking employment to fake identification documents. An immigrant may also fake identity documents to get an opportunity to work without proper documentation.
The identity check is conducted to verify that your identity documents are valid. It also verifies that the identification belongs to you. If you have foreign documents and a valid work permit, the employer may contact your country’s embassy to confirm if your passport was validly issued.
Financial institutions will likely conduct a financial records background check as a pre-employment screening process. They check your credit history records to make sure you are not a defaulter. They may also check if you have any money laundering records or involvement with unclean money such as drugs money, ransom money, cash thefts, faking cheques, etc.
Tenant background history could be conducted by real estate companies at various levels. Their interest will be knowing your relationship with landlords, other tenants, rent payment records, and any queer history you might have as a tenant.
Background Consent Forms
How an employer benefits from a background check
A recent study shows that at least 53 percent of job seekers in the US provide false information about their academic and professional qualifications. Due to this, about 95 percent of companies in the USA conduct pre-employment background checks to make sure they are hiring the right people. The employer benefits in various ways.
Caution against bad workers
One of the good qualities of an employee is to have truth. They have to tell the truth about company transactions, client complaints, and schedules. If an employee lies about their employment history, educational qualifications, or personality, they will likely lie to their new employer once hired.
An employee might be a criminal, yet on the face, they look innocent. In the process of time, their true nature will be revealed and it might be too late. Conducting a background check will help the company avoid such a hire.
Hiring the right person
A lot of job seekers give false information about their academic qualifications. A candidate might only have an undergraduate degree but they lie to have a master’s or Ph.D. Another one might only have a high school certificate or diploma but they lie to have a degree.
Another one might have a degree in psychology but the employer requires a degree in computer science and they lie to have it. Some positions are sensitive and they require the exact qualifications.
For example, if a health institution requires a neurosurgeon and they hire an ENT doctor, there will be big problems with patients. The doctor might have some experience due to working as a neurosurgeon at the former place of work, but that doesn’t make them neurosurgeons. An account could be different from an auditor. Conducting a background check will help the company get the specific employee.
Avoid court cases and liability
If a company hires the wrong employee in terms of qualifications or experience, they will likely mess with service delivery. They could cause accidents, give wrong prescriptions, use wrong products on animals, and sometimes cause death.
The company might have lengthy court cases that could turn out to be a huge liability. To avoid such losses, a background check will help unearth employees who provide inaccurate information.
Sustain a strong, secure work environment
A company might hire an employee with a bad criminal history. Some might have terrorism records. Such employees might become problematic in the future because they might steal from the company, destroy property, or cause fights at the workplace.
How to fill out background check form
Depending on what a specific company is looking for, it may edit the background check form to fit its needs. However, in any company that you go to seek employment, the background check consent form will have the following information.
Section 1 – personal information
This section will ask for your personal information. You will provide the following:
- Your full legal name
- Current postal address
- Current telephone contact
- Valid email address
- The date of your birth
- The place of your birth
- Your citizenship
- Sex and civil status
Section 2 – employment history
This section will require you to provide your relevant employment history. You will provide detailed information about all the companies you have worked with before. Include-
- Name of the company
- Street address
- Contact information – email, telephone, contact person
Section 3 – education history
In this section, you will be required to provide your entire education history from elementary school to higher education institutions. For each, provide
- The year you attended
- Name of the institution
- Physical address
Section 4 – criminal history
This section contains a series of questions that require you to answer yes or no about your criminal history. You will be asked for information such as whether you have ever been arrested or convicted, or whether you are on probation.
Section 5 – character references
In this section, you will provide at least three contacts of people who can give detailed information about your character. It could be your former employers, managers, teachers, local leaders, etc.
Section 6 – statement of consent and signatures
This section contains the declaration of consent that the information you have provided is true. It also declares your consent for the company to conduct an extensive background check and your consent of the consequences that may follow if your provided information turns out to be false.
Background Check Applications
Who conducts the background check?
Once you sign the background consent form, the company is free to use various methods for conducting your background check. Your employer may decide to do the background themselves or hire an agent.
Due to the complexities and processes involved in making formal requests to various departments, follow-ups, and reports, most companies use an agent. The agent will charge a fee, contact all the relevant entities and make a detailed report. Once the company receives the report, they decide whether to hire you or not. You are free to request a copy of the report and either accept or dispute its details.