Job Hunting

Will a Background Check Show All My Jobs?

Sometimes in your past, you might have had a job that was a nightmare and you left in bad circumstances. Or you might think it looks bad amid all your other work history on your resume. The temptation is to leave it off but as part of background checks that companies can do, they are able to check all the jobs you have held. And what other information can they look into legally?

DBS checks and more

The basic level of checks that businesses are required to perform are right to work checks, and for some positions they may also be legally entitled to carry out DBS (CRB) checks. Right to work is just as it sounds – it ensures that you are allowed to work in the UK and businesses have a requirement to do this check before employing anyone. If you are a UK resident and have lived here all your life, there’s no reason this check will be an issue and if you have moved here and gone through all the immigration processes correctly, then there should be no problem.

DBS checks or criminal records checks come in a variety of levels depending on the type of job you are applying for. Known as the Disclosure and Barring Service, this lets employers know anything in your past that affects your position with the company. There are three levels – a basic disclosure, a standard DBS and an enhanced DBS.

If you are concerned what might show on your DBS check, you can have a look at it yourself before you start applying for jobs. Services such as on the uCheck DBS Checks website let you see what employers will see when they carry out a DBS check.

Other types of background check

Adverse financial checks are something done on many employees with the aim of making sure they haven’t got financial problems that could compromise them in their new role. Checks are a little different depending on the sector – they are very comprehensive if you are applying for a job in a bank or other financial sector business, for example.

Reference checks involve following up with the references that you have provided to speak to past employers and personal references about you. They are used to build a picture of employment history and education as well as learning about strengths and weaknesses based on factual evidence such as employment record or education scores.

Will all jobs show up?

One of the most common background check FAQs is whether potential employers can only look into the jobs you list as references and on your CV. The answer to this is no, they can look into your full work history and approach any employer about you.

However, not every employer will provide information about you when asked. Some will not discuss matters like job performance unless they have agreed to provide a reference but if the potential employer contacts others within the company, they can get this information, albeit from a personal viewpoint.

What this means is that there’s no point hiding those jobs you hated or had bad experiences. Instead, turn them into a positive and the potential employer may not even notice them. Plus, there can be no accusation of trying to hide anything.

Why Can’t I Get an Interview?

One of the hard facts of the job market at the moment is that competition is fierce and even getting to the interview stage can be tricky. With more people than ever applying for every role, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. But are there things you can do to make yourself more appealing and increase your chances?

Preparation

Before you even apply for a job, there are things you can do that will help you be more ‘interview ready’ when the time comes.

Social media

Social media is about connecting with people, having fun and keeping up with the latest news and trends. But it is also increasingly being used by employers to check out potential employees – and not just on the professional network LinkedIn. So, before you start applying, it is a good idea to make sure your social media profile is suitable for a potential employer to check out. It doesn’t mean you have to remove all of your personality from your accounts but just check for those risqué memes or slightly questionable jokes you have posted.

Get your CV spruced up

Your CV is your way to introduce yourself to the company and attract that crucial attention. This means it needs to be in top condition and should work for you, not against you. You also should remember to personalise each CV for the role you are applying for – this doesn’t mean rewrite it every time but do look for areas you can word to appeal to that specific job, rather than just any job.

 

The application

As well as having preparation in place to help you appeal to potential employers, there are also tips for improving your application to help put you ahead of the competition

Understand the job

When you go for a job interview, there is an expectation that you understand the job – so make sure you can fulfil this. This means more than just reading the description – do some research on the company so you can show some knowledge about it and understand the role in the context of the larger company. Also, update yourself on any industry terms or trends that might be affecting anyone in the role, so you can show you have a complete understanding of what is needed.

The cover letter

Your cover letter frames your CV and is very important to ensure it works for you. Each cover letter should be very specific to the job in question and should catch the attention of the interviewer while not being a novel. Don’t forget in both your CV and cover letter to use keywords describing the job that are used in the job description as this can help with computerised job screening systems.

Your references

Finally, if you haven’t used them for a while, double check that your references are still happy to help if required. That way if you do get to the interview stage, things can progress smoothly when the company then goes to collect your references and other background checks.

How to Prepare for the Recruitment Process

The recruitment process can seem a long and complex one with many steps between the application and actually getting the job. But if you are prepared and have a good idea what to expect, it doesn’t need to be so challenging.

Preparing for the interview

Being ready for the interview boosts your chances of getting the job and is something you should do for every job. Firstly, there are the documents you might need to bring with you that you should have prepared:

  • Interview invite – this contains the names of the people you are meeting so definitely take it along
  • The job description – use it to prompt yourself when in the interview
  • Your CV – it never hurts to take one with you in case you need to reference it
  • A notepad – take notes during the interview including any questions to ask

You can also expect that the company will want to carry out background checks and right to work checks on you if you proceed through the interview so watch out for any identification documents they might tell you to bring. ID might even be required to enter the building, but the invitation letter should tell you this.

The interview questions

It is impossible to know what kind of questions you will get at an interview with many companies following newer models and asking some seemingly strange questions. Companies like Google and Apple have led the way in changing the interview question model and this makes it harder to prepare for ahead of time.

But you can run through some of the most popular questions for your industry or the classics of interviews just to mentally prepare yourself. Consider your best answer and look at recommended answers to find inspiration but always ensure your answers are accurate and personal, not just a copy of these suggestions.

After the interview

When the excitement of the interview is over, it is worth knowing what to expect next. Usually, the company will tell you what they will do – let you know, send a letter, give you a call and they will often add a time frame onto this.

It can be a nice touch to send a thank you letter or email to the interviewer a day or two after the interview, regardless of the outcome. If you said you would provide any additional information this can be combined together.

You can also double check with your references that they are prepared for an approach from the company. That way their response will be prompt and help keep the process moving.

The job hunt

It can be a good idea to keep searching for jobs while you are waiting to hear from the company. While you hope to get the job, it can be an advantage to keep looking in the meantime just in case the answer is a negative one. Remember not to burn bridges if the answer does come through negatively as you never know what the future might bring – you might have been the second choice and their first one doesn’t work out.