Is There Something in Your Background (That can keep you from getting a job?)


Are you worried about something in your background that could keep you from getting a job? Maybe even your dream job?

Some of you have excellent work references, so that’s not a problem, but maybe you did something in the past that could surface when a company does a background check on you. Maybe even something that could keep you from getting hired? Now what?

Throughout my career I’ve had to deal with every imaginable situation that can surface during a background check with a candidate. As you can imagine, each one of these background check issues has to be handled differently and on a case-by-case basis but I use the same philosophy and principles in every case, and that is to be open and honest with every company.

You should be open and honest with companies BEFORE the background check is performed on you. If there is something in your background that should be addressed with the company, bring this up after the company has met you, but before the background check is performed.

Why do I say after the company has met you and before the background check? There is absolutely no reason to discuss something in your past in a first interview. You should wait until you meet with the company and you’re both interested in proceeding. Do not discuss this issue in your past too early in the process. What if you don’t want to work there? What if the company doesn’t feel you’re right for the position? This can happen, right? So don’t discuss any issues too early in the interview process.

Once you have interviewed with this company several times and they indicate they will be extending you an offer of employment, pending reference checks and a background check – BINGO! Now is the time to address this issue in your past. Now in a very positive tone you can explain to the company when they conduct a background check on you there is a certain issue that could come up.

Now this is where you have to be open and honest and explain the situation to the company. Depending on your issue, explain that you’ve learned your lesson and it’s made you a better person. Explain that you made a mistake and paid the price for it, but you learned a lot from it and it’s something that you would never do again, etc., etc., you get the point. The company will appreciate your honesty in dealing with this issue.

It will be better if you tell the company rather than them finding out through the background check. Plus, it gives you a chance to explain it to them in detail. You kind of know each other at this point. They have made a decision on you for the position within their company. They like you! It’s a lot easier for a company to overlook any issue you might have in your past once they know you. It makes a difference.

My point is, I have had candidates with a DUI, Bankruptcy, Prison, Petty Crimes, Drugs, Alcoholism, Foreclosures, Repossessions and you name it in their backgrounds, but they had excellent work references. These types of issues in your background can, and will, stop you from receiving an offer from a company, but if you explain what happened before they find out through a background check it will enhance your chances of receiving an offer. Nothing is 100%, but it will certainly help. And remember, never discuss these issues too early, wait until they like you! I hope this helps.

Good luck to you!

Mike Palumbo