How to Prepare for a Pre Employment Background Screening

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Failing a pre-employment background screening can result in the withdrawal of a job offer from an employer, but proper preparation can increase your chances of success. A pre-employment background screening is a series of questions and tests designed to show the supervisor your personal history and give him a picture of you as an employee. The nature of the screening varies by employer but may include a criminal background check, a credit check, resume verification and a drug test.

  • Check the resume you used. Background screeners look at year and prior job title inaccuracies as signs of deception. Come prepared with an explanation for title or year discrepancies if you find any on the resume. Contact former employers to verify dates and titles if necessary.

  • Visit the local police station. Ask for the procedures on obtaining a criminal history check. Follow the instructions. Review the report. Note any items you must dispute, such as a charge that was dropped, and ask the officer the method for doing so. Clean up the record as much as possible before the screening.

  • Go to the official website of AnnualCreditReport.com. You can get one free copy of your credit report from each bureau each year. Complete the registration and question section for each bureau. Follow the onscreen instructions to get the free reports. Print for your reference.

  • Go to the official websites of all three major credit bureaus if you've already used your free reports. Experian, Equifax and Transunion allow you to access a credit report online and dispute inaccurate items. Purchase the reports — the fees vary by company and product type — and print for reference.

  • Dispute any incorrect entries on your credit reports with the appropriate bureau. Include the reason for the dispute and any supporting proof. File the dispute on the bureau's official website for faster processing, or follow the online instructions for submitting disputes by mail.

  • Go to sleep early the day before the background-screening interview. You must pay attention to the questions, as the interviewer may ask the same question in different ways to gauge honesty by your answers.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not try to "fool" drug tests; even if you succeed, your employer can fire you later for the deceptive act.

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