How to Prepare for a Background Interview

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Background interviews are meant to give you an opportunity to tell interviewers about your past, both professional and personal. They are designed to help the employer determine if you are a morally worthy job candidate for sensitive positions that require the utmost integrity. Prepare for your interview by being open and honest with investigators.

  • Do a thorough background check on yourself that includes traffic violations, your driving record in all states in which you have had a license, and license or certification violations if your profession is overseen by a governing body and college transcripts. Also get employment and training records from current and former employers. Training and employment records may take longer to get from your former employer than some other records. Get all of these records during the application phase of your job search and before you get to the interview. Review your records to see if they contain mistakes or discrepancies. Be prepared to answer questions about these issues in your interview.

  • Complete your application accurately and completely. Interviewers may ask questions to responses made on the application. If your address, references or jobs have changed since you turned in your application, notify the employer before your interview. Doing so demonstrates responsibility and honesty.

  • Rehearse your answers to interview questions. This will help you appear less confused and more prepared. Answer all questions honestly. The background check that the employer will do after the interview will bring up any discrepancies in your stories. Demonstrate integrity by telling the truth. Prepare for questions that delve into your past and that ask you to respond to hypothetical situations to judge your ability to reason with integrity.

  • Speak so that interviewers can hear and understand you in the interview. Convey confidence in yourself through the tone and volume of your voice.

  • Be ready to answer questions about your education, where you have lived, jobs, credit reports, any arrests or law violations you have had and your driving record, states law enforcement Sergeant Betsy Brantner Smith in a 2008 article about becoming a police officer on Monster.com. Background investigators may talk to others in your past besides previous employers, including who have worked with you, in order to learn more about your personality and work ethic. They may talk to past landlords, your parents, roommates or teachers, for example. They may also travel to where you grew up to talk to people who knew you when you were younger.

Tips & Warnings

  • Offer to be of service throughout the background investigation to help the investigators learn about your background. Be as transparent and forthcoming about your past as possible.

References

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