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What Does a Government Background Check Search For?

There are many reasons the government may want to perform a background check.

The most common background check is for government jobs. Post office, military and federal agency jobs usually require some sort of background check. When applying for a government job, make sure you answer all the questions on the application truthfully and have required documents printed and ready for submission. Lying or excessive exaggeration may get you caught and rejected for the opportunity that you are seeking.

If you've never taken a background check, you must practice patience and be organized. A background check can take days or weeks to complete depending on the situation and the parties involved, but there are things you can do to be prepared.

Printed Documents

Many documents are required when submitting an application that often results in a government background check. Printed copies of:

  • Credit reports might be required
  • Letters of explanation from family members and relatives
  • Letter of explanation for questionable criminal history
  • Employment history documents as well

Utilize your at home printer to get prepared and document each area we cover very thoroughly to avoid denial of your application. There’s a lot to print, so make sure you’re stocked up on your printers correct toner - Canon toner cartridges are the most popular. Organize your application along with the above referenced printed documents right away before applying.

Criminal Background History

A criminal background check is very extensive. It checks all the states you've lived in and national databases to make sure you've never been convicted of a crime. This check makes sure that the right type of person is going to be a part of an organization.

In security clearance government jobs this check will be more extensive. There can be additional questions you get asked that may seem silly, but government agencies do their best to hire people with integrity. Someone with a tough past or criminal record may be a risk to national security. Having a printed letter of explanation ready for any possible questionable items in your past is a good idea.

Credit Report

You will likely get asked for your driver’s license and your social security number when filling out the government application that requires a background check. Depending on the reason for the background check, your credit history will be reviewed for very specific reasons. Do you have a lot of debt? This factor may be important if you are applying for a job at the Federal Reserve. Financial pressure may cause some people to consider theft or complicated white collar crimes.

The specific details about your credit are important to an agency like the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). They want to know everything about the agents they hire. Even if you are a secretary at the organization, you will still undergo an extensive background check since you have access to files and sensitive information that cannot be shared with the general public or anyone you know.

Ordering and printing a copy of your credit report before undergoing a background check is a great way to make sure that the items on there are yours. Keep a printed record of your credit report on file and available. It's also a great way to make sure your creditors properly label the accounts you hold. If you paid a bill off and they are showing it as open, you may want to print records of your last payment and contact the company so they can list the item as being paid off. 

Employment History

This portion of the background check sometimes takes the longest. Depending on the agency, it may cover years of employment. For example, a person applying to a job at the State Department may require a 15-year work history check. How they conduct this portion is by contacting all the employers you've had over a 15 year period to verify that you are who you say you are in terms of work history and character. They will sometimes check to see if you were fired or quit the job. Nothing is really off limits. They may even check your high school fast food job just to keep tabs on you. It is important to have copies of all employment records as well as your resume printed to ensure that nothing gets lost.

Immediate Family

Some people are surprised by this aspect, but in some cases immediate family members are checked out too. You may be a great person, with a stellar character, but if you are related to a serial killer, the government agency you are applying to may be concerned by this. Your brother serving a life sentence for robbery may also be a concern. If your mom and dad are losing their home or your spouse has a criminal history, they may find out and use the information to consider your application for employment. Your neighbors may also be interviewed for certain government agencies. This is often done to verify the character of the person being hired.

Having letters of explanation printed, statements documented and printed from friends or family members and a full list of questionable relatives, references and immediate family members the government can check out is one way to stay honest. Do your prep work and have these items at the ready, printed, signed and organized.

These are some of the most common things verified during a government background check. It’s very important to keep your records organized and have all important documents printed and at the ready before you apply for a job. They key is to be as honest as possible so that the background check goes smoothly and the agency has confidence in you and your application. Any suspicious behavior or information that does not add up can delay an application and cause the government agency to check for additional things not included in the standard check. Be prepared, have your information printed and available, organized and ready for your background check.

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