Do Traffic Tickets Show up on Criminal Background Checks?

A traffic violation may seem like a minor issue. However, if not taken care of promptly, it may have an effect on whether you get your dream job or not. While a traffic ticket is not considered to be a criminal citation, failing to pay for a range of tickets and not showing up in court can turn into something much bigger. In order to be confident that you have no misdemeanour charges under your belt, we recommend you use our recommended background check provider below to look into your traffic warrants.

Don’t worry – if you just got your first speeding ticket and haven’t gotten around to paying the fine, you’re likely still in the clear. The catch is not to let this violation turn into your permanent record. Not sure if your permanent record is clean? We’re here to help you out, just read on!

Run a background check on yourself to uncover any warrants

If you’ve got a big interview coming up, make sure you’re 100% sure that your record is as clean as you think it is. The worst thing that can happen is getting caught off guard by a long-standing warrant that grew from an unpaid traffic ticket, as discovered by your interviewer during the interview. To avoid this situation, we recommend that you run your own background check first. This way, you can not only arrive to the interview ready with an explanation, but you can also get the ball rolling on paying these outstanding fines and perhaps clearing your record.

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However, there are many background checking services on the market, each claiming to be the best. If you find the whole prospect daunting, allow us to make a recommendation for the service out there:


BeenVerified is by far our #1 recommended background checking service – and we’ve tried quite a few to compare.

First off, simply using the service is a delight, with an intuitive layout that allows for breezy navigation through a wide range of options. Searches can thus be easily customized, making short work of uncovering everything from traffic tickets to more serious criminal activity. Furthermore, whether you are an Android or iPhone user, you have dedicated apps that will help you find all the necessary information within minutes. Should you ever run into issues with a search, or don’t know how to get started, BeenVerified’s customer support is available to its customers for long hours every day of the week.

BeenVerified comes in two tiers. If you opt for the basic subscription, you get access to a wide range of information, including criminal records, social media presence, financial history, and all other publicly available information. However, if you wish to delve deeper into a person’s history and do advanced research, you can choose to opt for the premium service.

This sort of subscription will allow you to look into gun ownership records, physical court archives, and more sensitive data. One of the best tools that comes with the premium service is a physical runner. This means that a person will be available to you if you wish to have someone look through physical court records all over the country.

How tickets become warrants

Generally speaking, when you get a traffic ticket, you have two options. The first is to simply pony up the fee, and move on with your life, careful to avoid similar citations in the near future. The second option is to appear in court to contest the veracity or extent of your ticket by pleading “not guilty”. This often leads to a significant reduction in fines, or having it thrown out altogether. It can be difficult to take the time away from work, school or family, but the reward can definitely justify the effort.

Unfortunately, many speeding tickets go unnoticed. Whether it’s the paper citation slipping out from underneath your windshield wiper, or an automatic speed trap hit you with a speeding ticket that you completely missed in the mail, these things can happen. Of course, some people simply decide to pretend the problem will just go away, and ignore the ticket altogether. In either case, the judge of the traffic court will respond the same: by issuing what’s known as a bench warrant for your arrest. As this is a court-issued warrant, it is highly likely to show up on most dedicated background checks.

While the F.B.I. is unlikely to dispatch tactical choppers to apprehend you following a bench warrant (after all, a bench warrant is NOT the same thing as a criminal warrant), you are still at risk. You can, and probably will, be arrested at the next routine traffic stop you encounter, or the next time an office pulls you over for any reason. Bench warrants don’t expire, so you won’t win by “waiting it out”.

What to do if you have a bench warrant

If you suspect you have a bench warrant, it is imperative that you seek clarity on the matter ASAP. Hiring a legal consultant is a smart first move, though it can be beneficial to run a background check on yourself beforehand, as well. Your attorney will help you get in touch with the right jurisdiction, locate the warrant, and schedule an appearance in court. This may sound like a long and involved process, but it beats the alternative. Besides, you may also be able to strike the warrant from your record as part of a plea deal.

It all depends on the background check

Regardless of the record you have accumulated with traffic tickets, it all comes down to the type of check the employer wants to run on you. Background checks have become a routine part of any hiring process, and with 53% of resumes containing inaccurate information, you can see why.

There is one statistic that is particularly surprising. Out of all employers who do background checks on their prospective employees, 82% report to analyze criminal history. With minor traffic tickets, this shouldn’t be an issue since only serious outstanding cases appear in this sort of background check. However, if an employer decides to carry out a driving record check because it is relevant to the role in question, traffic and parking tickets may become a concern.

Another thing to consider is the nature of the ticket. First-timers are rarely penalised for this sort of offense. If you received a ticket for the first time for driving a few miles over the speed limit, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you have accumulated several speeding tickets in half a year for driving 40 miles over the limit, it is viewed as a more serious offense, such as reckless driving. These show up as misdemeanour convictions, which can cause you trouble when an employer is looking into your criminal history. You can check all this detailed, sensitive information prior to applying to a job by running an advanced background check. It will help avoid any unpleasant surprises.

In parting

Depending on how the employer runs a background check, the impact traffic tickets will have on your application vary. If you have a single parking ticket and your employer is only looking into your criminal history, you have nothing to concern yourself with. However, if you have accumulated several traffic tickets in a short period of time or you’ve got a bench warrant out for your arrest for failure to show in court, it could definitely affect the employer’s final decision.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you keep track of your tickets and consult a legal representative prior to applying for jobs. If you’re not sure where you stand, a great first step towards getting on the right path is to run a background check on yourself.

Have you ever been served a bench warrant? What was the outcome? Let us know your story below.

Read Do Traffic Tickets Show up on Criminal Background Checks? by George P.H. on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Can You Fail a Background Check?

Job application fraud costs US corporations up to $600 billion dollars per year. That’s a massive amount of money – and as a result, background checks that confirm any and all information presented are now standard. Unfortunately, it can be hard to know why you may fail a background check, or what you can do to improve the odds in your favor.

In this article, we’ll set the record straight. We’ll explain how you can fail a background check, what you can do to help yourself, and which services you can use to pre-screen yourself for a preview of what employers see when they look you up. We’ll start by covering key features any background checking service you use should have.

What makes a great background checking service?

There are lots of background checking sites out there, all claiming to the best. Sure, there are many great options, but there are many more which would be happy to collect your payment, personal data, and search data, only to give little in return. Top-notch services are without exception governed by the following criteria:

  • Research quality – hiring the wrong person can cost your business large sums of money. You need to be able to rely on the results of any background check service you use. To that end, the quality of the research they’re working with is of utmost importance.
  • Report appearance and quality – the report you get from your background check should be easy to read, comprehensive, and chockful of useful data. Steer clear of providers with wishy-washy reports that don’t look presentable.
  • Search speed – it’s important that you get your search results quickly and without any unnecessary effort. Response times can and do vary from service to service, but as a rule of thumb, the most advanced searches shouldn’t take more than a few days. Basic ones should take minutes.
  • Custom searches – being able to personalize your search to include the exact information you need is a common and useful feature. If a provider doesn’t offer it, consider going with someone else. The last thing you want is a report full of information you have no use for.
  • Website dashboard – a dashboard can make or break your user experience. Look for ones that are easy-to-use, well-designed, and optimized for you to find all the information you need quickly and easily.
  • Mobile apps – leading services have apps for iOS, Android, or both. In the absence of these, look for responsive websites that replicate the look and feel of an app without asking you to install anything.
  • Customer support availability – live customer support is the best possible option, since it gives you the chance to get answers to your questions immediately. In its absence, look for customer support available at regular working hours. Services without support are safe to ignore.

Top recommended background checking sites

With the above features in mind, let’s take a look at some specific providers you can (and should) use to run background checks.

1. BeenVerified

BeenVerified is one of the oldest and most trusted names in the business. At the basic payment tier, you’ll get results from criminal records, financial records, public social media data, and other personal information from around the Internet. This is enough to let you know if you’re liable to fail a background check in all but the most advanced scenarios. One exception, however, is federal and military jobs. If you want to work for the government, for the military, or for any organization with tight controls – think research centers, laboratories, private clinics – you might want the advanced data sources too. With these, you may want the advanced features that look through gun records, professional licenses, and other more specific sources.

In terms of design, BeenVerified is strong on all fronts. The web dashboard is intuitive. Even people with low IT skills can quickly make any search they need, including a custom search. Once they do, the results are easy to skim and look through thanks to a handy, convenient web page design. The reports themselves are excellent at packing a lot of information into very little space. They are beautiful enough that you can print them out for office or home use and are one of BeenVerified’s selling points. The best part is that you can get these reports using iOS and Android mobile apps, both of which are native. Last but not least there’s outstanding customer support, available during off-hours, should you ever have any questions about the background checking service.

BEST IN CLASS: Worried about an upcoming background check? Get prepared with BeenVerified. Subscriptions available to our readers at discounted rates.

2. TruthFinder

TruthFinder is another two-tier background checking service. With a basic membership, you’ll be able to see someone’s criminal records, driving records, possible photos, and some social media activity. This is enough to get an accurate preview of what an individual or organization will see when checking your background. Unless you’re applying to work in medicine, manufacturing, the army, or a federal organization, this is more than enough to see if you’ll fail a check or not. If you do want to be more thorough, there’s a number of more advanced features, too. For example, TruthFinder’s advanced features can look through years of social media activity and deep-web information that’s usually invisible to Google and human users. These can help replicate more thorough checks performed by security-first organizations.

TruthFinder’s dashboard design is convenient and natural. We found that most users can enjoy the service without having to look at the instructions for it. Making custom searches that look at the specific information sources you want to prioritize is a breeze as well. Once you’re done choosing the filters you want to apply, start the search and get your reports in a matter of seconds (in most cases). The reports themselves are clearly presented and labeled, with a lot of information contained in a small number of pages every time. Customer support is 24/7, with operators who tend to be both knowledgeable and polite. Last but not least, there’s an Android app and an excellent responsive website for smartphone and tablet users.

3. Instant CheckMate

Instant CheckMate‘s basic subscription rate allows you to dig up criminal records, marriage and divorce records, relatives’ details, addresses, and more. This should be enough to help you predict whether you’ll fail a background check or not. If you do feel you need a little more diligence, however, you can pay extra to get information about financial history, driving licenses, and weapons licenses. There’s even a reverse phone lookup service that lets you get detailed information on someone based on their phone number. Between the basic and advanced options, figuring out whether you’ll fail a background check or not is straightforward. Whatever you choose, you can count on getting your results in an expedient fashion.

Outside of the basic features, Instant CheckMate is full of valuable extras. There’s an app for Android phones, available from that respective app store. If you use iOS devices or another mobile operating system, there’s a beautiful responsive mobile website that works well with any browser and operating system on the market. Reports are beautifully designed and instantly scannable no matter how much or how little information is in them. Customer support is available around the clock, and is helpful and quick to respond. There’s even a toll-free number for US residents so you never have to worry about making expensive calls to another state.

4. Intelius

Want to know if you or someone else will fail an upcoming background check? Then Intelius is one way to find out. It looks through someone’s background based on criminal records, sex offender lists, credit histories, property records, and more. Since these are the main data points used in scoring background checks, this will give you a solid idea of what third parties will see as well. In terms of other service fundamentals, you’ll be glad to know that the web dashboard is both intuitive and rich in features. You can customize your search, you can find the results you need easily, and looking at past searches only takes a couple of clicks.

Intelius will gather the most relevant data into a single comprehensive report, and make it read logically and clearly so you can interpret your results instantly. This is also true when you’re using the iOS and Android apps that the brand offers. No matter which version of the service you’re using, the reports you get are clear, concise, and pleasant to look at. Even if you do find that you need any extra help, customer support is always available (24/7) to help you make sense of any potential issues.

How does one fail a background check?

There are several common ways to fail a background check. The first and most obvious one is to have a crime that directly stops you from taking on the job you want. For example, sex offenders can’t work in any organization that deals with children. People with criminal backgrounds pointing to violent crimes or abuse won’t be allowed to work with anyone that’s considered vulnerable and may be relegated to jobs with minimal human contact. People who’ve committed crimes of any kind won’t be allowed to work high-security clearance jobs, especially in sectors adjacent to federal and military organizations. Depending on the severity and age of your crime, exceptions can happen – many states let people seal minor crimes that happened years ago – but that’s the rule of thumb.

Another major problem is falsifying experience and qualifications. As a rule, you won’t be penalized (or even notified) if employers discover you added a few percents to your salary or extended your actual tenure by a few months. But any flat-out lies, as well as falsehoods that call your ability to do a job into question, are likely to lead to a terminated job application. This also applies to job-related qualities. If you want to work a job in the security sector, or a private company with military connections, a dishonorary discharge will be a problem – especially if you try to conceal it. The same goes for a poor credit score and the financial sector. Honesty really is the best policy here.

Why run a self-check?

It can be difficult to mitigate the damage of a blemished permanent record. While there’s usually no way to hide or erase your history, coming prepared to explain certain parts of it can give you a leg up. Generally, you shouldn’t seek to place blame, and instead take responsibility for your part in the situation. Demonstrate how you’ve taken steps to correct or otherwise make amends for your mistake, and give evidence of how you’ve incorporated the lessons learned into living a better life.

This is not a guaranteed pass, but prospective employers, landlords, creditors, etc. are all people too, and generally take transparency as a positive personal point in considering your application and background test results. The key is, however, knowing ahead of time just what the talking points are likely to be. This is where running a background check on yourself is invaluable.

A final note of caution, if you have multiple blemishes on your record, don’t go out of your way to volunteer every negative point. Let your interviewer prompt you to explain the points they’re most concerned with. What you might consider a potential deal breaker might not matter as much to your interviewer. Of course, the opposite could also be true, so prepare for the worst and hope for the best.


That’s it, you now have the tools you need to look into your public record. The information you find can help you to better prepare for interviews, loan applications, licenses, leases, and more. While it is always possible that past mistakes may cause you to fail the background check run by your interviewer, having time to prepare for their questions and concerns can make the difference between success and rejection.

Have you ever failed a background check? What advice can you share from that experience? Or, have you been able to successfully reframe your past mistakes so they weren’t dealbreakers? Let us know how in the comments below.

Read Can You Fail a Background Check? by George P.H. on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

What is included in a Background Check for Employment?

Whether you’re an employer or an employee, preparing for background checks can be tricky. If you’re hiring, how do you know which information you should look for – and what you’re legally allowed to look at? If you’re looking for a job or being considered for a promotion, how can you prepare for what might come up quickly and effectively?

In this article, we attempt to answer these questions (and a few others) by covering what’s included in a background check. We also go over which services you can use to preview what a professional background checking partner might find, whether background checks are legal, touch on how to run searches properly, and more.

How important are background checks to employers?

According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, resume fraud costs employers $600 billion each year. The reasons for this degree of damage vary. On a basic level, people lying about their qualifications and job experience leads to waste, poorly executed tasks, and other problems. Moreover, someone could also misrepresent their education and certifications, being completely unqualified to do the tasks they were hired to do in the first place. Beyond that, people could falsify any number of things. For example, one common trick is to inflate previous paychecks in order to negotiate for a better salary at a new workplace. This may seem relatively benign, but again, small-scale fraud is still fraud, and given that false resumes are so expensive to employers, it’s best to run background checks every time.

One common misconception is that internal hires and executive-level employees are less likely to lie on their resumes. This is true to a degree: Business Week reports that 16% of executive resumes contain false academic claims, compared to nearly 1 in 2 for all resumes. At the same time, 16% is still a lot since we’re talking about people who lead other people and represent organizations at the highest level. This is true for internal hires as well. For example, someone may have passed a basic background check when coming into a company. But since requirements are more stringent at higher levels of organizational structure, that initial check could’ve failed to reveal facts that can count against someone. For this reason, it’s important to run quality background checks – even when hiring executives or promoting staff internally. The low price of a check far outstrips the potential losses incurred by not doing homework.

What’s included in a background check for employment?

Background check information can vary. In advanced checks, the providers in the list above can look through deep web data, send runners to retrieve documents, and more. However, a few things should always figure in any quality background check. These are:

  • Identity verification – this is the first line of defense against fraud, abuse, and misinformation. Confirming someone’s identity is the cornerstone of any thorough background check and should be included in custom searches every time.
  • Employment verification – given how often people falsify their past employment details, this is another important check. You’ll have to obtain consent to get it, but once you do, your search partner will contact past employers to make sure the indicated employment information is correct. Alternatively, you can ask an employee to bring in pay slips and W-2 documents or other paper trails to prove employment.
  • Education and licenses – this is another important check, especially if you need employees who have specific licenses (e.g. gun, driver’s, medical, etc) or academic degrees. It works a lot like the employment verification check. Some educational institutions may not respond to direct queries or submit their information to the public record, but you can still use an educational reporting provider to check.
  • Criminal records – be very careful when performing this check, because doing it without going through the right procedures can land you in a lot of trouble. Depending on what the FCRA and your state laws say, you should be able to look through convictions from the past 5-7 years – but only if specific criteria are met first.
  • Drug use – if you don’t want to hire regular drug users (including cannabis), you can pay a partner to run drug checks on your employees. As with the above point, be very careful to make sure you’re not breaking the FCRA or state laws when you’re doing this. Otherwise, you could land in hot water with local or federal law enforcement.

How can employees prepare for their screening?

Prospective employees might seem to have the disadvantage in their interview. After all, employers make it their business to know yours before hiring. However, applicants can run their own background checks on themselves to see what turns up. With this information in hand, it is much easier to come prepared with an explanation of whatever circumstances show up. This can make all the difference between someone being perceived as un-hirable and someone who has learned from their mistakes and worked to improve themselves.

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When searching for a quality background checking service, prospective employees should keep the following key features of in mind:

  • Deep research – anyone can do a basic Google search and find some everyday information on another person. If you’re using a paid service, it’s important that it goes above and beyond these basics. This is doubly true if you’re about to go through a stringent background check, e.g. for the military or a federal organization.
  • Accurate and clear reports – a quality report should be readily scannable and intuitive to understand. You don’t want to pore over pages and pages to find the handful of information you actually need – so look for thoughtfully designed, straightforward report styles.
  • Speedy results – a basic background check should only take seconds or minutes. A more advanced one can take a few days. Any longer than that, and you’re better off considering a different provider; you certainly want to get the results you need on time, every time.
  • Custom searches – the ability to customize your searches for the specific data sources you need is standard these days. If a provider insists on giving you reports that contain info from all their data sources, it’s best to choose someone else.
  • Mobile access – quality providers have several ways to cater to mobile users. One is with native iOS and Android apps that make it easy to execute searches and carry reports with you without print them out. Absent dedicated software, providers should at least have a mobile-ready dashboard accessible by any browser.
  • Customer support – live support is best, but extended hours are fine too. Some providers give you self-troubleshooting tools to help you diagnose what’s not working.

Now that you know which features are best, let’s talk about some specific services that do background checks well!

1. BeenVerified

BeenVerified is a two-tier background check service. Its basic package covers criminal records, financial records, social media presence, and other public-record data. This is enough to give you a solid idea of who it is you’re talking to or interviewing. If you want other data sources and information about gun licenses, for example, you can always upgrade to the premium version. This also lets you send runners to courts and physical archives to find even more data, which is useful. The best part is that advanced and basic searches are both fast. The former take up to a few days while the latter take seconds, making BeenVerified one of the speedier services on the market.

BeenVerified’s web dashboard is intuitive and well-designed, making it easy for you to find the exact results you’re looking for. This includes easy custom searches, and reports that are both sleek and easy to navigate. Mobile users can enjoy Android and iOS apps that make it easy to execute mobile searches and carry results on the go. Even if you don’t want to use these, there’s an excellent responsive mobile website that works well from all operating systems. Last but not least, you can always get the help you need with BeenVerified thanks to 24/7 customer support that’s helpful and knowledgeable.

BEST BACKGROUND CHECKS: BeenVerified is our overall #1 choice. They provide a fast service that includes physical runners, available at a hard-to-beat price.

2. TruthFinder

Similar to other top-tier background checking services, TruthFinder offers a basic and premium search. The price of entry nets you access to reports drawn from standard data sources: criminal records, driving records, contact details, possible photos, and known family members. If you choose to go for the premium option, you’ll also get social media data from the last few years, gun licenses, and more. But what really makes TruthFinder special is that their technology searches through deep web data to find all kinds of information that is usually completely inaccessible to Google and online users. If you really want to see everything that’s out there on an individual, TruthFinder is an outstanding option.

The service’s interface is easy to use. The desktop version of the dashboard makes custom searches a breeze and makes it easy to look through older results. The Android app is feature-rich and surprisingly quick to download. While there’s no iOS app, their online dashboard is highly response and mobile-ready. No matter which version of the service you end up using, the reports you end up with will be well-designed, easily scannable, and full of easy-to-read information. Even if you do find that you have any problems or questions, 24/7 customer support is always on hand to help you solve them.

3. Instant CheckMate

Instant CheckMate is a background checking service that delivers beautiful reports from a variety of sources. These reports can include all available information or be customized to fit your specific needs. If you use the service’s basic tier, the sources will span criminal records, marriage and divorce records, known family members, contact details, and some social media data. If you choose to expand your search, you can pay a premium fee to see financial history, driving licenses, weapons licenses, and more. Together, all these data sources can help you put together a thorough picture of who someone is and what their past was like.

The Instant CheckMate website dashboard is convenient and easy to use. Custom searches are easy to execute in seconds, and prior reports are immediately accessible. Everything is always a click away, and even if you do need help, customer support is available 24/7. The Android app for Instant CheckMate is almost as good as the website, offering an excellent design and feature set. iOS and other users are welcome to use the lovely responsive mobile website (which is better than most background checking services’ apps).

4. Intelius

Intelius searches through a number of different data sources to give you detailed reports on individuals’ pasts. Data sources include criminal records, sex offender registrations, credit reports, property records, and education. Drawing on these, Intelius gives you clear, comprehensive reports that are easy to scan and presentable enough to share with other people and teams. The dashboard is intuitive and easy to use, whether you want to make a new search or manage previous ones. The same extends to the Android and iOS app versions, which are well-designed and highly stable. If you ever have any questions, customer support is available at extended hours – as is a troubleshooter tool that makes figuring out what’s wrong a breeze.

What about free services?

Free background checking services are popular and easy to find on the web. They look through some of the same data sources as the paid services on this page, but with one important caveat. Since there is no financial incentive for a free service to give you quality information, they simply show you what they manage to find; no more, no less. Moreover, free background check services often ask you to upgrade your membership, secretly harvest your own information, show you ads, etc. For all these reasons, we strongly recommend that you go with a commercial service if you’re going to make searches for any important reason. So long as you know how to execute searches correctly, you’ll get far better results this way. After all, the best services are still quite affordable.


Finding someone’s background information doesn’t have to be tricky at all. The only tricky part is knowing the law, other people’s rights, and being clear on what you can and can’t do. Now that you know how to conduct background searches, what are you going to do next? Leave a note below and let us know; we love getting feedback from readers.

Read What is included in a Background Check for Employment? by George P.H. on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

What Does a Federal Employment Background Check Look Like?

Federal jobs require thorough background checks before new hirees are brought on board. This can be for security clearance, or just basic due diligence to ensure the agency isn’t hiring someone with a suspicious background. Regardless of their reasoning, getting a government level job means jumping through a lot of extra hoops. But what does a federal employment background check look like, and should you be worried about what could potentially show up?

Even though it can be terrifying to think about getting a background check for federal employment agencies, there really isn’t that much to worry about. In the article below we’ll discuss exactly what a federal employment background check looks like, complete with steps you can take to prepare yourself for the event. Sometimes looking into the best background check services is an incredible way to know yourself!

Basics of federal employee background checks

Everyone hired for a federal job will undergo a basic background check. Exactly what these routine scans look for will vary depending on the type of employment you’re seeking.

General background checks

Any employer who runs background checks on candidates is looking for at least two things: to verify resume details, and to check for a criminal background. It’s easy to tell both small and large fibs when applying for a job, especially if you don’t exactly meet the requirements for the position. By fudging certain details, many candidates hope to get a leg up on the competition. A background check lets employers verify education, past employment, and other details, ensuring they are actually hiring who they think they are.

Scanning for a criminal history is another common tactic when hiring new employees. Companies aren’t exactly looking for anything specific, here, just checking that the arrest report and criminal charges are minor, at worst. If the rap sheet isn’t clean, the employer will evaluate each charge individually. You’re not likely to land a job at a bank if you have been arrested for money laundering, for example.

Federal security clearances

Positions in the federal government are classified into one of three categories: non-sensitive, public trust, and national security. Each of these has different on-boarding requirements, and each one focuses on different things when it comes to your background check.

Lower level federal positions aren’t so sensitive about background investigations. Automated checks like the ones you might find when doing an online pre-employment background check are usually sufficient. Any criminal or financial issue may constitute dismissal from the hiring pool, but you won’t have to worry about any deep investigations into your history, only the basics.

High security background checks

If you’re applying for federal employment and will have access to confidential, secret, top secret, or even sensitive compartmented information, you can expect a rigorous background check that goes far beyond the usual automated scans. It starts with standard information verification, which includes your name, residential address, and other basic details. These are pretty standard as far as employment goes, but you can be sure that even the slightest mark will warrant a more thorough investigation.

High security clearance checks typically involve investigations via interviews with friends and family, along with thorough matchmaking done through state, local, federal, and national databases. Again, any suspicious or potentially sensitive area will warrant an even more thorough check, which means nearly every detail of your life will be turned over and examined.

What shows up on a federal employment background check?

From marriage records to phone numbers, employment histories to arrest reports, your federal employment background check is likely to have a ton of information on it. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect.

Your personal data

This part of the background check is more of a quick glance than anything. Here, federal employees will look to verify every piece of information you put on your resume. If you claim to have a university degree, they make sure it exists. They also look through your licenses (medical, legal, gun carry permits, etc.) where applicable, and make sure your employment history matches with the data in their hands. In addition to these details, the federal agency will also likely check your professional and legal status to make sure you’re a citizen, and they may even glance over marriage records.

Again, most of this is standard stuff found in public records databases. You can actually see a lot of the same information by searching for your own name in an online background checking service. See the section below for more details about how to do that.

Criminal records

Privacy and identity laws around the world aim to ensure individuals are never subjected to unwarranted, excessive, or clandestine enquiries into their personal details. They prevent companies from looking through your history without your consent, and they protect you from an interrogation into any criminal pasts during a job interview.

While federal employment agencies must adhere to these rules, you can expect them to be pushed to their limits during the background check phase. This is because any indication of a criminal past, even an innocent arrest or dismissed charges, can warrant dismissal from the candidate pool.

When your background check is run by a federal agency, they look for things like arrests, warrants, court summons, and even dismissed cases. Non-convictions and judgements that never led to a court appearance are also scrutinized. This applies to felony crimes as well as more severe misdemeanors, though smaller infractions such as parking tickets are generally overlooked.

Social media posts

This is probably the detail most people are worried about showing up on a federal employment background check. Yes, as is the case with just about any public background check, your social media posts will probably appear on your background screening for a federal job. There’s no official word on how deep these scans go, or how far back they check, but if you posted it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., it’s public, and there’s a good chance your employer will find it.

Tiered background checks

It’s not uncommon to see the low- and high-level security checks mentioned above divided into different tiers. The ones of note are tiers three through five, the ones that require thorough investigation to protect potentially sensitive information. They add more data to your background check, as well as deepen the sources required for obtaining said data.

If you have to undergo a tier 3 investigation, the National Agency Check (NAC) will look at results from previous government investigations, including the FBI fingerprint database and other government-level arrest records. This is in addition to basic automated background checks that verify core identity information such as name, address, and current residence.

Tier 4 and tier 5 up the ante as far as investigations are concerned, but surprisingly, they don’t go into that much more depth. Instead of more rigorous identity confirmations, the higher tiers make it mandatory to check and re-check data on a regular basis, ensuring no new details surface over time. This ensures security clearances remain valid for the duration of federal employment.

Run a background check on yourself

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Not sure what will show up on your federal employment background check? There’s a quick and simple way to find out: run a background check on yourself! Online background scanning services look through millions of public records to find everything from name, age, and contact details to arrest reports and social media content. You can get a quick preview of what your employer might see by running a check yourself, and it’s a lot easier than you might think.

Best background check services

Finding a good, secure, and thorough background checking service that’s both affordable and easy to use is a tall order to fill. Most of these companies fall behind in one or more areas, making them difficult to understand or providing you with inaccurate data.

We used the criteria listed below to search for the best background checking services online. Our recommendations are in the next section, so if you need a hand running your own background check, they’re ready to serve.

  • Accuracy – If a service doesn’t include up to date information or delivers outdated content, your search will be pointless.
  • Customer support – Background checks are tricky, which is why services with reliable customer support are invaluable.
  • Layout – Does your service deliver information in an easy to understand format, or is it nearly impossible to read? Usability can be a deal breaker.
  • Speed – Background checks can take time, even online ones that comb through public records. You need a service that delivers information instantly.

1  – BeenVerified

BeenVerified is one of the fastest and most reliable background checking companies online. It offers complete search services for criminal records, former bankruptcies, contact information, financial data, and much more, all available from easy to read reports delivered directly to your favorite device. BeenVerified is trusted by over a hundred thousand subscribers and has been in business for over a decade, serving 146 million reports to satisfied users across the United States.

Using BeenVerified to run a background check on yourself is incredibly easy to do. You’ll start by choosing a membership plan, selecting from a number of affordable options that include unlimited reports, unlimited phone and e-mail lookups, and the fastest record searches in the business. After joining you’ll be able to search public records on your PC or with apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android, making it incredibly convenient to use.

BEST SERVICE: BeenVerified is our top choice for running a background check. Get full and unlimited access to BeenVerified’s background check reports with our exclusive discount. Join now and see what your employer will learn when they run their own check.

2 – Instant CheckMate

Instant CheckMate is a public records searching service that lets you run your own background checks with a minimum amount of effort. You’ll be able to comb through arrest records, criminal records, known aliases, financial history, previous jobs, and more, all with fast results delivered directly to your PC, Android device, or iPhone. When you need to know what an employer will see when they run a background check on you, Instant CheckMate is one of the best services you can use.

Using Instant CheckMate is as straightforward as you can get. All you need to do is type in someone’s name, including your own, select a general location, then begin the search. ICM dives into tons of real public records to find every possible resource it can. Best of all, every subscription includes unlimited searches and fully up to date information, putting one of the most powerful background checking resources at your fingertips.

HOT PRICE: Sign up with Instant CheckMate for a powerful background checking service at a fantastic price. Search your own records so you’ll know what your employer will see before they even see it.

3 – TruthFinder

Stay one step ahead of federal employment agencies running their own background checks by keeping tabs on your own records. Services like TruthFinder deliver a ton of useful information straight to your screen, including criminal records, arrest data, contact information, financial histories, educational background, and employment records. You can also search through deep and dark web information and social media posts to see what else might show up on a public search.

Many background checking companies let you search thousands of public record sources, but few present the information in an easy to understand way. TruthFinder delivers the data you need in smartly organized reports that anyone can read. You can sign up and run a background check on yourself in a matter of moments, all without having to interpret complicated charts in your spare time.

GREAT DEAL: Get an incredible discount on TruthFinder with our exclusive deal. Sign up today and enjoy unlimited background searches with one of the best interfaces around.

4 – Intelius

Intelius delivers accurate, reliable, up to date, and easy to understand information gathered from a wealth of public sources, making it easy to dive in and research your own online identity in a flash. Subscription plans are affordable and offer just the right set of features you need, including unlimited searches and instant access to background check databases. As soon as you join you’ll be able to look through arrest reports, social network data, financial information, educational backgrounds, and so much more.


What does a federal employment background check look like? It varies depending on the type of job you’re applying for, but overall it includes your basic identity data, resources on your employment and educational history, and a detailed report about any arrests or criminal activity you’ve been involved with. Some federal positions investigate above and beyond this before hiring, but you will always be notified if this is the case, as there are laws in place protecting your privacy and identity.

Have you ever applied for a federal job? What was the background checking experience like for you? Let everyone know in the comments section below.

Read What Does a Federal Employment Background Check Look Like? by John Anthony on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

What Employers Need to Know About Background Checks

When it comes to your business, you can’t afford hiring mistakes. And since 30% of small business failure is the result of employee theft, that hiring mistake can mean the difference between success – and failure. And since every business needs to cut cost, and one your biggest expenses is locating, interviewing, and training new talent, every hire needs to be a thoughtful and careful consideration. In light of this, background checks become a critical component to the hiring process.

As a cost-effective and efficient way to “weed” out candidates that are a poor fit for your company, background checks not only cut down on bad hiring decisions, but also proactively protect your company. In this guide, we’re going to talk you through why you should be running background checks on your candidates in greater detail, how to do so, and things to keep in mind when you get the results. Here’s what you as an employer need to know about background checks.

Why you should run background checks

If you own or operate in a large business, you’ve probably already run (and been the subject of) a background check. But many small-to-medium size business simply don’t, typically for one of two reasons. First, in smaller companies, given their nature and proximity between employees and employer, there can be a false sense of security and trust. And secondly, many business owners simply don’t recognize the potential for legal liabilities in relation to prescreening candidates and running background checks.

Background checks look at a lot of information about job applicants, and often include:

  • Verification of address
  • Verification of employment history
  • Education history, including any degrees
  • Professional license verification (i.e. a state healthcare license)
  • Reference verification
  • County and/or Federal criminal history
  • County and/or Federal civil history
  • Sexual offender status
  • Drug testing results
  • Health fraud/abuse
  • Driving history
  • Credit checks
  • Social media screening

Much of this information can be found with little difficulty through internal resources, but a qualified background checking service provider can make things even simpler. As a point to note, however: depending on the relevance to the job the candidate is being screen for, you might not want to pursue all of these pieces of information.

That said, there are several major reasons you should run a background check on all potential candidates:

Legal liability

The term “negligent hiring” is a legal term that describes the liability of an employer for any incidents caused by an employee where the employer knew – or should have known – that the employer had a previous history. For an extreme example, if you run a daycare and unknowingly hired a convicted sex offender, you would be liable for any incidents – and thus guilty of negligent hiring. Essentially, ignorance is not a “get out of jail free” card. You need to know if a candidate could open you up to legal risk.


A report from CareerBuilder found that 58% of resumes contain misleading or incorrect information. So when you hire a candidate without doing a background check, you’re trusting them blindly – and the numbers don’t add up to that being a good choice. Some of this false information can include falsified education details, inaccurate job titles or seniority levels, and dates of employment. And when you hire someone who has false credentials, that can affect the morale of your existing employees, too – in a negative way.


An estimated 5% of revenues from businesses is lost to employee fraud each year, so if you’re worried about employees stealing cash or inventory – you have a right to be. And in smaller companies (<100 employees), the median for loss is even worse – 28% higher, to be specific. And if your don’t deal in money or physical inventory, you’re still at risk. Smaller businesses have fewer resources at their disposal to employ strict security protocols to halt cybercrime. Employees with access to sensitive data have stolen and even sold client and employee information taken from company computers and networks.

Workplace safety

Despite employer obligations to provide a safe workplace, violent incidents are still fairly widespread. These incidents of violence at work cause emotional and physical harm to your employees, damage equipment, and ultimately cost you in both good employees and money. Implementing a background check, however, can turn up history of violent incidents and other indicators for the potential to harm your workplace culture.

Ultimately, a background check is like an inexpensive insurance policy – and a basic one is as cheap as $30.

How to run a background check

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Now that you understand how important a background check is and what it can help you avoid, how do you get one? While you may be able to collect some or much of the information from internal sources or otherwise, a reputable background check provider can coalesce everything into one readable report. But in either case – on your own or with a provider – there are a few things you need to do before you get started:

Review the FCRA beforehand

Job applicants have legal rights, which the FTC and EEOC enforce to protect in the U.S. One such law, put in place by the FTC, regulates background checks and is called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). If you are going to use a 3rd-party vendor that obtains and compiles background information, the FCRA applies to you. It regulates the use of consumer credit reports and investigative consumer reports. Under this law, you need properly disclose and obtain written permission to run this kind of inquiry before you request the report.


Employment laws vary by state and country. The laws and organizations mentioned here (FTC, EEOC, FCRA) apply to the United States. If you live in another country, there may be similar or other laws. So while this information has been researched extensively, it is not guaranteed for complete accuracy and legality to your specific location. Use your local resources and seek legal assistance to ensure your decisions are correct.

Notify and get permission

If you intent to use a 3rd-party vendor, you need to inform the candidate that you’re going to be running a background check and get written permission to do so from them prior to running it. This notification and request need to be in writing and in a stand-alone format separate from the job application itself. The important thing is to be clear about what you will be requesting and that by signing the document, the candidate is authorizing you to obtain a background check on them.

Once you’ve obtained this written permission from the applicant, you need to certify to the vendor that:

  • You obtained written permission;
  • Complied with all FCRA requirements; and
  • Won’t discriminate or otherwise misuse the information in violation of state and federal laws.

Pick a trustworthy vendor

Because of the potential for legal liability, both to your company and your customers, choose a background checking company that you trust. Working with a reputable, experienced company can ensure the screening process is thorough, accurate, and complete. To select one, do your research. Vendors come in many forms and are often built with services in mind for specific needs. Make sure they have a toll-free number that is answered by a real person. Check them out on Google to see if they have any public reviews. Also – avoid instant databases, which are simply that: databases. If you use one of these, you can land your company in a bad place, as most do not check on the accuracy of their information.

Finally, make sure the company that you choose is setup to comply with FCRA law and can be used for hiring purposes; some are only intended (and legally usable) for personal individuals, rather than companies.

Supplement the professional check

Just because you contracted the background screening out to a professional company doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do some research yourself. While a Google search isn’t a trustworthy place to look for information, it doesn’t mean it’s without any worth. Running a Google search as a supplement to the official background check can give you insight into who the candidate is as a person: what kind of things they post on social media, what they blog about, what they write on their profiles, etc.

You may find that an applicant is passionate about their area of expertise or has other skills that can be valuable to you.

A note on background check companies

As a side note, take care with background checkers. Many will encourage you to buy every piece of information available on an applicant – charging you extra fees for each additional tier to do so. If you do need to know everything about a candidate – then O.K. Continue on. But often, you may find you don’t need to know every single detail. If the candidate is a remote worker applying to build part of your website, you probably only need a reference check, criminal report, and technical certification – anything else is probably unnecessary. Take into account the requirements of the job.

What to do with what you find

Once your background check on a job candidate has returned, what do you do with all of it? Two of the biggest challenges to you as an employer can be knowing how to weigh the information you receive, and making sure that your process and decision adheres to state and Federal laws. For example, many states restrict the time period for past history that can be considered in a background check. Most background check providers will provide information for the previous 7 years. Again, check with a knowledgeable provider, attorney, or other state authority to ensure compliance.

That said, use these tips when you review the results of a background check:

  • Look for patterns – With a thorough background check, you get more details than just a criminal history. For example, looking at the dates of a candidate’s previous employments can not only confirm job experience, but also give you other information. If they change employers every 6 months or 2 years, and you’re looking for someone to hang around for the long-term, that can help you make a decision on whether they’re the right fit. Likewise, other details may turn up that show how an applicant strives for success, or consistently encounters (or creates) difficulties. These kinds of things can give you a good impression of how well the candidate performs his or her job.
  • Consider more than the criminal check – If a candidate is applying for a job involving handling money, and your background check turns up a criminal history of cash theft, that’s a good reason to not hire them. If, on the other hand, they received an OWI on personal time, and the job has nothing to do with driving or operating machinery, this may not have as much relevance. Of course, it may reflect poorly on their judgement skills, but if the rest of their records show no other red flags, then choosing not to hire them on the ground of their criminal record in this case may constitute discrimination.The important thing here is to see how an applicant’s criminal record fits into the big picture of how it relates to the job position and the rest of their history. Don’t adopt blanket policies on criminal history, like “we don’t hire felons” or “we don’t hire those with criminal records” – you will be in violation of the EEOC.
  • Filter carefully – Going hand-in-hand with the previous tip, filter the information your find carefully. That criminal history alone should never automatically eliminate a candidate from consideration. In the same vein, automatically eliminating an applicant based on race, national origin, sex, religion, disability, etc. is discriminatory. You need to apply the same standards to everyone, regardless of any of these things. You accept an applicant with a poor financial history on one day, you can’t reject an applicant of another ethnicity with the same financial history the next. Document every step in as much detail as possible have someone reviewing to ensure you’re not unwittingly discriminating. Review the EEOC for more detailed information about the intricacies of what constitutes discrimination.
  • Keep an eye on the details – If you’re paying attention, you also may find a personality trait or response to a situation that could be a strong asset on your team – even if it’s not addressed in their resume. Use all the information you’re provided by the background check to your advantage. You’re going through the effort of obtaining it, so don’t just look for areas of concern – mine the information for strengths.

If you’re going to reject…

If you’re considering rejecting an applicant based on the results of their background check, the FCRA does have some specific requirements. Before taking an adverse employment action, you must:

  • Inform the applicant that he or she was rejected due to the background check, either orally, written, or electronically, with a copy of the report included;
  • The name, address, and phone number of the company you used;
  • That the vendor used did not make the decision;
  • Provide the applicant with a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” which should have been provided to you by the vendor you used;
  • That the candidate can get an additional free copy of the report from the company within 60 days; and finally
  • That they have the right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of the background check.

While these requirements satisfy the legal aspects, they also provide the candidate the chance to explain any discrepancies. Because of that, if you have concerns, it can be worth discussing them with the applicant prior to taking adverse action. Before going through the official channel of rejecting them, the applicant gets a chance to dispute the information, and you get to hear his or her side of the story. Again, you’ve already put in the effort to obtain and read the report – so why not use it to your advantage?

Wrapping up

A good, strong, successful business is built on reliable people who fulfill their duties well. Running a background check during the hiring process – or at any other point – is an excellent screening tool to help find the individuals that will provide the best fit for your company. But whether the information you receive suggests positive or negative signs about the candidate’s potential, they’re still real individuals and the results can seriously impact their lives. Add background checking to your arsenal and gain another tool to take your team and your business to the next level.

Have you ever used a background checking site to screen new or old hires? Were you surprised? What tools did you use? Let us know your experience in the comments section below.

Read What Employers Need to Know About Background Checks by Matt Seiltz on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter