How much should I be worried about a background check?

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Rucifer
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How much should I be worried about a background check?

Post by Rucifer » Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:00 pm

Maybe you guys can help me out since I can't seem to get help much anywhere else. You see, I was in the army (I am from US) and did something stupid, I stole from the warehouse I worked at. I was found out, not convicted of crimes but kicked out of the army with an other than honorable discharge. I'm not trying to debate what kind of person I am but how I would look to prospective employers. Do you think that anyone would hire me knowing this? If not, how thorough are background checks at an average company? The tyoical response I have received is if you don't have an honorable discharge, kiss your dreams goodbye. I have tried turning my life around but see no point in continuing my education if it would never amount to crap.

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KenDowns
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Re: How much should I be worried about a background check?

Post by KenDowns » Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:19 pm

Rucifer, I hope I can give you some encouragement, as it is probably not as black as it seems.

From a purely practical standpoint, the smaller the company you go to, the less likely there is to be a background check. I don't know what line of work you are looking to go into, or what you intend to study, but this general rule holds true across many industries. Obviously you would probably not go knocking at Homeland Security, and there will be other doors that are closed, but don't let that cloud your ability to find the doors that are open - of which I promise there are many.

Also from a practical standpoint realize that after a period of time your employment history becomes who you are, the older something is the less it matters. Getting the first job is tough for all of us, but you build from there.

What I am saying is not mere theory, it is my experience. I took a contract position 2 years ago, and in January I came on as an employee. Since this is the internet and I use my real name I'm going to keep this vague, but let's just say I had to tell them about something in my background that I was not proud of. Like your case it was not murder or anything horrible, but a definite black mark on what I felt was otherwise a good record. The person running the check said, "because you told me (instead of my finding it out), and it was quite awhile ago, I cannot see how it can possibly be a problem." And it wasn't.

A good friend of mine (who benches over 400#! (and who cannot believe I now lift)) was discharged honorably and became a Physical Therapist. During that career he made some serious missteps (not on the job), worse than what you mention, and lost his license as a PT which he can never get back. That was a long time ago and he's been gainfully employed ever since he got his head out of the blackness that had led to the mistakes. He cannot be a PT, but he still helps people, he always has and he always will. He's a great guy and he brings cheer everywhere he goes.

To wrap up on a mushy note, my friend the PT is a *mild* case of some of the life turnarounds I've seen. The world can be cold and some realities cannot be erased, but mercy is abundant in this life, and second chances abound, third chances, and many more. I've gotten more than one myself. I'm sure others will say the same. Take heart, keep up your studies, and just worry about finding that one company that will hire the man in front of them instead of what they see on paper from x years ago. I promise they are out there.

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Re: How much should I be worried about a background check?

Post by Jungledoc » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:45 pm

I'd especially second what Ken said about being honest with a prospective employer. If they hear it from you, they are more likely to cut you a little slack. If they find out otherwise, they will feel deceived, and that will actually be 2 black marks against your name in their mind. It will also depend on what your responsibilities would be. Don't expect someone to give you a position of trust handling large amounts of case, etc., at least not at first. You can earn increasing trust over the years.
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Re: How much should I be worried about a background check?

Post by robt-aus » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:18 pm

my answer to all your questions is 'depends'. depends on the employer, depends on the job, depends on you. there's no single response. i echo Ken's experience about disclosure in background checks. one of their purposes is to find omissions - explaining what you learned from your past is more fun than explaining why something significant wasn't mentioned . when thinking about my experiences i remember some people have done the same, some will have done worse, most will understand and a whole lot just won't care. continue your education because you've got today and tomorrow. yesterday is done.

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Re: How much should I be worried about a background check?

Post by jlmoss » Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:58 am

What Robt said... and everyone else for that matter...

Background check will find the discharge, so you might as well divulge it during the interview. Most employers really only worry about the outcome. For instance... What did you learn from or take away from the experience? Do you apply that experience/what you've learned to benefit you and others around you? You can put a positive spin on almost anything.

From personal experience, or at least the interviews that I had to sit in on during my time at Sprint, I was worried about only two things...

1.) What was learned from the prospects previous experiences. Could be good or bad experiences.
2.) Were they able to constructively apply what was learned to the job or situation at hand in an effective way that benefitted them and others around them.

Those two things showed 1 - critical thinking skills, 2 - motivation to actually make their position better in turn making the company or whatever they are working for better, 3 - a degree of common sense

Todays work force is filled with complacent and unmotivated people, at least in the ground level that it's a pita to even get the baseline work completed by employees without some 'hands on' management. Most employers would be thrilled to take on any employee that exhibits the above three abilities/skills that they won't care about your previous history or experience.

So, sit down, think about the situation, what you learned from it, and how you positively applied it to your life to better yourself. When you get into the interview, touch on the offense briefly then quickly transition to the learned lessons & how you applied those lessons.

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Proper Knob
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Re: How much should I be worried about a background check?

Post by Proper Knob » Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:57 am

I found myself in a similar position last October. I started teaching drums at a school, a requirement of the position was that i had to undergo and pass a Criminal Record Background Check (CRB). Because i was going to be teaching children one on one, my CRB check was going to be thorough. I was arrested three times in my late teens and as a result had three cautions on my record, i don't 'officially' have a criminal record as i have never been convicted of a crime, but alas somewhere these cautions are on file.

Anyway, i disclosed when i had to sign the appropriate forms at the school i had these cautions on my record. The ladies response - 'Good for you, at least some of us have lived' or words to that effect. When the CRB check came back there was nothing on it anyway.

Tell the truth. We make mistakes, we are after all only mere fallible humans.
What if the Hokey Cokey really IS what it's all about?

Oscar_Actuary
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Re: How much should I be worried about a background check?

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:53 pm

1. Stay in school I don't need anymore competition. There are no jobs for you!
2. Being in the Millitary is pretty honorable to start. I'd discount quite a few transgressions, but that's just me
3. You can always work for the mafia, as a fence

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