Have you ever wondered what information is laying around about you? In the modern digital world, we have more access to information than ever before, but we also have the capacity to leak bits of information about ourselves that we may not want the whole world knowing.
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Unfortunately, spur of the moment social media posts can turn out to be incriminating, whether you’re looking for a new flatshare or a new job. The best way to check out what information potential employers and roommates have access to is by conducting a background check on yourself.
By running a background check on yourself, you can access a wealth of information and prepare yourself for various eventualities.
Top 5 Reasons for Running a Background Check on Yourself
1. Challenging Inaccuracies
While we like to believe that law enforcement agencies are somehow more perfect than the rest of us, there’s inevitably going to be a few instances of human error, even in the police service. By doing a background check on yourself, you can get access to all the public records pertaining to you and your life, including state and federal court documents. Once all this information is in your possession, you can sift through and find any inaccuracies or other issues that might arise and diminish your chances of getting a new job or a new roommate.
What few people realize is that, you’ve ever been arrested, even if no charges were brought against you, that arrest will still show on your record and be accessible to potential employers who probably won’t welcome such information with open arms. Many people are under the misapprehension that, if there are no charges, then there is no criminal record, but that isn’t the case. If you’ve been arrested, there’s automatically a criminal record with your name on it and you have to complete a request form in order to get that record expunged.
This is why running a background check on yourself can improve your chances at a job interview, for example. Once you’re aware of an old arrest lingering like a skeleton in the closet, you can fill in the necessary paperwork to get it expunged and present a squeaky clean past to your potential employer instead.
2. Understanding the Process
Knowing that you’re going to be the subject of an employer or landlord’s background check can be rather daunting, especially if you don’t really understand what that means. Familiarizing yourself with the industry and the processes it uses will make the experience somewhat less terrifying. Furthermore, some of us are tempted to believe that a background check is similar to putting someone’s name into a search engine. It’s not.
While a Google search, for example, will only rifle through publicly-accessible records, a background check performed by a reputable company will go through additional sources that are password protected or that charge an access fee. Background check companies like BeenVerified and TruthFinder access physical documents as well as digital information, in some cases, even sending a runner to court to collect the report in person.
Another important factor is that many people, upon being informed that they failed a background check, will just leave it at that when, in fact, they have every right to dispute the data that’s been unearthed. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives every potential employee the right to query the results of a background check and only after that process has been completed can the employer consider withdrawing the job offer. Knowledge is power, remember?
3. Considering Your Options
Let’s face it, if you have a poor credit rating, the chance of you getting a job in financial management are seriously limited. Of course, if you don’t run a background check on yourself, you won’t necessarily be aware of exactly what your financial history is saying about you. By looking into your own past as thoroughly as a potential employer might, you’re arming yourself with important information that can impact positively on how you present yourself at interview.
Being able to anticipate any awkward questions that may arise regarding your employment history, for example, will mean you can prepare your answers and present yourself in a more positive light.
Similarly, if you’re looking for a place to rent and have a background check report to hand, you can check to see whether you meet the minimum standards for renting that property. If you don’t, you can save yourself both hassle and application fees by not applying. Furthermore, a landlord’s choice of background check company might not be as good as yours and the resulting report could contain inaccuracies that can be explained.
Up to date knowledge of your credit and criminal background give you the potential to prove your suitability as either a tenant or an employee.
4. Set Yourself Up for Success
A background check will not only expose all aspects of your criminal and financial past, it will also pull up data about your education, places you’ve lived, and your social media profiles and activity. By doing your own background check, you can find out what features of your past might throw up a red flag for a potential employer, landlord, or roommate.
Many of us post on social media without really thinking about it, but how you present yourself on Twitter or Instagram could impact on your job prospects. For example, if you have posted nasty remarks about a previous coworker or liked a comment that was considered racist, this could pose problems for your career. Once again, knowledge is power, and once you’ve identified the offending posts, you can set about getting them removed and give yourself a clean slate… just make sure it’s not too clean!
While you may want to remove that footage of you dancing on the bar and doing body shots off the barman, you shouldn’t be too hasty with the delete button. According to Forbes, a social media profile that’s without character or two bland can be just as damning as one with racy selfies scattered all over it. Apparently, employers view a squeaky-clean profile as one that’s probably been “scraped of some racy stuff or else the person has no social skills and won’t fit in”.
Even more importantly, changes within the job market indicate that it’s moving away from a situation where an individual finds a job, to one in which the job finds the person. In other words, employers are looking at online profiles and resumes to effectively headhunt the right person for the position, therefore having a professional web presence gives you a better chance of being found.
5. Competitive Edge
Securing a good job in today’s market is far from easy and getting a resume together that’s going to catch the right people’s attention takes years of dedication. From your results at school to your preferences and hobbies, every aspect of your life is put under the microscope.
Technology has changed the whole working environment, and employers are now looking for candidates with strong communication skills, who’ll work effectively in a team, and be open to change and adaptation. Rather than looking for an individual with a specific skill, employers are increasingly looking for people who will fit into the culture of the company and be open to training and development.
A background check will give you a good idea of how you appear to employers and what areas you may need to focus on to improve your prospects. For example, if your communication skills have been criticized in a reference from a previous employer, you could enroll in a workshop or course to prove that you’re working on that area. This creates a much more positive first impression.
Now that you’re fully aware of just how useful a background check can be, you’re probably on the brink of looking for a company that can give you the kind of detailed report you need to stay ahead of the game. We figured that might happen so we’ve done a bit of research and come up with the best background check companies for getting a comprehensive report about yourself.
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Top Background Check Companies for Self-Analysis
BeenVerified produces some of the most comprehensive background check reports available which are why, if you’re interested in doing a background check on yourself, this should be your first port of call. After all, there’s no point in getting a cheaper report that will only tell you half the story if you want to prepare for battle with a landlord who has the full story.
A background check report from BeenVerified is not only thorough, but it also presents the information in a comprehensible and logical manner, making it easy for you to pinpoint the most important pieces of data. BeenVerified will not only access phone directories and property databases in their quest to unearth all your secrets but will also dig through county and court records, bankruptcy records, felony records and many more.
The only real problem with BeenVerified is that you can’t purchase a single report, you have to commit to a subscription of at least one month. That’s fine if you want to check out a potential love interest or a new neighbor as well as checking out yourself, but if you only want to run a background check on yourself, it’s not ideal. Having said that, BeenVerified’s prices are competitive and, given the quality of the report, it’s probably worth splashing out on a full month’s subscription.
Read more about BeenVerified in our extensive review.
If its accuracy you’re after, TruthFinder is a decent option, although its results can be inconsistent and vary more from person to person than, for example, BeenVerified’s results. Obviously, if you’re running a background check on yourself, you have the advantage of being able to enter a full range of search indicators, which will narrow the search and therefore improve accuracy.
As with BeenVerified, to use TruthFinder’s service, you’ll need to sign up for a minimum of a one-month basic plan but, again, this isn’t going to break the bank and if it means you have a better chance of getting that new apartment, it’s probably worth it.
TruthFinder accesses a wide range of public records, from address records all the way through the alphabet to weapons permits. The resulting report arm you with sufficient information that you can tackle your social media profile and get any inaccuracies removed from your criminal or credit history.
TruthFinder offers a reputable service and, if you don’t want to continue using, also make the process of opting out easier than many of its rivals. One feature of TruthFinder’s service that makes it stand out from the crowd is ts Dark Web Scan which enables you to search through the nefarious digital underworld and find out whether your social security number of any other aspect of your personal data is being sold to the highest bidder. In an age when identity theft is on the increase, is this a search you can afford not to do?
Read more about TruthFinder in our extensive review.
One of the best things about PeopleLooker is how current the information is that they include in their reports. That means that you’re viewing everything that’s available, up to your last job and home address. This is reassuring as it means you’re unlikely to get any surprises if someone else runs a background check on you.
Another great feature of PeopleLooker is that, when generating a report, it will highlight potential false matches and allow you to confirm or deny the accuracy of the data. If you say it’s incorrect, the company will ensure it isn’t included in any future reports.
Unfortunately, you can’t by a single report from PeopleLooker so, again, it’s a case of signing up for month’s service, but at least that gives you the chance to look up that ex-boyfriend you lost touch with at college!
PeopleLooker has an app available for Android users so, if your phone’s compatible, you can get the results of your background check direct and refer to them any time you please.
Read more about People Looker in our extensive review.
#4 US Search
Affordable and accurate, US Search produces reports that include details of your work history and social media profiles. Unlike the two background check companies discussed above, US Search offers a more flexible pricing plan which means you can order and pay for a single report, although this is slightly more expensive than a one-month subscription.
Another thing we liked about US Search was that you can view a sample report before ordering so you know exactly what to expect. A comprehensive background check report from US Search will include all your contact information, previous addresses, work history, any bankruptcies, marriages and divorces, state criminal records, and a full review of your social media network.
Armed with this amount of information, presented in a user-friendly format, and you’ll be ready for anything – be it a job interview or a meeting with your potential landlord. Don’t forget, if you’re dating online, potential love interests might also be looking into your past, which is another reason to make sure your background is presenting you both fairly and accurately.
Read more about US Search in our extensive review.
Doing a background check on yourself is inexpensive and informative, giving you the advantage of knowing what potential employers, neighbors, roommates, and lovers all know about you. Running a background check on yourself give you the power to correct any inaccuracies that may be lurking in a public record somehow. It also gives a clear idea of what your online presence says about you so you can remove those posts that might be interfering with your career or future relationships.
The most reputable companies provide background check reports that are accurate and affordable and the results can be ready within a matter of minutes. Not only can a background check report prepare you for an important job interview, but it can also give you access to the Dark Web where your social security could be up for sale. The more you know about what personal information is available about you both digitally and physically, the more able you are to regain control of that data and make sure it reflects the real you in a truthful light.