Can background checks reveal past employers?

If you’re like many job seekers, there may be jobs that didn’t work out for some reason that you’d rather not have on your resume. But if you apply for a job, you may be concerned about what your potential new employer might uncover.

Specifically, if you’re applying somewhere that does background checks, will that reveal the past employer that you left off your resume?

What do background checks reveal?

Often when people think about background checks, the first thing that comes to mind is a criminal history check. But in reality, a background check is a lot more than that.

Depending on what your employer or potential employer checks, it can include any of the following:

  • Criminal records
  • Education history
  • Employment history
  • Civil records
  • References

You may have noticed that one of those items is your employment history. Usually that consists of checking into the work history that you provided on your resume. So if you left something off, it’s unlikely your new company will discover that.

Be warned, however, that they will likely ask you to explain any gaps in your work history.

Can a background check reveal if you were fired?

One reason you might be concerned about a past employer being discovered is because you were fired from a previous position. As already mentioned, if you leave that off your resume, it’s not likely your new company will know.

However, if they do find out about a position, can they discover if you were fired?

In general, most employers will not disclose a lot of details for fear of a defamation lawsuit. Especially if they don’t have anything nice to say for some reason, they will tend not to say much. As a result, they usually only share details that are objective and easily verifiable, like employment dates, job title, job duties, and salary information.

So regardless of why you don’t want a background check revealing your past employer, it’s not very likely that it will.

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