What Can You Do to Disqualify Yourself from a Background Check?

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By Sachin Aggarwal, Board of Directors Member at PBSA & NASSCOM member

Perhaps you have not given a thought to things that can disqualify in a background check, while seeking employment. Here is a list that will help you stay away from those actions!

A pre-employment background check can disqualify an applicant for a job in many ways. These include a criminal history, claiming more education than your actual level, having a poor driving or credit record, falsifying employment records, failing a drug screen, and having a criminal conviction. Below are details for each of these red flag problems.

A Criminal Record

According to the National Conference of State Legislators, an estimated 77,000,000 Americans have criminal records that can be used for background checks.

The factors that determine whether an applicant is disqualified from employment due to a criminal history will vary. These include the job that he or she applied for, the regulations applicable to the industry, as well as other factors. Sometimes, discrimination based on a criminal record can be grounds for denying someone employment.

Fluffing Educational History

Some applicants attempt to embellish their resumes by claiming qualifications that they did not receive. This is a bad idea. An employer may request education verification to verify the applicant’s degree, diploma, certificate, school attended and dates of attendance.

Having Poor Credit

Some industries may check applicants’ credit records. To obtain federal security clearances, or to work at financial institutions, applicants might have their credit history checked. Employers may not be able to rely upon credit history information in certain states when making employment decisions.


An employer may request a credit report on a candidate if it is required or allowed. If the employer finds problems, it might be a sign that the employer has concerns about the applicant’s financial responsibility and integrity.

A Poor Driving Record

Driving records checks are often required for applicants who apply to jobs that require them to drive company vehicles or commercial trucks. Employers can use this type of check to verify that applicants have the necessary driver’s licenses and are insured through their commercial insurance companies. A candidate for a job that requires driving may be disqualified. Employers could face legal and insurance consequences if the applicant causes an accident on the job.

Falsification of past employment information

Employers often request employment verification to verify that applicants have worked at the same employer and held the exact positions they claim. Employers will not hire candidates if they discover that a candidate has falsified previous employment information.

Failure to pass a pre-employment drug test

Employers could be held responsible for the actions of their employees who use illegal drugs. Employers can request pre-employment drug testing to determine if a candidate has used illegal substances. This information can be used by the employer to make a negative hiring decision.


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