What is a Criminal Background Check?

By: Staff Writer September 14, 2012
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Depending on the type of job that you're applying for, you may be required to pass a criminal background check as part of the application process. Background checks may be state or federally mandated, or part of company policy.

Possible Information Contained In Criminal Record Check

Depending on the extent of the criminal background check, it may contain some or all of the following information:

  • Criminal records. Depending on the job, any type of criminal history may be viewed as an immediate red flag.
  • Arrest history and jail time.
  • Sex offender records.
  • Legal presence. Some jobs, due to security concerns, may be limited to U.S. citizens. Under pressure from the Department of Homeland Security, many employers now use background screening to confirm the legal status of all applicants.
  • Litigation records. This allows potential employers to check if you have a history of filing discrimination lawsuits.
  • Driving records. Your chances for getting hired will dim if you have a checkered driving record full of traffic violations (speeding tickets, DUI, reckless driving convictions...). This bears especially true for jobs that require driving.

Driving Jobs That May Require Background Checks

  • Bus drivers: This will depend on your state or municipality. Applicants with criminal records in most cases will be rejected.
  • Commercial drivers: Federal law requires all HAZMAT drivers (hazardous waste) to pass an extensive criminal record check, which does include fingerprinting. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) conducts these checks. In addition to studying an applicant's criminal record for specific felonies (murder, espionage, treason...) the TSA also researches an applicant's mental capacity, and whether he or she poses as a threat to national transportation security.

NOTE: If the TSA declares you ineligible for a hazardous materials endorsement, you may apply for a waiver. Check with your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for more information.

Do you have any experience with background checks?

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