Don’t Run A Background Check On Yourself

US News and World Report’s Careers blog posted something late last week about background checks.
The idea, according to blogger and entry-level career expert Heather Huhman, is that employers are going to want to run a background check on you, and you can save them time and money, as well as stand out, by doing it for them. There are a few sites out there where jobseekers can input their information and receive a certificate saying that yes, everything you said is true.

Here’s why this is a bad idea.

  • Employers don’t necessarily trust that random site on the Internet you just signed up for. We aren’t saying that a free background check will steal your social security number, but if you were an employer, wouldn’t you be skeptical of the jobseeker who said “No need to check my background, I already did it for you?” Wouldn’t that make you want to dig even deeper to try to find what the candidate was hiding?
  • Maybe that random site is stealing your data. A commenter on Huhman’s post took a look at the privacy policies of a few of the sites that came recommended. One of the sites’ policies explained that people signing up for this service were waiving their rights under the Do Not Call registry; another all but said it was sharing data with its “partners.”

What you certainly could be doing: Checking what comes up in public records searches of you (and in your credit report) to make sure there are no inaccuracies. If that speeding ticket from ten years ago pops up, it’s good to be aware of it so you won’t be caught by surprise when the employer brings it up.

But creating your own background verification? Not worth it.