Employers who perform background checks are not just looking for criminal histories and they are not simply trying to invade your privacy. There are many things that they can find out about you that could possibly affect your job performance, but they wouldn't typically appear on a job application or on your resume. In some cases, the information that is on your resume or application is being verified.

Business owners will sometimes check your claims. They often verify the information that your provide to them. For example, if your resume states that you graduated from a certain university on a certain year, they can have educational records checked to verify this information. Other information such as previous employment or salary may also be checked. Be honest, since discrepancies could count against you.

Criminal histories are also checked, particularly in jobs that require involvement with children, the elderly, large sums of money, law enforcement, or jobs that provide access to the personal information of clients such as insurance providers. Background checks are used to determine whether or not items on your record will affect your job performance or compromise the security or reputation of the company.

Your credit history may be a part of the background check that the company runs. Employers may use this information to judge how well you maintain commitments, your consistency in following agreements, and your overall responsibility. Naturally, positions that require you to handle money or financial accounts may look at your credit report.

If you received worker's compensation in the past, this might appear on your record. This might be considered if the injury occurred while performing a similar type of job. Employers can not legally refuse to hire you due to a disability or due to an injury that is unrelated to the work that you would perform on the position that you are applying for.

Overall, business owners are looking into your honesty, your track record, your reliability and anything that would affect your job performance at their company.

Originally published May 17, 2011 10:09 AM