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Will a Background Check Show Full Employment History?

Your employment history can reveal a great deal about your reliability, skills and work ethic. It’s natural to wonder how thoroughly a pre-employment background check will delve into your past jobs.

At Global Investigations, we provide professional background screening services that comply with all legal requirements. Here’s a look at what these checks typically uncover about your employment history and what potential employers can see.

What Employment Details Do Background Checks Investigate?

A standard employment background check will confirm basic details such as:

  • Positions held – Job titles and companies worked for.
  • Employment dates – Hire date and termination/resignation date.
  • Reason for leaving – Whether you were fired, laid off, or resigned.
  • Location – Geographic area and office addresses for previous employers.

Additional details that may be verified include:

  • Salary information and pay rates.
  • Eligibility for rehire status.
  • Total tenure and gaps between jobs.
  • Explanations for employment gaps.
  • Client lists, responsibilities, and achievements.
  • Performance reviews and disciplinary records.
  • Professional qualifications and specialised skills.

Table showing example employment history data that may be checked:

EmployerPositionStart DateEnd DateReason for Leaving
ABC CorpSales ManagerMarch 2010August 2016Resigned
XYZ LLCAccount ExecutiveOctober 2016PresentCurrently Employed

How Far Back Do Employment Background Checks Go?

Most checks go back 7-10 years in your work history. Some key factors on lookback period include:

  • Relevance – Recent roles more directly related to the sought position are prioritised.
  • Seniority – More extensive history reviewed for senior management roles.
  • Industry – Some fields like financial services have longer lookback standards.
  • Location – International checks may have limitations accessing foreign records.
  • Time constraints – Faster checks may limit history review for efficiency.
  • Self-disclosure – Applicant-provided details supplement official records.
  • Red flags – Suspicious gaps or terminations prompt deeper lookback.

For key positions, some employers reserve the right to review your full lifetime work history.

Examples of how timeline factors into background checks:

  • Applying for a 2022 accounting job – Prior accountant roles, education, and any red flags in the last 7-10 years will be prioritised. Details before 2012 are less relevant.
  • Seeking senior executive position – Full career history will be thoroughly reviewed, including early roles and achievements to assess long-term performance.

Can You Exclude Past Employers from Background Checks?

Employers rely on your background check being complete and accurate. However, there are options if you wish to minimise inclusion of certain past jobs:

  • Omit short-term jobs of less than six months that are less relevant.
  • Focus on highlighting the most applicable experiences tailored to the role.
  • Explain any resume gaps or omissions honestly if questioned.
  • Remain upfront but general if asked about difficult terminations.
  • Emphasise stellar references from more recent positions.
  • Note major achievements and skills gained since any past issues.
  • Research company policies – some allow candidates to request limited history review.
  • Consult an attorney to understand rights in limiting disclosure.

Example of emphasising selective work history:

For a 2022 software developer role, focus background check on software jobs from 2012-2022 and omit brief retail jobs in 2009-2011 unrelated to the position.

How to Explain Problems in Your Employment History

If there are issues like terminations, lawsuits, or controversies in your work history, proactively addressing them can help mitigate concerns:

  • Be transparent when explaining the context without getting defensive.
  • Accept responsibility for any mistakes made and show remorse.
  • Highlight the insights you’ve gained and how you have grown.
  • Share any remedial steps like training, counselling or education.
  • Note positive performance and relationships in subsequent roles.
  • Offer references who can attest to your strengths and improvements.
  • Have a redemption story showing how you turned things around.
  • If charges were involved, know the legal details and outcome.
  • Seek expert advice on legally exercising your rights.

Example explanation:

“I was let go from ABC Corp in 2016 due to an internal policy violation. This taught me how important integrity is, and since then I have taken ethics courses and maintained a spotless record.”

For Legally Compliant Background Checks, Choose Global Investigations

A background check can provide employers with valuable insights into your qualifications, reliability and potential fit for the role. At Global Investigations, our screening services help ensure your employment history is presented fairly while protecting your privacy. Contact us today to learn more.

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