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Can Background Checks Show Employment History?

If you are worried about whether an employer background check will show up your whole employment history, this article is for you. We explain exactly what employment information a background check can reveal, offer advice on how to use this information to your advantage, and recommend the best sites to use to check what your own records has to show. 

Background Checks Show Employment History

Most people have come across background checks when applying for a new job. These days it is common practice for a company to run a background check on a prospective employee before offering them a job.

But not everyone is clear about what information an employer background check will show. In particular, we are often asked whether such a check will reveal details about their employment history.

In this article, we will explain whether background checks reveal employment histories, what information they do contain, how you can find out what your own background check might reveal by running one on yourself, and which is the best background checking site to do this.

What do employers look for in a background check?

This question is rather like asking how long is a piece of string? There is no definite answer and there are an awful lot of variables.

The main source of information on your employment record will be your resume. But this is a document that you write yourself so it could contain any information you want to put on it. Regardless of what type of job you are applying for, most employers will do a little research into your previous employer. This is likely to involve contacting a reference to check the veracity of the claims you have made on your resume and to get an insight into the type of employee you are.

RELATED READING: Are you working with a criminal? Here’s how to find out

Assuming this information checks out, some employers will accept the rest of your resume without question. But if you are applying for a senior job or a job with special responsibilities (for example if you want to work with children) the chances are they will look back further.

This is where a background check will come into effect. But, the truth is there is no single data source that lists your entire employment history. The information that a background check will pull together on your employment history will come from various other sources. For example, if you have a LinkedIn account or have posted a resume online in the past, the chances are that it will be found. This information will often be a full account of your employment history including the role you held, how much you earned, and why you left.

If you have only ever had a handful of jobs, the likelihood is that a background check will have a complete rundown. If you switch jobs regularly, there may be some gaps, but it is safe to assume they will get most of them.

Pre employment background check, what shows up?

If you want to find out what information about your employment history could end up in the hands of your future boss, running a highly accurate background check on yourself is actually an extremely good idea. It will give you a good idea of what information is out there about you, so you can avoid the risk of misleading your future boss, inadvertently or otherwise, and being caught doing so.

There are two different types of background checking sites out there. A consumer background checking site is what employers mostly use as they are certified as being compliant with all the various laws and regulations that bosses have to comply with.

But there are also public background checking sites that will deliver most of the same information and in some cases more. These are sites that anyone can use in exchange for a small fee (we recommend against using free background checking sites for safety reasons).

Dig into your employment history

We’ve spent a lot of time testing out the various background checking sites with an eye towards revealing crucial employment details, and have determined the following services to be the fastest, most accurate, and overall best bang for your buck:

1. BeenVerified

BeenVerified - Editors choice

BeenVerified is the best background checking site on the market at the moment. It delivers comprehensive, detailed, and accessible reports and has a fantastic record for accuracy. Even with a minimal amount of information, BeenVerified will find out a huge amount about almost anyone.

The information it digs up is presented in an easy-to-read report and you can manage all your searches through either their desktop dashboard or dedicated apps for iOS and Android devices. All of this software is well-designed and really intuitive to use.

A BeenVerified subscription will set you back $22.86 per month. If you want to save more you can sign up for three months and pay just $14.86 per month. With a responsive customer support team on hand to deal with any problems, there is no-one you can’t run a successful background check on with BeenVerified.

BEST BACKGROUND CHECKS: BeenVerified provides a comprehensive look into your public record at an outstanding price. Get it for less with our exclusive reader discount.

2. TruthFinder

TruthFinder - Editors choice

TruthFinder has a remarkable record for generating accurate results. Even if you input information that is wrong or misleading, TruthFinder will navigate its way through and pull together results that are both comprehensive and correct.

You can see this process in motion through a really nicely-designed desktop dashboard. Or if you prefer you can also manage things through TruthFinder’s impressive apps. With final reports that are also great to look at and easy to follow, TruthFinder really is one of the most user-friendly sites we have tested. It’s quite affordable too, at just $27.78 per month, or $23.02 monthly when you sign up for 2 months at a time.

If you do encounter any issues or have any questions, there is also a fantastic support team on standby. They can be contacted around the clock and using a toll-free number, so it doesn’t cost you a penny more to get help. With prices that are competitive in any case, TruthFinder is a great background checking site if you want to be sure the information you get back is right.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Looking for deep insight into your own public record? Try TruthFinder, one of the industry titans. Get the service with our generous reader discount.

3. Instant CheckMate

Instant Checkmate - Editors choice

Instant CheckMate is one of the fastest background checking sites on the market. Out of all the sites we tested, they were able to turn around a search and generate accurate results in the most consistently fast times. These results aren’t just cobbled together either. They are presented in a well-thought-through and easy-to-follow report.

The Instant CheckMate desktop dashboard is neat and really simple to navigate. The cellphone apps are also very impressive and can be downloaded onto Android and iOS devices. With a great support team that is easily accessible, Instant CheckMate offers another impressive all-round service.

Instant CheckMate will cost you $34.78 per month or you can pay $27.82 for a three-month subscription. It is not the cheapest site out there but if you need to get results fast and want to be able to trust them, you can do a lot worse.

About background checking services

A background check is an online service that searches through all publicly available records about an individual to compile various different bits of information about that person into a single report.

It often comes as a huge surprise to people just how much data and information about them is held in the public domain. In the pre-digital era, it was less noticeable because the time and effort involved in finding it all made compiling such reports impractical. But now public records have largely been digitized, it is much easier to pull information from lots of different sources together extremely quickly.

Among the data that a background check can find is your employment history but this will depend to an extent on what you do and what information you have put in the public domain yourself. More on that later, but other things a background check can throw up includes:

  • Criminal records (state, county, and city)
  • Education history (high school and college)
  • Financial records
  • Credit history
  • Work authorizations
  • Driving record
  • License details
  • Social media profiles

Individually, most of these records don’t tell you a great deal about a person. But when it is all combined, it can give a pretty accurate insight into their lives and the type of person they are.

What are these checks generally used for?

This can be useful to a lot of different people and organizations for all sorts of different reasons. Some of the common reasons people run background checks include:

  • Employer checksEmployers often like to run background checks on applicants before offering them a role. It allows them to check the veracity of what they have claimed on their resume and in interviews and also check that there is nothing on their record that they have tried to keep secret. This will often include checking their previous employment records and approaching former employers for references.
  • Criminal checks – A background check offers a quick and simple way for you to find out if someone you know is hiding a secret criminal past. It is quite reasonable to want to know if someone in your life could pose a threat to you and, of course, people with a criminal record rarely like to broadcast the fact.
  • Tracking down a lost family member or friend – We all have someone from our past that we would like to get back in touch with. Whether it is a lost love, an old schoolfriend or an estranged family member, a background check offers you a quick and easy way to track someone down, find out about their life, and re-establish contact.
  • Looking into someone’s past – If you have someone in your life or your neighborhood that you find a bit suspicious or you have a bad feeling about, a background check is the perfect way to find out if your suspicions were right or if you are making a lot of fuss about nothing.
  • Checking your own records – If you want to avoid any unpleasant surprises when applying for a job or to rent a house, it is a very good idea to run a background check on yourself. It will tell you what information about yourselfis out there and give you a pretty good idea of what a prospective employer or landlord might find. It will also give you the chance to do something about it before anyone else finds out.

What should you tell a prospective employer about your employment history?

Everyone exaggerates a little on their resume. Most employers expect it. But there is a line between emphasizing how important you were in a job and being misleading.

A general rule that most people should stick by when writing a resume and talking to a prospective employer about their former jobs, is honesty is the best policy. A little light exaggeration here and there is fine but don’t go overboard because the chances are that a reference or a background check could catch you out.

Being caught lying is far worse than having something on your resume that you aren’t too proud of. It is much easier to explain why you left a former job in a positive way than it is to explain why you tried to mislead your new boss.

Equally, if you do lie about your employment past and get away with it, you will spend all the time in your new job worrying about when the lie might catch up with you. Most companies have confirmed that they are more likely to sack someone who lied on their resume than not hire them on the basis of their previous work experiences.

Most references do not go into a huge amount of detail when providing a reference. Most background checks will reveal core information without too much additional detail too.

A new employer might see details of your job title, final salary, and why you left. Often, that will be it. In that situation, it is far better to give a good explanation as to why you left rather than pretend it was for something else.

Running an advanced background check on yourself can give you an idea of what your new employer might find and also give you time to shape an explanation of anything you aren’t too proud of. It is a sensible and wise precaution to take.


Background checks will show employment history but there is no single source for this information so sometimes it may have gaps or just include basic information. More often than not though, a background check will provide a full account of your previous employment record.

This is enough of a reason to be honest with a prospective employer as you don’t want to be caught out lying or misleading them. It is far better to check what shows on your background check, using one of the public services we have recommended, and then craft an explanation of anything on your employment record you are not too proud of?

Have you had a job application blocked by an employment background check? Have you had to talk your way around a gap or a misleading statement on your resume? It is always helpful for our readers to hear the real-life experiences of others to help inform their own decision, so why not share yours today using the comment box below?

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