California Background Checks FAQ

If you're job searching or are an employer in California, one of the things you will have to worry about is the background check. Businesses will want to do their due diligence to ensure they are hiring upstanding people who will represent their business well. Those searching for employment might be worried about what their background checks might reveal about them. Here, you'll find everything you need to know about background checks in the state of California.

Can You Pass a Background Check With a Felony?

The short answer is yes. Of course, this will be up to the employer. Some employers have a soft spot for people with a troublesome past, while others might see things differently. However, there is a reason why this is a clear yes.

In the state of California, any arrests on your record can only appear on your record for seven years. This goes for background checks of all kinds, from renting property to employment. On top of that, California's "ban the box" laws prevent any place of hiring from inquiring about your criminal history.

So, if you are worried about passing a background check, it's best to look into how long it has been since your last conviction. If it has been more than seven years, you have no worries about any job you may seek.

What Information Will an Employer Gain in a Background Check?

Employers look at all sorts of things when they conduct a background check. They want to verify your identity before they hire someone who will invest a good amount of money into training and, ideally, having with the company for a long time. Some of the things they look for include:

  • Employment verification: An employer will want to talk to past employers to learn more about your work ethic and reliability. This is why it is always good to have two or three references for your hiring manager to contact. The more references you have who will vouch for you as a good worker, the better your chance of a solid interview background.
  • Education verification: It's not common, but there certainly are people who lie about their educational history on resumes, and plenty of businesses have been burnt by it in the past. This is one of the reasons that interview backgrounds exist. Your employer wants to ensure that you are the real deal.
  • Driving record: This will primarily concern those looking for a job that involves driving, but it could also affect those looking for high-earning jobs in the corporate world. Your hiring manager will be looking for anything like DUIs or suspensions. Remember, an employee represents the company, and a company might not be interested in you if your record doesn't represent them well.
  • Drugs: Employers are entitled to perform a drug test on prospective employees.

How Long Does a Background Check Take?

This depends on the type of records a hiring manager hopes to obtain. For minimal checks, they can be completed in minutes. These background checks are unlikely to include any or all of the abovementioned things, such as employment verification, education verification, driving record, or drug history. Instead, they will just be used to ensure you are who you say you are—a simple ID should be good enough for this type of check.

Higher-earning jobs could have background checks that last for much longer. The same is true for government jobs. These background checks could take anywhere from weeks to months. If you are applying for a job that will likely have a thorough background check, you must give them all information that is asked for. This is simply for quickness, as any missed information could make the background check take much longer.

Can an Employer Ask About Past Salaries?

Under California law, employers cannot ask about past salaries, especially for hiring or setting their remuneration.

If you have questions about background checks in California or want to learn more, please contact Krogh & Decker today.


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