What can make you fail a background check

There are various things that can make you fail a background check. Perhaps you have a criminal record that has not been sealed or expunged. Maybe you don’t have the documentation to prove that you’ve lived in the United States for the past seven years, as is required for many jobs. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to understand what could potentially prevent you from securing employment. By knowing what to look out for, you can take steps to correct any potential issues before applying for a job.

Here are some things that could make you fail an employment background check:

Not enough experience

This is one of the most common reasons why people fail background checks. Suppose you’re applying for a job that requires several years of relevant work history but only has a couple of years’ worth of experience. In that case, this can automatically make you appear like you don’t meet the standard requirements. The best way to combat this issue is, to be honest about your amount of experience and highlight all relevant accomplishments on your resume.

Character-related issues 

Criminal records, credit problems, and poor references can all prevent you from getting hired. It’s important to understand exactly what might be shared in these types of reports and take steps to clear any potential issues before applying for a job. Sometimes, it’s best to get ahead of certain situations, such as DUIs or DWIs. Sometimes admitting to it in an interview and explaining yourself will help you in the long run. 

Poor references 

If you’ve worked with anyone in the past who isn’t willing to vouch for you as a person or an employee, it could be detrimental to your job search. That’s why it’s so important to take great care of those relationships while employed at any given company. Having said that, if someone doesn’t call back after promising they would provide a reference, don’t get too worried about it. While this is typically very rare, some people simply change their minds for whatever reason.  

Having more than one job 

For most jobs, it’s ideal to only have one active position at a time. Having more than one side-job can actually make you appear like an unreliable candidate because if you’re working two jobs, the chances are that you aren’t putting enough effort into either company. It’s also likely that your free time is limited, which means that it may be hard for potential employers to set up face-to-face interviews with you. If this is the case, try taking on fewer hours somewhere else until you find steady employment or try negotiating with your current employer to take on additional responsibilities. 

Not Having a High School Diploma 

While some positions do not require a college degree, many of the best ones typically have a certain level of education. Obtaining your GED can help prove that you’re willing to work hard and set a good example for your future children. Once you’ve finished this process, it’ll be much easier to find a well-paying position where you can make an impact. If you don’t have time for this kind of thing, try thinking about why anyone would want to hire someone without at least one type of certification or diploma in their possession.

Employment gaps 

If companies notice employment gaps on your resume, they may become suspicious about where all that time went off from work. While it’s completely OK to take a few months or even years off every once in a while, it’s important to make sure that you have a solid reason for doing so. For example, going back to school shows that you’re willing to put in the work and add more value to an organization with your newly acquired skills. Also, while it might be tempting to try and hide gaps with fake references from relatives, this can always come back to bite you when they mention what year you stopped calling them after being presented with the facts by a future employer who did their research.

Job-related issues 

Not meeting certain physical requirements or not having a professional license for certain jobs are some reasons why people fail background checks all the time. These are things that applicants should keep in mind when applying for a potential position. For example, if you’re applying for a role with heavy lifting but don’t meet the requirement of being able to lift 60 pounds without assistance, this could be grounds for disqualification. If you know there is something that may potentially prevent you from securing employment, consider finding other options. Look for similar roles that you may qualify for. For example, if you can’t work as a mechanic because you don’t have all of the licenses but are able to only perform oil changes, apply for those types of positions instead.


By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll be able to secure employment much more easily than you would without taking action. If you aren’t eligible for certain positions or don’t possess the right qualifications, consider working toward them so that you can achieve your career goals in the future.

Ajay Deep

Ajay Deep is the brain behind Coworking Mag. He founded this website to help startups and aspiring entrepreneurs find a coworking space in their city. He is a successful entrepreneur who started and scaled a bunch of startups – all from shared office spaces. He has visited hundreds of coworking spaces in different countries and is now an investor in this evergrowing idea of developing new coworking spaces. You may reach Ajay Deep at [email protected]
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