Can You Pass a Background Check?

July 30, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Gainesville, VA – According to Spherion Corporation’s latest Workforce Study, 79 percent of respondents say they now run background checks on prospective employees and over half say they've increased their use of the pre-employment screening tool in the last five years.

“Preparing for a background check is as important today as updating your resume. The best candidate in the world won’t get hired if he doesn’t pass the background check,” says Jan Maxwell, author of A Job Hunter’s Secret Weapon: How to Survive a Background Check and Get the Job You Really Want! (

Almost five million background checks were run in 2005, and about half of them found discrepancies in the information provided on job applications.

“Many candidates don’t realize that companies use their job applications, rather than their resumes, to run a background check,” says Maxwell. “A job application asks for a lot of detailed information that’s not on a resume, and a candidate needs to make sure that everything can be verified. If a hiring company finds discrepancies, lies, or unexplained employment gaps on a candidate’s job application, he won’t get hired.”

Maxwell offers five tips for filling out a job application that will sail through pre-employment screening:

•Tell the truth – Nothing will take you out of consideration faster than lying.

•Be neat – Your mother may be able to read your handwriting, but she’s not the one checking your background. If you can type your application, do it. If not, print clearly.

•Be complete – Provide as much employment and education history as you can fit on the application. Spell out company and school names. Supply a complete address and phone number for every employer that you list, and make sure the information is up-to-date.

•Account for your time – Hiring companies don’t like to see unexplained gaps in your employment. If the time between jobs is three months or more, let them know what you were doing.

•Prep your references – Make sure they’re willing to speak on your behalf, find out when and where they want to be contacted, and let them know what skills and attributes you’d like them to talk about.

“It’s a good idea to contact your former employers to make sure your records are available,” says Maxwell. “It’s surprising how many employment records are not where they’re supposed to be. If you find that your records are missing, or if a former employer has gone out of business, you need to prepare an alternate way to verify that information.”

A Job Hunter’s Secret Weapon: How to Survive a Background Check and Get the Job You Really Want! is the first book that shows job applicants how to prepare themselves for a background check. Using real-life examples, the author explains how to fill out each section of a job application so every piece of information can be verified.

The book is available as a downloadable PDF or on CD. It can be purchased at, where applicants can also read the book’s Table of Contents and a sample chapter. The ebook normally retails for $12.95, but summer job applicants can purchase it for $9.95 through August 31st.

Jan Maxwell is a freelance writer whose work has appeared online and in print publications such as Northern Virginia Magazine and Experience. She spent eighteen years as a pre-employment screener and saw many qualified applicants fail to get hired because the information on their applications had holes and discrepancies or was impossible to verify.

Book Name: A Job Hunter’s Secret Weapon: How to Survive a Background Check and Get the Job You Really Want!

Publisher: Purple Ink Press

Format: Ebook (PDF), CD

Length: 164 pages

ISBN: 0-9779383-0-1

Released: 05/16/06