What Does a Background Check Show?

What Does a Background Check Show?

Prospective clients seeking a new background screening provider often ask, “What does a background check show?” Understanding the components and depth of information a background check can reveal is crucial for businesses and organizations aiming to make informed decisions. In this article, we delve into how background checks work, what they typically include, and how entities like EDIFY Background Screening can offer comprehensive, fast, affordable, and FCRA-compliant services.

How Background Checks Work

Background checks involve compiling and reviewing various types of information about an individual to verify their history and qualifications. The process typically includes obtaining consent from the individual, then using both public and private databases to gather relevant data. This can encompass criminal records, employment history, education, credit reports, and more, depending on the depth of the background check required.

Common Components of a Typical Background Check

  • Identify Verification: This typically involves a Social Security trace along with address history and AKA search.
  • Criminal Records: Checks for any criminal history, including felonies, misdemeanors, and, in some cases, pending criminal cases.
  • Employment Verification: Confirms past employment, job titles, and dates of employment.
  • Education Verification: Verifies degrees, diplomas, and certifications claimed by the individual.
  • Credit History: Assesses financial responsibility and history, particularly relevant for positions that involve financial management.
  • Drug Testing: Many employers also require a drug test as part of the background check process.

Steps of the Background Check Process

  1. Consent: The individual must first provide written consent for the background check.
  2. Collection of Information: Personal details such as name, date of birth, and Social Security number are collected.
  3. Research: Specialists access various databases to gather information, including public records and private databases.
  4. Verification: Information obtained is verified for accuracy.
  5. Compilation of Report: A comprehensive report is compiled, summarizing the findings.

How Far Back Does a Background Check Go?

The lookback period for background checks can vary based on the type of check and the laws of the state where it is conducted. Typically, criminal background checks can go back 7 to 10 years, but some states have limitations on how far back employers can search or what they can consider.

What Typically Shows Up in the Results?

A background check can reveal a wide range of information:

  • Criminal History: Details of any criminal convictions or pending cases, subject to state laws and the FCRA.
  • Employment History: Confirmation of places of employment, roles held, and duration.
  • Educational Background: Verification of degrees, certificates, and the institutions attended.
  • Credit History: Summary of credit history, including credit score, debt, and bankruptcy records, where applicable.
  • Drug Test Results: Positive or negative results for drug use.


When asking, “What does a background check show?” it’s clear that the scope can be quite broad, encompassing everything from criminal history to credit reports. For organizations seeking to partner with a background screening provider, it’s important to choose one that is thorough, compliant with relevant laws, and capable of customizing the scope of the search to meet specific needs.

EDIFY Background Screening stands as a qualified consumer reporting agency with the experience and technology to conduct comprehensive background investigations efficiently and affordably. We ensure that our clients receive detailed, accurate, and timely information to make well-informed decisions.

For more information on how we can assist with your background screening needs, please contact EDIFY Background Screening at 336-283-0237 or visit our website at www.edifyscreening.com. Trust us to help you navigate the complexities of background checks with ease and confidence.

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