UNITED STATES—The most common type of background check is for employment. Most frequently, it takes place when you apply for a job, but you may be subject to screening once you’re employed. People use a number of different methods to complete such screenings, from personal references to a complete database search. The type of search determines what will show up because there are a few different sets of data and records to use.

In general, an employment background check will include employment verification, identity verification, and criminal history. It will also include credit history if you’re applying for a job in finance and driver’s history if the job will involve driving. In some cases, it will come with education confirmation.

Employment background checks aren’t the only type. UnMask is a great resource to learn about many of the less common but equally important kinds of background checks. Look into that if you need more information.  

All About Pre-employment Searches

Employers collect lots of information to assess an applicant’s character and help avoid hiring the wrong person. Where applicable, this may include their credit report. Credit bureaus issue credit reports based on information from a variety of sources, like banks and credit card companies. Generally, credit reports contain past inquiries, which show that lenders, financial institutions, and retailers have asked for a customer’s credit report. Of course, the credit bureau will provide identifying information such as a name, address, and date of birth.

Identity Verification

By looking through Social Security Administration records, the Department of Homeland Security, and other extensive databases, a pre-employment screening can show whom a Social Security number belongs to, whether it’s valid, and whether it’s been used in the past. An address can also be confirmed by means of ID verification. To identify inaccuracies, the employer cross-references the details provided by a job candidate.

Criminal History

Companies’ interests may be protected by pre-employment background checks in case these reveal job-relevant criminal convictions. Employers can be accused of negligent hiring if it’s determined they knew or should have known about a staff member’s relevant history of wrongdoing when this person commits a crime. Criminal background checks can reveal violations and offenses at the federal, state, or county level. Offenses subject to reporting include misdemeanor convictions, current pending charges, felony convictions, and dismissed or acquitted charges.

The company might ask applicants for further information depending on the job, such as drug screening and reference checks.

Judgments, Liens, and Bankruptcy

A bankruptcy check will reveal the name, address, and SSN of the debtor, the trial attorney, the county, the docket number, the state where bankruptcy was filed, and the type of bankruptcy filed. It could show civil filings, judgments, tax lien type, release date, dismissal date, and asset amounts.

Professional Licenses

Someone might run a background check to see if you hold the license you claim to. They will confirm the status and type of the license or certificate, date of issue, date of expiry, and any suspensions by contacting the licensing institution, board, or issuing agency.

Boat and Aircraft Information

The natural resources department of each state has data on water-operated vessels like boats and jet skis owned by companies or individuals. The court can provide information about water vessels if it’s possible to establish proper ownership. Just like motor vehicle information, boat title data is public record.

The Federal Aviation Administration is responsible for registering aircraft. This data is not unlike information related to motor vehicles. Again, one needs to determine ownership. This is possible by checking under the company or individual’s name.

Physical Evidence Searches

There are several terms denoting secret searches for evidence, among which trash run, refuse removal, and dumpster diving. Without a doubt, this approach to obtaining intelligence is rudimentary but very effective. Businesses that specialize in it are flourishing as a result of the demand for undetected, discreet document retrieval. Materials collected this way can serve as evidence in criminal and civil proceedings.


Finally, some organizations conduct electronic surveillance of people, objects, or places to document any interactions and activities involving them. Private eyes use such documentation very often. It involves monitoring social media, email, and/or phone use with radios, TV, wiretapping, and other devices to document activity.