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Background Checks Foiling Job Offer?

by David
(Southwick, MA)

Mike-
I've been in warehouse operations for over 12 years, and have recently left my job.

Mostly, I apply for warehouse jobs that don't require driving as part of the job responsibilities; however, sometimes this is unavoidable especially if it's a job that I want to aggressively pursue.

I was involved in an car accident in January of 2011, and was found at fault, but weather conditions certainly played a part.

My insurance rates went up as you would expect. The other gentleman checked out fine by the paramedics at the accident scene; however, months later the guy filed a lawsuit against me for medical damages.

Eventually, I won the lawsuit, but I'm wondering if a prospective employer would find this offense grounds enough to not pursue my candidacy, even if they were impressed with my background and experience.

The other part of this question hinges on whether I have any recourse on finding out what previous employers or references are saying about me, be it positive, and especially if they made comments that would be damaging to my character or past work performance.

Thanks in advance for your advice. Hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards ~ David

Mike Petras Comments:

Hello David-

Most companies today will do background checks on you as part of their hiring process; however, since it costs money to do them, they won't go through the time and expense of doing them unless they're ready to make you an offer.

So it's very important that you do well in your job interviews by being well prepared. On my website is an article I wrote that covers the most important things job seekers can do to prepare for their interview: 14 Key Job Inteview Tips.

In other words, if you interview well and impress prospective employers, your weaknesses and shortcomings will appear an inch high instead of a mile high. Once an employer decides "you're the one", their mindset flips from the defensive to the offensive. They'll be looking for reasons to hire you instead of eliminate you.

Your driving record is a matter of public record. Most companies will check it. If all you have on your driving record is one accident 16 months ago, they will probably overlook it...unless you received a citation for reckless driving or driving while intoxicated.

Just about everyone will have an automobile accident at some point in their life. Companies are more interested in your driving habits and overall record for the past 3-5 years. So as long as you don't have a bunch of tickets, a DUI, or more than one accident, this shouldn't stand in your way of getting an offer.

As far as companies doing reference checks on you from your prior employer, here are 3 similar emails I answered from other job seekers that should answer your question:

Admit to being fired from a job?

Why did you leave your last place of employment?

Providing Employment References

Hope this information helps you score a job soon. Good luck with your job search.

Mike Petras

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