What to Do If Your Background Check Has an Error

on September 27, 2016

The unthinkable has happened. You applied for your dream job and were awaiting the results of your background check when the potential employer contacted you and said you’d been passed over for the position.

The hiring manager says that you failed your screening, but you know that information causing the failure to be false. What do you do?

Take a Deep Breath

Background checks are compiled from multiple reports provided by many different sources, and errors do sometimes happen.

The false information may have resulted from incorrect data entry due to misinterpretation of handwriting or confusion over a common name. It could also be because of a corrupted file or old information that has not been updated.

Remember that even if, worst case scenario, someone stole your identity you can still contest the background check and potentially get the position by providing proof of the incorrect information.

Pick Up the Phone

To get that proof, you’ll need to contact a few people. First, request a copy of the report to specifically see the error in full. This will give you the ability to contest it completely.

Next, file a dispute with the background screening company and ask for a re-investigation of your results. You will be asked to verify your information for system errors, and you may be asked to supply additional information that could help strike inaccurate information from your screen.

If a reinvestigation supports the inaccurate results, you will want to gather proof to support your claim. For example, you can contact your alma mater to obtain documentation proving your education, call the DMV to get accurate driving records, or get in touch with credit agencies to provide an accurate credit report.

You may also consider employing a different company to run a background check on you to see if the error comes up again. If the mistake does not appear in the new check, document this difference.

Also, verify with your references as to what they said if they were contacted. Any misinterpretations can easily be corrected by your reference writing a formal letter clarifying their previous statements.

Make Sure Everything is Legal

You should also verify that the check was run legally and in accordance with federal regulations and your specific state laws. If the screening included information that violates your right to privacy, you can contest the report.

Prepare for Your Next Potential Screening

In the future, what can you and your potential employers do to verify such mistakes won’t happen again?

First, double-check your data before submitting. A misplaced number or letter can be the difference between a clean screen and an inaccurate one. Type rather than hand-write all forms, as handwriting can be misinterpreted or difficult to decipher.

Also, ensure that the employer is using a reputable and thorough screening company. If an experienced background check business is at the helm, there is a far less likely chance of error in the final report.