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Employers Reveal the Most Disturbing Things Discovered in a Background Check

Background checks are a standard part of the employment process at most companies. A job offer is commonly accompanied by small print to remind you that it’s contingent upon successful completion of a background check.
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Typically, when organizations perform background checks, they are looking for things like an undisclosed criminal background, your credit history, or credential checks for jobs that require special certifications or training.

But sometimes, background checks can reveal more than you bargained for, as is evident from these background check horror stories told from the employer perspective. Let’s dig into the details.

The Instagram Troll

In any background check, it’s not uncommon for a company to reach out to your former employers to verify that you did in fact work at the places you said you did. But it’s not always a quick “yes or no” from your previous employer. Take it from Reddit user Hal_E_Lujah, who found out more details than the applicant had bargained for:

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The background checks all came in fine except one… where they asked to have a phone conversation about the candidate. I got a call from them wherein they explained that he’d actually been fired for repeatedly posting photos to the company Instagram and Twitter which contained hidden “items” that weren’t meant to be in there. I pushed and pushed to find out exactly what they meant, and it turns out this person we were interviewing to manage our social media had been posting photos with his genitals hidden in the photos for months before his bosses had noticed.

The Juggernaut of On-the-Job Injuries

Pro tip: If you have sued your previous employers, it’s going to show up on a background check. Case in point, as explained by punkwalrus:

We did a background check on a guy who it turns out had sued every former employer for an on-the-job injury. Usually right after 90 days, when most trial periods end. I did not hire him, but somebody else did, and I warned them that the background check showed at the 90-day mark, he would try and get injured on the job and sue them. They took that to heart, and on the 92nd day, he showed up to work with a lawyer, claiming that his office chair had hurt his back, that the lights above his cubicle were giving him migraines, and his monitor was making his eyes hurt. The company responded, prepared with their own lawyers, and gave him an ergonomic keyboard, a monitor filter, and a special little area where the lights were better. And an ergonomic chair. And then they made it known that they would be contacting his former employers, many of whom he had sued saying he was unable to work anymore. He stopped complaining and was let go in the next round of layoffs.

The Pathological Liar

If you’re going to lie on your work experience, at least make sure the number of years you claim to have worked actually match up with your age. If not, you’re going to end up looking like this guy:

I did a background check for one guy, and I found out that he had lied about every single job that he had. Going one job back, he claimed that he was a manager at a shoe store that went out of business. I was unable to verify that, because the shoe store went out of business. Then he said that he was in the military for four years as a communication specialist.

I found that he was in the army for three months, but got an honorable discharge because he couldn’t make it through Boot Camp. He claimed before that he was the manager of the evening shift at a chicken plant, turns out that he was a janitor for only a few months before he was fired for job performance. He claimed he was a manager of a hotel before that, and it turned out that his mother was actually the night manager, and she was fired because she kept bringing her kid to work. I tried to do the math, and I realized that if everything in the background check was true, that the applicant probably also lied about his age, and had to be a lot younger than he claimed to be. He said he was in his late 20s, but I bet he was no older than 20 or 21.

Tell Us What You Think!

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever experienced during a background check? We want to hear from you! Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter!


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M Davis
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M Davis

On the flip side, a common recommendation is to do trial background checks on yourself to see what your previous employers are saying. I knew someone who was blamed for a business down-turn at a previous employer (in ‘I can’t prove this but..’ statements) when the actual case was that the business had lost other employees and were understaffed and unable to do the volume of business they were used to.
Employers and employees should both protect themselves from bad apples.

Travis Lawson
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