By Paul Saunders, www.queue.ca 

For years there have been some caveats in the job-search process: don't lie on your resume, have 2-3 good references ready, be ready to explain what you have done.  This is all still true, however the depth and diligence in checking into your background has increased, and you best be ready for it.  Companies are not only checking into the background on permanent hires; many Subcontractors are now being subjected to in-depth background checks. 

I have always maintained that the worst way to lose a potential offer is at the end -> you have won the opportunity through your interviews and then lose out because the background checks don't pan out, or don't go smoothly and raise doubts for the hiring Manager.  Here are some things you need to know, and how you can be prepared for them. 

  • Consent to conduct background checks.  You will be required to sign a release allowing the checks to be done.  New requirements in 2010 for criminal checks force us to not only witness your signature in person, but also view and take a photocopy of 1 piece of government issued photo ID (i.e. a driver's license or passport) and 1 additional ID (i.e. a birth certificate or health card).
  • Third party checks.  QUEUE does not always do the checks - many companies hire an independent firm to do them.  Neither QUEUE nor our client has much control over the timing, quality, and perseverance in getting them done.
  • References.  You know this already - you should have 3 available, at least 2 of which are people you have reported directly to.  You should call them upon giving us their names to ensure the contact information is correct and they are ready to respond immediately to the reference call (i.e. Are they going on vacation?).
  • Criminal.  Almost all companies now do this; some also check driving records.  You should apply for a pardon for any eligible offence that you have been convicted of.
  • Credit.  Even non-financial firms now do these regularly.  You should do what you can to clear past issues with your creditors (note that you can buy your own credit record to see what is on there).
  • Employment History.  You should ensure the dates on your resume are accurate and consistent with what the HR records will show at the companies you worked for.
  • Education.  You should have available a photocopy of all your degrees, diplomas, and certificates.  This will be quicker than having to contact your school to confirm you attended and graduated.
  • Even More.  Certain industries requiring higher security undertake deeper background checks, which at the highest level entails interviews with family members and neighbours, amongst other things. 

As demanding as all this may seem, it could be worse: drug testing is common in the United States, for example, and there has been talk in Canada of requiring fingerprints for criminal checks.  Get your information ready and it will help us to get your offer generated faster and without raising alarms at the very end of the process.  Rest assured QUEUE will work with you to get through the background check as efficiently as possible.