Jobseekers: Beware of Background Checks


So, you swear you have nothing to hide? That's a good thing these days, because more likely than not, your potential employer will be digging into your past.

According to a study released last winter by the Society for Human Resource Management, an astounding 80 percent of HR professionals say they conduct criminal background checks to screen potential employees. That's up 26 percent from 1996, an increase driven in part by increased concern over workplace violence after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Who can blame employers for wanting to be careful? Two Wal-Mart employees were recently convicted of fondling children in their store and both were registered sex offenders. Wal-Mart has announced it will now subject all new employees to a criminal background check a costly move for a company that Hoover's Online estimates has 1.5 million employees.