What Shows Up on a Background Check?

When most people think of a background check, they think of a simple Google search. But, if you’re looking for someone’s criminal history, employment history, or education, you need to go beyond the basics.

There are three main types of information that are found in comprehensive background checks: criminal history, employment history, and education verification. Each type has its own unique database that you must access to get accurate results.

Here’s what you need to know about each type of check:

Criminal Records

A person’s criminal history will show any felonies or misdemeanors on their record. If they have a clean criminal history, this check will come back clean as well.

You can run a national criminal report. But, to get a more comprehensive criminal history check, you must check the county or counties someone has lived in.

Employment History

Employment history is very different from a criminal history check. This type of check will show past employers, dates of employment, job titles and responsibilities. It will not show any arrests or convictions.


An education verification check is used to confirm the highest level of education someone has completed. This could be a high school diploma, GED, or college degree. To get an education verification check, you must go through the school, university or college that issued the degree.

Credit History

Your credit history is another important piece of information that may show up on a background check. If you’re applying for a job that requires a security clearance, your credit history will be closely scrutinized. Even if you’re not applying for a government job, though, potential employers may still look at your credit history to gauge your responsibility.

Public Records

In addition to the items listed above, background checks can also turn up public records, such as property ownership, bankruptcies, or liens. This information can give employers  a better idea of your financial responsibility.


When someone is running a background check on you, whether for employment, housing, or other purposes, they’re likely to come across a lot of information. As such, it’s good to be aware of what will show up on your background check.

This way, you can be prepared to explain anything that may come up.