Does Unemployment Show Up on Background Checks for Employment?

by Mary Nestor-Harper, Demand Media
    High credit card debt may indicate a period of unemployment.

    High credit card debt may indicate a period of unemployment.

    Employers use criminal background checks, personal and professional references and credit report checks to determine whether or not to hire an applicant. These sources give information not available on an applicant's resume. An applicant may not want a prospective employer to know if he was eligible for unemployment compensation or denied because he was terminated for cause.

    Criminal Background Check

    Employers have a responsibility to complete due diligence by conducting criminal background checks. Criminal background checks contain information on arrests and convictions, driving records and moving violations. A prospective employer would not know if an applicant received unemployment compensation from such a background check since it does not include employment information or sources of income.

    Social Media Sites

    Many employers are now reviewing an applicant's social media sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn, as part of the background check. Social media sites provide a place to speak freely about what's going on in a person's life. Blog posts and social media status updates can reveal a lot about job applicants, including their employment situation and whether they were receiving unemployment.

    Wage Garnishments

    Wage garnishments are listed on a credit report. Individuals who owe child support, have a bankruptcy or other legal judgment may have a portion of their wages withheld by their employer to settle an obligation or debt. Since wage garnishments occur when a person is employed, garnishments that start and stop could prompt a prospective employer to inquire about possible unemployment compensation.

    Credit Card Usage

    Unemployment can put a strain on the budget, and credit card usage could increase if a person has to live off unemployment compensation between jobs. The amount of credit card debt on a credit report could raise the possibility an applicant was out of work for a period and collected unemployment compensation. While unemployment compensation is not actually reported, an employment end date from the resume and subsequent increased credit card debt on the credit report could tip off a prospective employer.

    About the Author

    Mary Nestor-Harper has more than 12 years as a human-resources director and more than 19 years experience as an HR/management consultant. She has been published in "Training Magazine," "The Savannah Morning News" and on the Web. A television and radio business, career and motivation expert, she shares career and job search tips as Ageless Media Network's career expert on WTKS-AM 1290, Savannah, Ga.

    Photo Credits

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