However, while we are hearing about background checks and background screening, a lot of job seekers aren't quite sure exactly what they are and the processes involved.
In a short summary, a background check is the process of looking up and compiling criminal records, commercial records and financial records (in certain instances such as employment screening) of an individual.
Such checks are often requested by employers on potential new employees, especially those seeking a position that requires high security or a position of trust, such as in a school, hospital, financial institution, airport, and government.
However, these checks can also be done for any position, as they provide a company with a sense of an individual's character, ethics and values.
There is no set time-limit for a background check, and the length of time it takes can depend on the type of checks being run.
Generally, those responsible for requiring the background check will give you some indication of when you can expect the results.
Once the results are available, it will be decided as to whether you are right for the available position.
If you have some past issues which come up, and were not mentioned by you prior to the checks, you may find yourself out of the running.
Your best bet is to be honest with the potential employer - if you do have discretions in your past, it's best to talk about them and prove that that you have learned from your mistakes and are now a changed person.