Blog Img

How to prepare your CV for a background check

Back to Blogs

The recruitment process is changing in professional services and firms are now going to unprecedented lengths when it comes to screening the backgrounds of their prospective employees, regardless of seniority.

Many firms, particularly larger organisations, take these background checks so seriously that they have employed the services of outsourced pre-employment agencies that manage the process on the company’s behalf and will liaise with you directly.

With that in mind, it is more important than ever to ensure that the information you submit during the hiring process is 100% accurate as failure to do so could result in any potential job offer being retracted (as I said, firms really do take these checks extremely seriously!).

Take the time to ensure that your CV is 100% accurate right at the start of your job hunt. The outsourced firms will be looking to confirm a timeline of events as well as gaining references.

Here’s a checklist of things to remember before you submit your CV:

Make sure all your education and qualifications are correct

If you need to double check on a grade, do it early before you submit your CV to any potential agency or employer.  Ensure that dates of employment and job titles are correct (check old payslips or even contact your previous employer if you need to double check this). The job title needs to match what your employer would confirm your title as!

If you’re not sure these are correct, be upfront about this from the start

If you are unsure of anything (i.e. grades, employment dates) and if you are unable to check and verify this yourself then make sure that you disclose this when you complete the screening questionnaire. Do not guess anything!

If you have studied a qualification but didn’t sit the exams or complete the course, make sure that is clear on your CV.

If you are still studying the course, again make sure this is clear.

Gather all certificates/proof of qualifications

The background check agency may check your academic record for both qualification and attendance dates, whenever possible they obtain verification at the source but if that isn’t possible, they may ask you to provide certificates.

Explain all gaps

If you have any gaps on your CV, for example, career break/ travelling, mention this on your CV and disclose to the referencing agency.

Update your social media privacy settings

Some firms will do a social media screening – make sure you don’t have anything on your public profiles that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.

Disclose any CCJs or Criminal convictions from the start

It is vital that you are open and honest about your background and that you disclose all information about any CCJs or criminal records you may have before your CV is put forward for interview.

Some companies have a no-compromise policy and are not able to hire anybody with a CCJ or CRB so if you have either of these on your record, it is really important that you disclose this from the outset, there is no point wasting anyone’s time. Some firms will consider these candidates, so long as this is disclosed at the start of the process.

Have your identity documents ready

Make sure you have the relevant identification to hand (i.e. valid passport and address verification) as firms will always check eligibility to work and some will check proof of address.

If your name is different on your passport, for example, due to marriage, then be ready to provide your marriage certificate.

Background checks can take anything from 2-4 weeks potentially even longer. Making sure you are ready with the required information when beginning your job search and completing the background questionnaire accurately and quickly will help to speed up the process and ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to ensure that all the information you provide is accurate, so taking the time to get this right at the beginning of your search will save you a lot of time and hassle later in the process. It is all in your hands!

If you work in a Legal Finance role and would like a free CV check, email

Related articles