Reasons Why You Just Got A Red Flag On A Background Check

Last Updated on October 14, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team

Background checks – they are super common and happen all the time as companies always want to check the history of their customers and employees alike.

This means that at some point, you will probably have a background check run on your past – but why would something come back as a red flag?

Reasons Why You Just Got A Red Flag On A Background Check

What reasons could there be for you failing a background check?

Here we are going to be talking about background checks including what issues may pop up as a red flag to your potential employer.

This way, you can try and avoid these issues so you won’t have any more red flags appearing on your future background checks!

So, let’s dive right in!

Gaps In Your Employment History

This first red flag relates to any long periods of unemployment in your employment history.

Employers love to hire individuals they know are hardworking and are committed to their work, which is part of the reason why long gaps in your employment history come up as a red flag in a background check.

You might have a completely reasonable excuse for any long gaps in your employment, but to employers, it comes across that you are incapable of holding down a job.

Employers want to hire individuals who they hope will have a long-term place in their company and long gaps in employment history is a big red flag that you are unreliable.

Your background check should provide your potential employer with a reason for any long gaps.

For example, if you do have a valid excuse such as maternity leave or a workplace injury, then this should be brought to your potential employer’s attention – but this doesn’t mean that they will accept this.

Poor Credit History

Another big red flag on your background check will be your poor credit history.

These credit reports are important to your potential employer because they not only help verify you as a person, but also your places of past employment and educational institutions you were a student at.

But with these credit reports comes any information about your credit history.

If you have a poor credit history littered with late fees, credit cards, loan refusals, then this will all paint a devastating picture to your potential employer.

A poor credit history will make you seem unreliable and untrustworthy, especially if your job entails handling money.

A poor credit history makes you look like you cannot handle money well and so, this will come up as a serious red flag on your background check.

Your Criminal History

If you have any convictions or a criminal record, then this will definitely come up as a huge red flag on your background check.

Of course, not all convictions will affect your employability.

Minor offences (especially those that were convicted early in your youth) will only make a minor impact on your employability unless you are specifically seeking a role in a company that needs its employees to have a squeaky clean record.

On the other hand, a conviction can mean the difference between you getting a job and not – especially if your conviction is relevant to your job.

For example, a school will be unlikely to hire someone with a history of criminal charges against children, as would a store be unlikely to hire someone with a history of theft.

Falsified Educational Credentials

The whole point of a background check is to make sure that all of the credentials you claim to have are true and to verify your identity.

This means that your background check will bring up your entire educational history including all of your credentials – and any gaps will be a huge red flag to your employer.

So, if you have claimed to have graduated from a certain college but that college doesn’t appear in your education records – then you have clearly falsified your educational credentials!

This will be a major red flag to any employer.

After all, if you are caught being untruthful and falsifying your credentials, what else could you have been lying about?

This will make you appear completely untrustworthy and unreliable, so your employer will definitely throw out your application.

Your References

Your References

As we mentioned before, the whole point of a background check is to verify you as a real person and one way to do this is through personal references.

References are meant to be used to verify your personality to see what other past employers thought of you while you worked for them.

It’s meant to be an opportunity for your best features to shine through – your dedication to the job, your high level of quality in your work, how punctual you are.

However, sometimes, your previous bad behavior is revealed instead.

If you have had issues with your previous employers, then this can come up on a background check and paint you in a negative light to your new potential employer.

You Have Refused Consent Into A Background Check

Background checks cannot happen without your consent but if you have refused one in the past, this can come up again in the future – and make you look awfully suspicious.

In reality, this shouldn’t be the case as you have the right to refuse a background check but employers may take this as a sign that you have something to hide.

Again, this isn’t always the case but unfortunately, it’s how a lot of employers take this red flag.

You’ve Worked Lots Of Short Jobs

Just like with long gaps of unemployment in your employment history, working lots of different jobs in a short amount of time also comes up as a red flag to your new employer.

This is because this comes across as you having an inability to hold a job down – so why would your employer bother employing you if they expect you to be gone in a matter of weeks?

So, working in a lot of jobs short-time can make you come across as flaky and inconsistent to your employer – and potentially suggest a bigger issue that makes you an unsuitable employee.

Failed Drug Screening

This is another big red flag that comes up on background checks – failing a drug screening.

A lot of companies like their employees to have a nice, squeaky clean image and drug testing can be mandatory.

However, in some industries it goes beyond employee image.

Some jobs require you to be focused and capable of operating large machinery or transport.

If you turn up to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then this makes you a liability for the company and a risk to the wellbeing of yourself and others.

Missing Employment Information

Our final red flag on a background check is missing employment information.

This refers to any places of work you failed to disclose earlier, especially if they are relevant to the field you are hoping to work in.

This comes up as suspicious to your employer as it suggests that you have something to hide.

Of course, this isn’t always the case as some previous places you have worked just aren’t relevant to the job you are applying for now.

However, if you fail to disclose an employment history in a relevant job, this information can be seriously suspicious in a background check.


So, those are just 9 potential red flags that can come up on a background check.

The above red flags are pretty common but there are more reasons why you could have had a red flag on your background check – so it’s important to disclose any relevant information before your background check so you come across as an honest and trustworthy employee, and explain any red flags on your own terms.