It can take months of interviewing to finally get in touch with a company that matches your skill set, financial needs, schedule and industry. While you might want to start jumping for joy, realize that a conditional job offer is exactly what it sounds like – no more and no less. You will probably need to go through a background check, your references will also be contacted, and you lastly need to pass a drug test. Of course, you are going to need to continue reflect a fully professional image as you work with the third party companies that your potential future employer has hired to facilitate the employment screening process. In other words, don’t ask any questions that could raise red flags and instead prepare for each step in your journey so that you get a start date from human resources.

Consider What Your References Are Going to Say About You

Hopefully you have already chosen a few different references that are confident in your skills and will only say good things about you. This is why it is wise to select references that are most familiar with you, perhaps ones that you began working with in the earlier part of your college career and saw how much you have grown professionally. Unfortunately, there are a lot of job hopefuls that give the names of all their past employers regardless of how well they performed at their jobs or even their personal relationships. Remember that professional references can also include co-workers, organizations that you volunteered with, internships and student groups.

Notifying Your References

Although you have a better chance of being offered a permanent position when you get positive feedback from your references, you also need to supply references that can actually be contacted. Give your references a heads up about the fact that they are going to be hearing from an HR professional, and if you must, go over the details of your backstory so that things match up. You absolutely should not coach a reference to lie for you, but you should be able to confirm that they know the approximate dates that you worked together and the nature of your relationship.

What’s Included In a Background Check

Many job applicants think that having no criminal history automatically means that they are going to pass their pre-employment background checks. The fact of the matter is that potential employers scrutinize applicants for more than felonies and DUI offenses. When conducting background checks, usually the first thing that employers want to know is that the information you provided is accurate. For instance, did you actually list all of your most recent residential addresses or did you leave any addresses off? Were you forthright when you were asked for all of the names of your previous employers, or did you conveniently leave off a job that you were unceremoniously fired from? Remember that while nobody is perfect, a potential employer is much more interested in your level of honesty from the onset. Being caught in a small but obvious lie during a pre-employment background check can dash your hopes of getting hired.

Your Credit Report and History

Next up is the credit screening process. For many job applicants, a credit check is merely meant to confirm that you are who you say that you are and that you don’t have a severely flawed credit history that contained recent bankruptcies and judgements. On the other hand, the results of a pre-employment credit screening can be a lot more important if you are attempting to get a job with the government, law enforcement or banking industry. As unfortunate as it is, your credit can also be used as a measure of your moral character. Some employers can think that a job applicant with poor credit may be more likely to steal or embezzle money, especially if they are going for a position that has a high security clearance. The best thing that you can do is to clean up your credit prior to going through the pre-employment screening process.

Reviewing Job Applicant Criminal History

It should be obvious but in case you didn’t know it having criminal offenses on your record will make it more difficult to get a job. Of course, the nature of the crime that you were convicted of and the amount of time that has passed will also have an impact on the pre-employment screening process for you. This is why you should let potential employers know about any pending charges or previous convictions for felonies that you have on your record. You might actually be reassured and told that it shouldn’t be a problem, but either way it is better to reveal any issues that you have with your criminal record so that your potential employer doesn’t discover what it believes to be a major red flag.

What To Know About Pre-Employment Drug Screening

As long as you don’t use street drugs or take any medications that you don’t have a prescription for, you should pass a drug test. Whether your potential employer wants you to take a swab drug test or prefers the hair follicle variety, realize that whatever you might have lurking in your body is going to come out. To be on the safe side, some applicants choose to go through detoxes or have their own drug tests administered in advance so that they can feel confident in the results that will be provided during the pre-employment drug screening process. On the other hand, if you are concerned about what may be revealed during a pre- employment drug screening you should stop all questionable behavior at once and look to clean your system out by losing weight, drinking plenty of water and ensure that your vitamin intake is increased.

You can get offered and hired for a new position in less than a week if you submit the authorization for your background check and go in for drug testing as soon as possible. Don’t be alarmed if you get a call from the third party companies conducting your pre-employment screening as you might only be getting contacted to confirm basic information. Otherwise, keep your fingers crossed and bide your time until you get a job offer for a permanent position that you have obviously prepared and worked diligently for.