Security Careers: Background and Credit Checks
26 January 2010
Because of the nature of the job, it is common sense that a career as a security guard will require a thorough background check, but you may be wondering what exactly this background check entails, and what exactly can stop you from entering into a security career. Additionally, many employers also perform credit checks on their employees, and it is important to know if you will be subject to a credit check if you wish to pursue a career as a security professional.
In the US, most states require that security professionals have a license to work, and part of this license often involves a background check. Additionally, when being hired by an employer, security guards are subject to background checks – depending on the nature of the job. If you are going to be working for something such as crowd control, you are less likely to have a background check run on you than if you will be working in a hospital. You are also more likely to be required to undergo a background check if the job requires you to be armed rather than unarmed. Receiving a background check is entirely up to the employer’s discretion and it is dependent on what they deem as necessary to be adequately safe. Whether you undergo a background check when you are getting your license or whether you undergo it when you are being employed, the same things are looked for. If you have any convictions for any serious crimes, you will not be able to work as a security guard. If you have a conviction for a violent crime (assault, rape etc) or if you have been convicted for something such as arson or fraud, these crimes will be picked up in the background check and you will not get your license/not be hired. misdemeanors aren’t always looked into, although employers can choose what they want to screen you for and what they don’t.
Some employers will deem less serious crimes a risk, whereas others will only deem the most serious a risk. In addition to a criminal background check, it is also likely you will be subject to drug tests. Drug tests are seen as essential to many employers since it is important you are both alert and focused to perform the job correctly. Drug tests are most often carried out in a random basis, and they screen for traces of any illegal substances – if your blood/urine contains any traces, you will probably end up losing your job. Employers take drug use in their security guards very seriously, and many view drug use as a risk similar to having a criminal conviction. Aside from drug and background checks, the other thing many potential security professionals might wonder about is whether they will be subject to a credit check. Credit checks are carried out by some employers to see how well the potential employee is keeping up with their payments (mortgage, loans, etc). Even if you have a very bad credit history, it is unlikely an employer will hold it against you. Being in good credit will not make you better at your job. Most employers will not carry out these checks.