The Past Is Not The Past

Are you all clear after a background check or is there more to worry about?

Last week we discussed if you can still make a move in 2023.  Today I want to explore the parts of the move process that many are starting to overlook as the anxiety to get a new position increases. What area exactly? The crucial area of the background check.   The background check has been expanded significantly from the old days of just running fingerprints to the firms and their human resource departments taking advantage of the information age.

Background Check & Broker Check:

What Do They Say About You?

Let’s delve into this deeper. As part of the process certain firms are running background checks either before or after an offer is tendered, but rest assured they are being run.  There seems to be a new trend to run the background check before an offer is presented or even talked about.  This process will allow a firm to determine early in the process if they want to continue going down the path with a candidate or not.  As there are more qualified candidates in the pool right now, firms can be highly selective and are applying many more non-traditional sources to find out about candidates.  Yes, the traditional ones in public finance are your broker check, but even a broker check does not get everything right.  I have seen over the years perfectly clean background checks that when a firm does its due diligence items appear on the broker check that prevents a candidate from being hired.

Social Media Is A Form Of A Background Check Now

It’s more than just the basic broker check. If you are a serious candidate for a position, please check your social media posts.  This is not just the obvious Facebook, but the less known areas of social media where there can be insights into your non-office persona.  These are carrying more weight today than ever.  Of course, public records are also being checked regularly now as well as waiting one to two weeks to get back a formal background check.  The reason for the much slower turnaround is that the background checks are now being outsourced to firms that specialize in this highly specific area, and they are going much deeper in their searches.  Reference checks, which used to be a key area, are not being valued as much as firms are being legally limited to what they can share about a person’s past performance, etc.

Be Honest About The Past

Personality and culture fit are so important now for firms that they are finding more innovative ways to ascertain the veracity of anything that is either conveyed in writing or shared during the oral part of the interview.  What do you do if you find yourself being concerned about the past? The answer is clear: it’s not in the past.  It is now a more prevalent concern.  If you are working with a recruiter, bring that up to your recruiter as soon as you trust them in the handling of sensitive material.  I have found that if I know about an individual’s past, I can determine if it will be an inhibitor for them getting hired or not.  The most important thing to do is bring it up before the background check is started. As professionals, if we are aware of any skeletons in the closet, we can usually help remediate the issues beforehand.  The worst thing that can occur is when a client finds out information through their own sources that a candidate wanting to get hired did not honestly convey.  In conclusion, remember the past is not in the past and it must be brought up early in the present to alleviate any further hiring concerns today.  Let us work with you and get you hired for a great 2024. 


You don’t need a resume to chat with us! If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Harlan publishes a blog every Thursday here. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting.”

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.