I recently accepted a position with a major oil company. My background check was completed roughly on November 6th. This company told me that RC was scheduled to review it November 17th. I have not heard anything about the background check nor is my pre-employment checklist updated to indicate that it has been reviewed.

On my resume, I have a position listed at the red cross (emergency responder) under a "work experience" heading. The job was actually volunteer work, which I indicate on every interview with the company in which this position was mentioned. Because it was volunteer work, I did not include it on my background check so naturally it will not show up on the background check.

Do I have any reason to be concerned that I might not pass the background check? My dates of employment for all my other companies were generally on target and it appers as if HireRight got a job title wrong but I did not lie anywhere on my resume. I am not even sure if the red cross thing counts as a lie because I had to get a decent amount of training and it was not a major point on my resume (it has nothing to do with engineering)

  • 5
    Do try to remeber that this is the time of year that people are using up vacation time and it may just be the person who needs to sign off hasn't been in the office.
    – HLGEM
    Nov 25, 2014 at 21:07

3 Answers 3


"background checks" are really concerned with whether you have a criminal record, or if you're in debt, verifying if you did indeed work in the companies which you put on your resume, and maybe call up some references.

Not listing certain work experiences is not uncommon as it may not really relate to the position for which you are applying or simply it is not worth mentioning.

  • I put this volunteer experience on my resume, but it is not on my background check. That is the reason for my concern. Nov 25, 2014 at 20:39
  • 1
    IMO, Worst that could happen is that they'll say we'll need to verify your all pass work experience including your volunteer experience that you inadvertently forgot to put down. Forgetting to do something is not lying.
    – MCHam
    Nov 25, 2014 at 20:52
  • 1
    Backgrounds checks aren't going to be a precision check, but more of an accuracy check. If you incorrectly listed an endDate by a month from years ago or the title is slightly different, they're not going to chase you down for not locking in perfectly. Call them and ask how things are coming along, possibly.
    – Xrylite
    Nov 25, 2014 at 20:55
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    Seriously, @MCHam is right. They're making sure you're not a felon, sex offender or didn't exist until 5 weeks ago and stuff like that. Background checks and drug tests are some of the only areas where no news truly is good news. Believe me, if they had a problem they would let you know. They're generally just an HR formality to make sure you're not a thug and/or completely full of crap.
    – Chris E
    Nov 25, 2014 at 20:56
  • Thank you so much for your help! I appreciate you taking the time to compose this Nov 25, 2014 at 21:10

I have a similar but different situation.

I worked as an IT consultant at a bank that was later bought out by a managed fund.

When I go for jobs, I list (of course) my time at the bank. Anytime people phone up the managed fund to verify I worked there, the fund responds that they cannot confirm nor deny that I worked there, because I didn't really work there so much as at the bank.

As a result, I end up hearing back from the background check, saying "hey, they cannot confirm that you worked there, what is up?", and then I help them work out that I worked there.

How I do it isn't the point, the point is that if there is a flag on your background check, they're going to ask you, not quietly reject you. For all they know, you entered the name wrong, or they're asking the wrong people or something.

As @HLGEM notes in the comments, it is vacay time, and someone is off. I would not sweat about this at all, especially as the work (as you note) does not appear to be directly related to the role you are applying for.

As a further note, in banking a one-week background check is unheard of, it takes a couple of weeks. I suspect (but have no experience in it) that big oil (is there "small oil?") is no different.


Volunteer work experience is still work experience.

I am confident that your employer can live with minor discrepancies between the work experience you claim to have in your resume and the background check - It's not as if background checks are fool proof. Background checks, like everything, are based on the available info and it's not as if the available info covers every single detail of your work life. Don't sweat it. Just be prepared to clarify and put into context as needed if they come back to you with questions.

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