Friday, June 20, 2008

Background Investigations

Background investigations typically happen after you've applied, been screened during the application process, are interviewed and are then assessed. This often where applicants with a lack of volunteer involvement, post secondary education or work consistency get turned down. If you're competitive enough you will be put through to the background investigation portion. Some services will just put you through their background when you're successful with interviews however, some will first assess your application/resume and make a decision from there compared against other applicants who are also waiting for their background investigation. If selected to move on to the background investigation, a specific investigator will be assigned to your check, they will check with your school, volunteer, work and personal character references. Now, keep in mind you've offered these references but at anytime you could receive a call saying that you need to supply extra references as the ones you've provided could not be contacted or any variety of issues that could occur. Also this is the time when your pre-background questionnaire is drawn upon for reference against traffic accidents, tickets, criminal charges etc. Typically they take four weeks but can take as little as two weeks. Problems with the length of your background investigation occur if you were not born in Canada, have studied outside of Canada or lived abroad.

Letters of reference are great for this process because you know exactly what the person who wrote the letter feels about you. Letters of reference can even be from your friends/personal character reference. Letters of reference are great to bring along with your during your early interview stages, put them in your portfolio along with your OACP COR, other certificates/awards. I highly recommend having letters of reference written specifically to the job you're applying for, either "I have no hesitations in recommending ______ for a career with the _________ Police Service."

A quick note about references: Don't just assume that because someone agrees to writing you a letter of reference or agrees to be a reference that they will give you a good reference. Letters of reference in sealed envelopes intended only for the recipient can be bad news if you're not sure that the reference writing the letter is absolutely happy with you. Also, make sure you references are available, because they write a letter doesn't mean they're off the hook.

If you don't have any letters of reference, dig up your old bosses, current bosses, teachers etc. and have them write something simple. Make sure they include the date, their name, mailing address and a phone where they can be reached. If they're having a hard time writing one or don't know what to do, use google to search reference letter form generators or simply "how to write a letter of reference."

Background checks include credit checks and it's important that you take the responsibility to use the resources out there to check your credit score and determine if it needs to be improved upon.


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