It is common for employers to request a criminal background check when you apply for a job. If you have a criminal history, this may make you think twice about applying for any job that runs a background check. 

However, GoodHire explains that every background check is different and may not uncover all details of your past criminal history. What information the check reveals depends on the type of background check. 

Types of background checks

An employer can run a background check at the county level, which only checks records within your county. A statewide check will cover all records in the state. These are the least restrictive. They will generally bring up any charge you had within the state and within the county where you live. These types of checks usually use only your Social Security number. 

The more expansive background checks are federal and nationwide. Federal checks go through the federal system and nationwide checks search local, federal and state records. You will generally have to provide your fingerprints for these background checks. 

Information from background checks

The background check your employer conducts will show felonies and misdemeanors. They will list any charges and convictions. Some may show arrest records as well. There may be limits due to state and federal laws for how far back your background check may go. 

Some background checks may show more extensive information. It depends on what your employer asks for when ordering it. It also depends on whether your employer asks you to provide your fingerprints. Fingerprinting will usually mean a more extensive investigation.