The typical background check goes back seven years. The ability exists for a background check to extend further beyond the seven-year mark. However, there are laws that restrict how certain types of information gleaned beyond the seven-year mark are used in an employment setting.
Background checks are most commonly utilized in the process of screening prospective employees. These background checks typically involve an examination of credit histories and criminal records, if any. Some states in the U.S. prohibit the use of background information over seven years old in hiring decisions. Other states permit exceptions for certain types of crimes, including certain types of felonies associated with honesty as well as crimes involving the abuse of children.