A Complete Guide to Amazon Background Check

Amazon is one of the largest hi-tech companies in the world. It’s not only involved in online shopping but also in a diverse variety of other businesses, from cloud services to artificial intelligence to smart home devices.

The Amazon hiring interview process is very competitive. Candidates not only need to pass through a battery of tests and interviews but also a rigorous process called the Amazon Background Check.

This page will provide you with a step-by-step guide for passing the Amazon Background Check, as well as a backup plan for what to do in case you don’t pass the screening for one reason or another.

Amazon Background Check

What is the Amazon Background Check

The Amazon and Amazon Flex Background Check looks at a candidate’s criminal background (both minor and serious offenses in the past seven years), educational and employment history, as well as drug test results. This is usually done following an in-person interview.

And verify that the candidate is trustworthy before accepting him for the job.

Employment Law

Federal employment law in the United States is designed to protect people who have broken the law many years ago but since turned their lives around from the abuse of employment background checks.

For this reason, the law imposes restrictions on the employer’s ability to include certain information that they find during the background checks in their employment consideration.

Most importantly, for the purposes of this article, employers are not permitted to include in their considerations any offenses that took place over seven years ago.

Although employers can perform background checks that reach back as far as ten years into the candidate’s past, they are supposed to consider only offenses committed within the 7-year span.

The Importance of Amazon's Background Check

A company as large as Amazon needs to have a system in place to screen out applicants in a standardized and orderly way. To ensure a safe workplace for the candidates that get accepted to work at Amazon, the company investigates the criminal background of all of its employees.

Background Check Procedures at Amazon

As a matter of policy, Amazon runs a background check on each and every candidate. (Technically speaking, candidates have a legal right to refuse a background check – however, if you do not consent to a background check, you will probably not be accepted for the position you applied for).

Typically Amazon outsources the background check process to an external company that specializes in this type of research.

Most background checks investigate the employee’s past out to 7 years back, although some may look back as far as ten years.

In any event, as we mentioned before, under Federal law, only convictions from the past seven years may be considered when making an employment decision.

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A Breakdown of Amazon's Background Check

The Amazon Background Check consists of several stages, of which the criminal background check is just one. In this section, we explain each step in detail:

Candidate Criminal Background

Amazon’s criminal background check goes over all types of public records that may include information about offenses that a candidate may have committed in the past, although in some cases, it might even go somewhat beyond that. Checking criminal convictions may reveal disorderly conduct or felony offenses that a candidate may have committed in the past.

The fact that a person has a criminal record doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t be hired by Amazon. The company looks at each record based on a range of variables, including the specific offense and the time it occurred.

Candidate Credit Check

In some cases, particularly in the case of certain high-trust positions, Amazon will also go over the candidate’s credit history.

This is intended to help the company avoid hiring candidates with serious financial problems, which are getting in and out of debt for positions where they might be enticed to breach company or customer trust for financial gain.

Work History at Other Companies

Beyond the criminal and credit history, Amazon will also evaluate your employment history with other companies, going back seven years or more.

They will particularly focus on your employment with other large companies, which usually maintain a detailed record of every employee.

In doing so, Amazon will retrieve information about the time you spent employed with these big companies (to see if it matches the claims on your resume) as well as verify whether you have been fired from your job there or left on your own (and if you’ve been fired, they’ll want to know why).

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Educational Background

As part of the company’s employee background checks Amazon will contact the institutions that you listed on your resume to confirm that you did, in fact, attend them and even go back as far as high school.

Reference Check

Amazon uses the services of a company called Accurate Backgrounds to check that the information on a candidate’s resume is accurate.

This is a sort of ‘backstop’ check to ensure that your application is in order and that you have not misled the company in a substantial way.

Drug Testing

Amazon requires drug tests for new employees. New hires need to undergo a physical test where a medical professional will collect a swab sample from their mouth, which will then be sent to a laboratory to be screened for amphetamines, cocaine, and cannabis.

Even after being hired at Amazon, employees (particularly new hires) are sometimes subject to random drug testing, which is part of the requirements if you want to continue working at the company.

Note: Amazon offers equal employment opportunities regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or other legally protected status.

Is There a Timeframe for Processing a Background Check?

For obvious reasons, people are often nervous about waiting for the background report check to be cleared. “How long does the Amazon Background Check take?” is one of the most commonly asked questions about this subject.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Amazon must notify candidates that are disqualified due to their background checks.

The company is very thorough with its background checks, so it can take anywhere from one week to four weeks to complete them. In some situations, it can take even longer – but if the check is taking more than two or three weeks, it’s best to contact Amazon and inquire about the topic.

This is because the reasons for the background check being delayed may often be that there is some problem with the inquiry process – perhaps some information is missing or contradictory, or perhaps Amazon needs your authorization to access your credit data. In such a case, you could actually help them expedite the check by providing your signature where needed.

Once the background check is complete, you will not be required to undergo a background check again during your employment if you are hired by Amazon.

How to Proceed in The Event that You Do Not Pass the Background Check?

Even if you do not pass your background check, this is still not the end of your quest for an Amazon role. First of all, you may be able to appeal the decision with Human Resources, depending on the reason for the decision.

Amazon will provide you with the record of your background check and the reason that you did not pass, so you will be able to clear things up, for example, if the denial is due to conflicting or erroneous information.

Second, in the event that a criminal record comes up, an Amazon representative will talk to you about it. In some cases, you might be able to persuade them to make an exception for you, depending on the context of your conviction.

Even if none of these work out, you might be able to act on the information you received to ensure that you will be able to get hired the next time you apply, for example, by resolving your credit issues or getting your record expunged.

Check Your Background Before They Do

Lorem ipsum dolor sit Today there are online services that candidates can use to ‘background check’ themselves and get an impression of what kind of information a potential employer would get.

These are available on sites such as TruthFinder and Instant Checkmate, and while they’re not free, they’re reasonably priced. 

Get Your Charges Dismissed

Depending on the laws in your jurisdiction, you might get the charges against you dropped or your criminal records expunged. Consult an attorney about the specific process for doing this in the jurisdiction in which you’ve been charged or convicted.

In general, if you succeed at getting the charges dropped or getting the conviction expunged, this will resolve the issue, and the offenses in question will no longer come up on employer background checks.