Pre-employment Background Check: List ALL previous Employers??

I have done a search on “employment background checks” and have found many threads; however, did not see that my particular situation was addressed…sorry if I just missed it.

I moved from Minneapolis to Iowa a year and a half ago to go back to school, and left my job of four years to do so. Since moving here, I haven’t been working regularly…I’ve kind of lost count, but I’ve had around 6 or 7 jobs, each lasting from 3 days to 3 months. I now work in an office part time, whenever they need help and it fits in with my school schedule. Now I’m looking for a “real” part-time job. I have experience in the travel industry, and applied for a ticket counter/gate agent position this past week. I was told that I have the job provided I pass the FBI background check and drug test. I have no criminal record and haven’t smoked pot in many months. Here’s the part that I’m kind of worried about: They gave me a massive packet of stuff to fill out, apparently they need to know ALL of my addresses the past ten years, driver’s and passport numbers…okay, that’s fine. I also need to list all employers the last ten years. The past ten years I’ve had one job that I held for four years, two at 1 year each, and one at two years…where I am currently, I’m counting as one year, as I started last January and have been working intermitently, except for three months as one job not on my resume. The ten years is sprinkled with little bits of what looks like unemployment here and there, I never collected unemployment/disability or anything, I just either wasn’t working, or was at a job I didn’t stay long at. There’s NO way I can list ALL of the places I’ve worked so here’s my question. Does the FBI background check show every place that I’ve submitted a w-2 (I think that’s the name of it) for? I don’t want to list all the places I’ve worked (and probably wouldn’t be able to draw up a true complete list anyway going back 10 years) so I don’t look flaky but I’m afraid I’ll be disqualified if they find out I wasn’t entirely forthcoming about all of my jobs. Anybody have any advice?

I should also say, I worked at a place a year ago that required listing all places worked going back 7 years, of course I omitted the short term jobs (I was never fired, they were just shitty jobs that I quit) and I did get the position. I know they did a background check because the company that did it called me TWICE to ask questions about a business which had closed that I worked for. The fact that it’s an FBI background check just makes it sound a lot more ominous.

The FBI is not in the business of performing background checks as a service for private industry. They FBI is not going to get a file of names from the airline and send agents out to conduct background checks on them.

This is not an application for a security clearance, just a job, right? I would say you should list the jobs that were substantive. If it were for a government security clearance I would say you should pour your heart out, but this will be basically a cursory criminal background check, and possibly spot checks of some past employers, although past employers never say anything anymore except to confirm you worked there.

I think the reference to the FBI might be in reference to a national database of criminal records or something, but I don’t have the straight dope on that. I agree that it is just supposed to sound impressive.

The airline will not have any access to W-2 data. Even the FBI would need a warrant to get it. I have recently completed the IRS training for unauthorized access of data and even the IRS can’t access your W-2 data unless it is directly relevant to a case they are working on (that is, they can’t just go fishing around without cause).

I have no specific knowledge about background checks, but one important principle they look for is honesty. So maybe try this:
Since you can’t even remember all the short-time jobs you had, maybe in one of the forms where they ask you to write about your general background, you could write a sentence or two about “having held numerous part-time, minumum wage jobs for very short periods of time”. This will give you a bit of cover if they accuse you of covering up something.

List all you can, do the best you can. See, there’s a huge difference between accidently forgetting a job that only lasted a month, and deliberately ommiting it. That last is lying, and will get your ass shit-canned real fast.

So, do the best you can. Do tell them that there could have been a PT job during a period you can’t remember.