Your skills qualify you for the job you are interviewing for and you hit it off with your interviewer. They tell you that unofficially, you have the job. They just need to do a background check and get the paperwork in order. Once everything clears, you are hired! However, you are worried that your potential employer will discover something on your background check that will put you in jeopardy of getting the position.
Background checks are standard procedure for job positions. They are also standard for other needs, like trying to get a home or an apartment.
They are legal to do so long as the company complies with the federal and state laws on conducting background checks. The employer just wants to know if you have once been arrested for a crime. When they conduct the background check, misdemeanors and felonies that have occurred in the last 7 years will show up. Infractions and any crimes that you were charged for that occurred over 7 years ago will not show up on your background check.
Additionally, if you received a pardon on a conviction, then that conviction will not show up on a background check. Sealed and expunged records will also not appear on background checks. Finally, if you had successfully completed a diversion program because of an arrest, then that arrest does not show up on your record either.
The chances of the employer denying you a job purely because of your criminal record is slim. If you are worried, you can discuss your concerns, but only if the employer brings up the topic.