Can a Background Check Reveal Past Employers?

By Michael Klazema on 2/1/2019

It's a fact: job seekers often lie on their resumes. According to a 2017 survey conducted by executive search firm OfficeTeam, 46 percent of workers know someone who has lied on a resume. In 2011, when the company last asked this question, only 21 percent of respondents said they knew a resume liar.

While these lies can crop up on any part of a resume, including in the education section, the OfficeTeam survey found that the two most common forms of resume dishonesty had to do with past employers: job experience and job duties or responsibilities.

The trend of resume fabrication puts employers and hiring managers in a tight spot. Most hiring decisions are grounded in matters of employment experience. Hiring managers are looking for people whose work histories show an ability to perform the job at hand. If candidates are lying about their past jobs—whether by embellishing job responsibilities, tweaking job titles to make them sound more impressive, or fabricating jobs entirely—how can employers make informed decisions about who to hire? They’re left to wonder whether a background check can reveal a candidate’s past employers.

The simple answer is no. No background check can return a list or database of the jobs that a person has held over the years. However, there is a background check that can verify the information provided in the “Work History” section of a candidate’s resume: at, we offer an employment verification background check.

Using this product, employers can share data provided by applicants about past jobs or employment opportunities. Our investigators contact the companies or employers listed on a resume to verify crucial details. These details include job titles, employment dates (both start and end dates), and job responsibilities. If a candidate has fabricated or embellished parts of his or her employment history, our verification check will uncover those lies.

In some cases, an employment verification background check will also include the applicant’s reason for leaving their previous job or their eligibility to be rehired by the same company. However, it is important to note that past employers will not always be willing to discuss these details in the course of a routine work history check.

Businesses have been sued by past employees for defamation over things said in these phone calls. As a result, HR managers will typically focus on verifying or denying objective facts about past employees—things like employment dates, job titles, and duties—but avoid tiptoeing into more subjective judgments.

More subjective opinions of a person’s job performance, dependability, character, and ability are typically reserved for professional references. When a candidate provides a list of past bosses, colleagues, or other individuals to speak on their behalf, hiring managers can contact those individuals to discuss more far-ranging matters. can also perform reference checks on your behalf alongside criminal history screenings and employment history background checks. We also offer two other types of verification checks—for education history and professional licenses—if there are other parts of your resume or an applicant’s resume that you would like to check for validity.


Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • March 19 is a popular destination for individuals seeking nannies, day cares, babysitters, and caregivers. What many users don’t realize is that the company does not vet the caregivers on its site.
  • March 19 — Whether you are a job seeker looking for an hourly position or a business owner trying to structure an hourly employment strategy, you may be curious about which companies offer the best hourly jobs.
  • March 18 Background checks for jobs at banks are typically focused on finding qualified candidates with no history of finance-related crimes.
  • March 18 — A common misconception is that salaried positions are a cut above hourly jobs regarding overall earnings. While this belief is usually true, it can be misleading.
  • March 15 Community-serving organizations turn to for reliable, detailed, and consistent employee vetting services. 
  • March 14 Adults working near children face increasing levels of scrutiny to maintain a safe environment. In some cases, these positions go unfilled—and some blame the process.
  • March 12 If a customer or client asks to see the results of an employee’s background check, can the employer share that information? Never without written authorization.
  • March 12 Utah legislators are considering a new bill that would automate much of the expungement process. Under the law, ex-offenders eligible for expungement would have their records automatically wiped clean.
  • March 07 — LightSpeed Communications is a company dedicated to bringing customers, businesses, and their communities into the new age of internet communications. Based in Michigan, LightSpeed has already made headway in bringing fiber optic networks to four of the state’s biggest cities. In this case study they describe how and why they use for employment screening.
  • March 07 After more than a year of wrangling and debate, Virginia Beach's city council adopted a resolution affirming a requirement for background checks on food truck employees.