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Can Background Checks Show Employment History?

By Michael Klazema on 2/20/2019

Employment history is an important consideration when vetting any candidate for a job. It is also one of the areas in which job applicants are most likely to stretch their truth on their resumes. To make themselves appear more impressive to prospective employers, some job seekers will tweak past job titles or embellish work responsibilities. If a candidate has a long gap in their resume, he or she may also lie about employment dates.

Dishonesty is always a problem for prospective employers. For one thing, if a hiring manager is deciding who to hire based primarily on work history, he or she needs to be confident that the resume is truthful and accurate. For another thing, dishonesty is not a quality that employers want in their workers. For these reasons, employers are becoming increasingly interested in background checks that can verify employment history.

Can background checks show employment history? Is there a background check under which you can type in a candidate’s name and see a list of all the places they’ve worked, their job titles, their employment dates, and other details?

No such database or background check exists; there is no public record of where people have worked over the years. As an alternative, the most conclusive means of verifying employment history is to call the companies for which the job applicant claims to have worked.

Running this background check on your candidates is smart because you are going directly to the source. You aren’t relying on a database of information that could be outdated or using something like a LinkedIn profile that typically matches the candidate’s resume. Instead, you are contacting the employers listed on the resume and asking them to confirm or deny the information the candidate provided.

At backgroundchecks.com, we offer this employment history background check as one of our verification screenings. On your behalf, we can contact one or more of the employers listed on your candidate’s resume. Once we get in touch with someone from the company or organization, we will ask questions about employment dates, job titles, job responsibilities, reasons for leaving, and eligibility for rehiring. If your applicant claimed to be a “marketing manager” but was really just a “marketing copywriter,” an employment history verification check will reveal that information. The same goes for other inaccuracies. Click here for a sample employment verification report.

What a verification check won’t include is questions about character. Most employers are not willing to answer questions about candidates that veer beyond objective fact into opinion. In the past, employers have been sued for defamation based on remarks made in these types of background checks. As such, most employers are careful about what they say. However, most will be willing to verify basic resume facts.

For a background check that focuses more on character, consider backgroundchecks.com’s reference verification check.


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