Employers have many tools at their disposal to make informed hiring decisions. The criminal background check is one of the most popular and widespread tools. However, it is not the only type of background check. To verify employment, companies must look further into an applicant’s background. It is the only way to confirm their experience. This step is often crucial to the process most employers use to select the right people for the job.

Many employers make decisions based in large part on someone’s work experience. A proven ability to do the same or similar job is valuable. Companies must spend less time and money on training when hiring qualified workers. That’s why hiring managers want to pursue candidates who have relevant experience. Smart hiring choices help set the stage for current and future success.

How do background checks verify employment? Criminal history checks consult large databases of compiled criminal records. Social Security verification uses an official government database. Unfortunately, there’s no similar process for checking on someone’s past jobs. Despite some claims, there’s no reliable database to search for previous employers. You’ll need to rely on what a candidate reports to you on their resume. Using that information, you must contact each business to verify the facts with them.

Why Employers Shouldn’t Take Resumes at Face Value

There are good reasons not to rely exclusively on what job applicants report. Unfortunately, lying to prospective employers is very common. Many job seekers believe that “white lies” can help increase their chances of securing a job. In fact, lying about employment is the most common form of resume dishonesty. These lies can take many forms, too.

Applicants might embellish a job title to make them sound more impressive. They could alter dates of employment to hide gaps or inflate their years of experience. They may even make up work responsibilities to appear more accomplished. In extreme cases, some applicants may even invent entire jobs. If you take these resumes at face value, you risk hiring someone who isn’t qualified.

Think of it similarly to running a professional license verification. Verifying that someone has the relevant certification for regulated work makes good sense. You’ll be responsible if it turns out their claims aren’t true. It’s clear there are important reasons to verify employment today.

Remember that you can only go by what an applicant lists on their job application or resume. A notable gap in someone’s resume could be a possible red flag. Long gaps might indicate a job the applicant doesn’t wish to disclose. Often, such concealment relates to losing a job via termination.

However, there are also many other reasons for gaps. Family concerns, health issues, and more could all contribute. Use the interview process to ask about an applicant’s past jobs and any gaps. The answers you receive can help inform your interpretation of the background check results.

How Does a Background Check Verify Employment in Practice?

The employment verification process is simple on the surface. You first obtain contact information for each business. Then, you contact that business and ask about the individual. However, this may be a time-consuming process. When you need to verify multiple jobs for many candidates, the time required adds up. You might not reach every employer on the first try, either.

At backgroundchecks.com, we offer a way to simplify your process. Our Employment Verification service lets you transfer the responsibility to our team. Here’s how our process works after you purchase one of these checks.

  1. We gather the information provided by your applicant about their past job roles.
  2. We contact those employers and ask to speak to Human Resources or a manager.
  3. We explain the purpose and nature of the call and request a verification.
  4. The employer consults their files and provides answers to key questions.
  5. We provide you with a final report.

You’ll need to order a separate report for each employer you wish to verify. At the end of the process, you’ll receive a report that’s easy to read and understand. Each report includes a side-by-side comparison of what your applicant reported and what the business said. Any discrepancies will be easy to detect. You can then factor this information into your decision or ask your applicant further questions.

What Can Companies that Verify Employment Learn?

There are a few essential details to verify when running a background check for employment. Keep in mind that not all companies will speak about past employees. Those that do typically provide only strictly factual information. In the case of our verification checks, you can expect to receive reports that include some or all of the following facts.

  • Date hired and date separated.
  • Positions and job titles held during employment.
  • Job description or job duties.
  • Reasons for leaving.
  • Eligibility for rehire.

With these facts, you can confirm or dispute what your applicant reported.

What You Won’t Hear About During Employment Verification

You can learn important facts when you verify employment. However, there are some things you shouldn’t expect to learn. Employers usually won’t discuss the following facts with those seeking information about ex-employees.

  • Subjective details about an applicant’s job performance.
  • Specific details of accomplishments or projects completed at work.
  • Personnel performance review data.
  • Salary information.

Don’t forget—in some jurisdictions, it’s illegal to ask about or to consider past salary data for compensation purposes. Most employers won’t discuss compensation with others regardless of legality. Many see this information as important competitive information.

For more subjective facts about applicants, use reference checks.

Find Tools to Analyze Applicant Employment History

Is that applicant as talented and experienced as their resume claims? As you seek to answer that question, don’t overlook the importance of a background check to verify employment. With support from backgroundchecks.com, you can equip your process with more hard data. When identifying the most talented applicants, do so with all the facts on hand. Find out more about how to order an employment verification report today.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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