Why Is Employment Verification During the Hiring Process Important?

When you read a job candidate’s resume, do you take everything on the page at face value? That might not be the best course of action—especially in exceedingly competitive job markets. In practice, you may not always receive the honest answers you’d like to see from candidates. If you don’t express some skepticism, you leave your business open to possible fraud. Such risks make employment verification vital.

Would it be faster and easier if you could accept all the information on a resume as true? Of course. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality of the current hiring environment. Verifying all the most important information on a candidate’s CV, such as their educational history and track record of employment, is a vital form of due diligence today. Consider why that’s so. 

Dishonesty Among Job-Seekers Is a Consistent Problem

It’s hard to know how many people actually lie on resumes and job applications, but surveys continue to provide shocking results. In one, almost three-quarters of all respondents said they’d stretched the truth or lied on their resume. If that’s the number willing to admit to it, how many more people have been dishonest but kept it to themselves?

Most falsehoods in resumes occur in the academic section. Individuals want to appear more educated and skilled than they may be. The next popular category with lies is the employment history section. Applicants may feel they have no choice but to inflate their experience, especially when many employers demand multiple years of experience for entry-level positions.

Expanding dates of service, lying about job titles or responsibilities, and even falsely claiming significant project successes are all possibilities. Calling a candidate’s prior employers to confirm the information you’ve received is critical for uncovering these fabrications and protecting your business. Here’s why you should care about accessing the truth.

The Three Key Reasons Verification of Employment Matters

Adding another step to the workflow isn’t always appealing to companies that field many job applicants and continuously engage in screening. However, you can’t risk overlooking important information with widespread resume inaccuracies. As you explore how to improve this part of your process, three reasons define the importance of this effort.

First, you want qualified candidates, and you deserve to know the person you offer a job is indeed eligible for the position. When you define the criteria for hiring someone into a role, why should you compromise on those requirements? You set experience requirements for a reason, so verify that candidates meet your expectations.

Second, you must protect your business from fraud and potential harm. If someone could lie to secure a job, what other dishonesty might you expect once they work for you? It could start with a simple resume lie, but it could lead to fraud, embezzlement, and more. The result becomes a serious expense to your business and could damage your reputation.

Finally, proper vetting is crucial for fostering a positive working environment and building teams that can maintain daily operations. Coworkers want to trust one another and need to know that everyone has completed the same process to earn their place in the business. Screening every candidate’s employment history ensures consistency, simplifies compliance, and helps you build a better business.

There’s good news, too: This is one of the easiest forms of pre-employment screening.

How Do You Conduct a Background Check With Employment Verification?

Before you begin, remember that this type of screening is considered a background check regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Like any vetting, you must obtain an applicant’s written consent and provide a standalone disclosure of their rights. You don’t need to provide separate disclosures for every form of screening but don’t forget that important step.

With that requirement satisfied, you only need to contact a candidate’s previous employers using the information on the resume. Ask to speak to a Division Manager or the HR Manager in the business. State your name, business, and reason for calling, then ask to make arrangements for confirming that a candidate worked there.

Remember that you will typically only receive information such as dates of service and job title(s), as employers won’t risk possible lawsuits for speaking about an individual’s actual performance.

In high-volume hiring environments, this process may prove cumbersome and time-consuming. Working with your preferred background check provider, you could transfer this responsibility to that team. As a part of the comprehensive report you receive on a candidate’s background, you could request a section based on verifying employment.

What You Can Do if You Discover a Candidate Lied

Most employers see resume lies as immediately disqualifying. If you deny a candidate a job based on the information you uncovered using employment verification services, you should follow the FCRA’s “adverse action” guideline. You may also ask the candidate to provide proof of employment if they believe that the answer you received was in error.

Is Verifying Employment the Same as Reference Checks?

No. Candidates often list references separate from past employers, although an overlap between the two sections is possible. Nonetheless, the processes are quite different. References provide personal insight into a candidate’s character and work ethic and often come from potentially biased sources, such as friendly colleagues. 

On the other hand, employment verification is only about confirming objective facts about someone’s work history. Verifying employment and checking references are both important processes. One cannot supplant the other. Instead, they should complement each other to provide the broadest, clearest view of a candidate’s suitability.

As an Employer, How Should You Respond to Requests? 

The purpose of this process is clear—but you won’t be the only person with these concerns. Occasionally, you may field inquiries from other companies requesting information to confirm employment in your organization. Remember, you should not stray beyond the facts. Doing so could put you at risk if an applicant misses out on a job opportunity and discovers it was because of something your referee said. 

Instead, provide what you’d expect to see yourself: hire date, last day, and the job roles of candidates. Ensure your HR teams have the appropriate training to respond to such requests.

Examine Your Vetting Processes for Reliability Today

There are many reasons why employment verification is important, from detecting fraud to building a trustworthy team. Take a closer look at your hiring process, and make sure you don’t let vital information slip through the cracks. Developing confidence in the candidates you choose to interview is much simpler, with a strategy for scrutinizing resumes and services to help you do so swiftly.

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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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