If you have an open job position at your company and are looking for the best candidate to fill the role, you will likely collect multiple resumes from eager potential employees. This first step in the hiring process helps you determine who has the knowledge, skills, and experience to do the job at hand.
However, did you know that resumes are not always the best representation of a candidate’s past employment history?
Multiple studies have been conducted over the years all with the same conclusion: many applicants lie on their resume. In fact, in one study, over 50% of employers say they have caught a lie on a resume.
As an employer, what can you do to ensure the candidate you choose truly does have the experience listed on their resume?
You can verify their past work history to ensure proof of employment.
At iprospectcheck, we provide quick and accurate employment verification services for many different companies every day.
Discover everything you need to know about the employment verification process to ensure you hire the best, most qualified candidate for your open position.
What is Employment Verification?
Employment verification is the process of confirming a job candidate’s past work history. Doing so ensures the candidate has the experience necessary to perform the intended job well. Employment verification can also reveal false employment claims, gaps in employment, or fabrication of job titles.
Employment verifications are an important part of the pre-employment screening process because they help reveal if your candidates are trustworthy and a good fit for the job.
How Do I Verify a Job Candidate’s Past Employment?
Taking the steps necessary to verify a candidate’s past employment history is an important aspect of the hiring process. It will ensure the candidate has the experience and previous job responsibility needed to qualify for the position.
Whereas “resume padding” and inaccurate work history are all too common, as an employer, you can do your part in ensuring you hire a qualified candidate.
To verify a candidate’s employment history, an employer–or HR team member–will need to contact each workplace listed on the applicant’s resume to determine if the applicant was employed there, how long they were employed, and the job titles held during their employment.
On your own, this process includes these steps:
- Obtain a resume from the applicant in consideration.
- Call each workplace listed on the applicant’s resume; for the most accurate results, use phone numbers obtained on your own to ensure they are credible.
- Confirm with each company the dates the candidate was employed and what job titles they had during employment.
- You will find that many employers will inform you that they use a third-party verification company to provide the information that you seek. They will not respond to your inquiry. They will direct you to one of over thirty third-party verification providers. For each third-party verification company, you will set up an account, pay the fee (ranging from $30 to $75 per inquiry) and then acquire the verification.
- A surprisingly large number of employers will actually ask you to fax your request to them. Yes, even in 2020 many employers still use faxes. They may require that you provide a copy of the signed authorization to release the information from the candidate. Then, you wait for their response.
This process can be long, expensive and time-consuming, especially if a candidate has an extensive work history or has held multiple positions within a company. Waiting for callbacks from their past employers and making multiple attempts at reaching a company can make the hiring process more difficult and take longer than necessary.
Complicating the process is the fact that many companies simply no longer exist, or get acquired by other companies. These events can greatly complicate the process of verifying past employment.
A more streamlined approach to the employment verification process involves utilizing a third-party background check company, such as iprospectcheck, for verification services in conjunction with your background screening program.
If you choose to obtain a background check–rather than just employment verification itself–you will need to follow the regulations set out by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Simply put, according to the FCRA, if you utilize a third-party background check company for pre-employment screenings, you must inform your applicant of your intent to run a background check on them prior to the process taking place. This notification must include the contact information of the company that will be conducting the screening.
When you partner with a knowledgeable and experienced company, they will take care of the rest. At iprospectcheck, we help you stay compliant throughout the employment verification process and get you the information quickly and accurately.
What Information can an Employer Release for Employment Verification?
Although there are no federal laws that restrict what information a past employer can release to a potential employer, many states have their own laws as to what can be shared.
The following are examples of what employment verification may include:
- Job performance
- Reason for termination or separation
- Knowledge, qualifications, and skills
- Length of employment
- Pay level and wage history (where legal)
- Disciplinary action
- Professional conduct
- “Work-related information”
As an employer, it is important to ensure you only request information that you are legally authorized to use during the hiring process based on your state’s specific laws.
You can avoid overstepping state laws by partnering with effective legal counsel that is familiar with the information that you should use when considering suitability for employment. You should request only the information you are able to use to make your hiring decision.
How Long Does Employment Verification Take?
If you choose to use internal team members, such as your HR department, to verify a candidate’s employment history, the time it takes to complete the process will vary based on several factors, including:
- How many applicants you are screening
- How many team members are working on the verifications
- How many jobs each applicant has to verify
- How easy it is to obtain correct contact information for their past jobs
- How fast an applicant’s past employers provide you with the information
For these reasons, doing employment verifications on your own can take weeks to complete. This is detrimental for companies, as waiting weeks can cause issues in the job hiring process and may even cause your applicant to look elsewhere for a job.
However, if you go through a background check company such as iprospectcheck, employment verifications for each applicant can be completed as quickly as one to three days, enabling you to hire new, qualified employees more quickly.
How Far Back Does Employment Verification in a Background Check Go?
Whereas background checks can generally only report the past seven years when it comes to criminal history, employment verification does not have the same guidelines.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, employment verifications are considered “neutral,” in that the information is neither positive nor negative. Due to this, there are no restrictions on how far back employment verifications can go on a background check.
Any job held by an applicant at any time can be reported and reviewed for employment purposes.
Do All Employers do Employment Verification?
Although some employers choose not to verify applicants’ past employment history, most companies do take this vital step in the pre-employment process.
Due to the number of applicants who choose to claim falsified information on their resumes, as an employer, it is best practice to confirm the information stated for yourself. This will help protect you and your company from potential harm, such as time and money lost from having to train multiple employees who were not prepared for the job.
If you decide to conduct a pre-employment background check on your applicant to gain a complete picture of who they are, their qualifications, and their criminal history (if they have one), employment verifications are often included.
At iprospectcheck, we have different options so you only pay for the information you need, whether that includes background checks alone or a more complete background check that includes employment verifications.
What Happens if You Cannot Verify Employment Using Standard Protocols?
If you cannot verify employment history for a candidate, there are additional steps that can be taken to ensure this information is obtained promptly.
First, if you utilize a background check company to conduct your screenings, the company may request that the job applicant to provide copies of W-2s or paystubs for each year they were employed at various companies. These documents should undergo scrutiny for authenticity.
In most cases, a background check company will be able to obtain and verify the information you need in a timely manner.
If you are verifying past employment yourself and are unable to reach your applicant’s past employer, you may consider asking the applicant to reach out to the company or connect you with someone directly.
iprospectcheck: Your Trusted Partner for Employment Verification & More
The employment verification process can be complicated and time-consuming. However, it is a vital step in the pre-employment screening process as it ensures the candidate you are reviewing truly has the experience they listed on their resume.
At iprospectcheck, we help you save time and money by completing this process for you with our fast, effective, and accurate employment verification services.
Contact us today to learn more about your options for adding verifying the employment history of to your background checks for your job candidates.
DISCLAIMER: The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Consult your counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.