How to Verify Past Employment History

  •  04/05/2018
  • By Andrea Collatz
  •  Criminal Background , Employer

How to Verify Past Employment History

How do you know your job applicant is truthful regarding their workforce experience? Without verifying employment, you could waste money on a time-consuming, expensive onboarding process—only to find that your new employee has no proficiency at all in your respective industry.

Fortunately, verifying employment history of your candidate is easy to do. Verifying candidates’ work records won’t take much time, or cost much money—if any at all—and it’s a necessary step you should take to reduce the risk of a wrong hire.

What Does Employment Verification Show?

To verify the past employment history of your job applicants, make a detailed list of the items you expect to uncover. In some cases—especially if you’re verifying a candidate’s former employment at a job held many years ago—you might not be able to receive much information; regardless, you should always try to get as many relevant specifics as possible. A comprehensive employment verification process should:

  • Verify title: Title indicates the role or position the employee held. Common designations include manager, shift lead, associate, and so on. If a resume lists past leadership experience, make sure those statements are accurate.

  • Verify credentials and licensure: Some roles require certain credentials, such as teachers, doctors, and even bus drivers. If you’re hiring for a position with special requirements, it’s imperative to ensure your candidate is properly certified or credentialed.

  • Verify Tenure with company/organization: Ensure your job candidate worked at their previous place of employment for the amount of time indicated on their resume.

  • Verify position details, and the types of work performed: The job market is vast and wide, and work positions such as “Administrative Assistant” are not one in the same. When verifying past employment, make sure to clarify the position held and the tasks performed—especially if the role is ambiguous.

Why Verify Employment History?

As noted, verifying employment history allows employers to double-check that the information reported on a candidate’s resume is correct—and resume inaccuracies are more common than you might expect. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 58% of hiring managers say they have caught incorrect information on applicant’s resumes.

employers should check for resume inaccuracies  

Their report states that common resume inconsistencies include:

  • Dates of employment
  • Job title
  • Job duties

Identifying these patterns can help protect your business from making the wrong hire, as your next job offer should go to a candidate with long-term prospects for success at your company—and who’s vested in its future success. Considering that nearly 1 in 3 new hires look for new employment within their first six months on the job, it’s important to find candidates that are in it for the long haul.

new employee turnover can be significant 

Taking the time away from your daily duties to train a new employee, only for them to quit merely weeks or months later, can be expensive and detract from your bottom line.

How Do I Verify Employment and Work History for a Potential Job Candidate?

When you’re ready to verify past employment for your job candidate, there are at least two routes to choose from:

  1. Hire a Third Party Employment Verification Service

Outsourcing employment verification is appealing because it takes the responsibility off your hands. You can free up your time and energy to focus on your company while waiting for the results of the search.

The drawback, however, is how much hiring a third party company could cost—and how long it can take. By the time you find a company whose services suit your needs, you then need to wait for them to gather verifiable proof of employment using candidate-provided information; if your candidate has not yet provided the information that they need, you’ll have to wait for that too. You’ll also need to assure compliance with federal regulations; before using a third-party verification service, make sure their methods are compliant with all applicable laws.

  1. D-I-Y Employment Verification

You can also perform a do-it-yourself employment verification. It may take a bit of time out of your day, but it’s relatively simple to do, and well worth the effort. If you decided to verify past employment yourself, be sure to:

  • Call references: Too many employers don’t ask for or contact the references provided on a candidate’s resume. These references can help you confirm important information and get a better idea of the candidate’s aptitude for an open position.
call references 
  • Use independently-found contact information: To ensure objective information, reach out to past employers using contact information you found independently—not only what’s listed on the resume. If they say their direct report was “John Smith” at “Company X”, run a simple internet search including the company name to check that the contact information online is consistent with what’s included on the resume. If it’s not, don’t panic immediately; you might have been provided their cell phone number versus their public listing, for example.

However, if you should run into such a discrepancy, make sure to contact both emails and phone numbers to double-check the information is accurate.

resume reference sheet from a candidate 

ShareAble for Hires is not an employment verification service. But to improve their chances of making a great hire, employers turn to ShareAble for Hires for employment screening. We provide FCRA-approved pre employment background checks, which gives you access to:

  • National Sex Offender Registry check
  • National Most Wanted database check
  • Federal Watch Lists check
  • Instant State and County Check
  • SSN and Name Match Report
  • Deceased Persons SSN Check
  • Current & Previous Addresses
  • Full Credit Report
  • Employment records where available

While ShareAble for Hires doesn’t verify past employment, we complement your own verification with thorough screening services. ShareAble for Hires offers criminal background checks and employment credit checks delivered within minutes to help you confirm your hiring decision and have peace of mind.

Senior Marketing Analyst, TransUnion ShareAble

Andrea Collatz

She focuses on topics that empower small business owners through data, insights and industry best practices.

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