What is Employment Verification?

What is Employment Verification?

By Tricia O'Connor

High unemployment numbers mean people have flooded applicant pools and hiring managers can shoot for the best of the best. However, faced with the desperate need for a paycheck, applicants are getting increasingly competitive and cheeky to land a job.

In this study, researchers found 100% of people are willing to fib their way through a job interview.

Verifying previous employment is important because people stretch the truth. And making a bad hire is a very expensive mistake that few companies can afford to make.

Here we discuss the importance of employment verifications and how using a background check company can help safely speed up the hiring process.

Why Candidates Falsify Employment History

More than half our nation’s workforce is looking for a new job in 2021, according to the Workforce Institute 2021 Engagement and Retention report. With this kind of turnover swell, employers are in a hurry to fill a vacancy. Too often, employers take a resume at face value only to find out later their new hire doesn’t have the experience or the skills the candidate claimed.

HR Dive reports 36% of Americans bend the truth on their resumes. Another U.K.-based survey reports 88% of people with intimate knowledge of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) lie on their resumes to avoid being screened out.

Previous employment verification can sometimes uncover small fibs like an applicant who nudges up their previous salary. But it can also uncover outright lies by con artists who claim work experience or work titles they never had.

The most common resume lies are about education, previous dates of employment, and previous salary.

Other common lies according to Indeed.com include:

  • Exaggerating employee impact numbers
  • Inflating titles
  • Lying about technical abilities
  • Claiming language fluency
  • Using a fake address

A background check that includes an employment verification can help employers uncover these discrepancies before extending a job offer.

Why Verify Previous Employment?

Adding employment verification to a background check provides needed insight into many important details to know before extending a job offer to an applicant. Unlike some criminal records checks, there is no searchable database to uncover a candidate’s work history.

Verifying previous employment helps employers:

  • Confirm information provided by an applicant is true
  • Determine if applicant has sufficient work experience and skill set
  • Certify titles, certificates, licenses, and trainings are valid
  • Verify military service

Past employment verifications can also help uncover or explain gaps on a resume or reveal an applicant trying to conceal downtime by stretching start or end dates. Many breaks in employment are legitimate; employment verifications help employers and applicants engage in a healthy conversation about any such gaps.

Additionally, an employment verification performed by an internationally accredited background screening provider provides many advantages to businesses focused on streamlining the hiring process, reducing turnover, and freeing HR departments from repetitive, time-consuming tasks.

What Gets Examined in an Employment Verification?

There are several things to examine in a past employment verification:

EBI Employment Verification Graphic

Credential Check/License Verifications: This verifies the validity of an applicant’s credentials and if they are in good standing.

Professional References: If your company chooses, these verifications include professional references from people who have experience working with your candidate.

Salary: Determines previous compensation rate.

Job Start and End Dates: Confirms times the applicant was employed and provides an opportunity for the applicant to discuss any gaps in job history.

Rehire Eligibility: Determines why an employee left a job; if they are eligible for rehire, they likely left in good standing.

Reason for Leaving: Highlights why an applicant exited a company and provides an opportunity to discuss the reason they parted ways.

Titles Held: This certifies the applicant held specific job tiles.

Job Duties: Verifies an applicant’s day-to-day responsibilities, skill sets, and other experiences that could give more insight than just knowing their job title.

How to Verify Employment

Before you do any kind of verification, you are required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to disclose to your candidate you will be looking into their background. They must sign an authorization to allow you to do any kind of background screening. However, a candidate may deny you permission to contact a current or previous employer, but you can ask them to provide other proof such as a paystub or W-2.

Apart from the Department of Transportation’s requirement to go three years back, there are no real restrictions as to how far back an employment verification can go. Seven years seems to be an industry standard among many organizations EBI serves.

Verifying Employment with a Consumer Reporting Agency

Now get ready for a shock. It turns out crafting a misleading resume might work for some applicants.

A new survey of nearly 2,000 people published by a leading resume builder shows 54% of hiring managers agree it’s acceptable to modify your job title on a resume. Forty-three percent also agree that lying about a job title is okay when the title doesn’t reflect an applicant’s actual responsibilities.

We must admit, we find this information stunning and a little hard to believe. As a leading background check provider who routinely works with our clients to vet candidates, we’ve yet to encounter a hiring manager who willfully foregoes seeking the truth about an applicant. In fact, reference checks, verifications, and credentialing are more important than ever as candidates become increasingly tech-savvy and as more businesses resort to remote hiring.

Partnering with a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) like EBI can streamline the employment verification process. We have an entire verifications team dedicated to delivering these services with utmost accuracy while ensuring your program is compliant.

Safer, Smarter Screening with EBI

Unfortunately, the job market is volatile. Verifying a candidate’s past employment is a valuable tool to make sure you truly know who you are hiring, and they are prepared to be strong members of your team.

Accreditation with the Professional Background Screeners Association (PBSA) ensures you are partnering with a background screening firm that has proven its dedication to the industry’s best practices. These companies – of which EBI is a longtime member – are committed to the highest levels of accuracy, dependability, security, and transparency.

EBI is widely known for delivering safer and smarter background checks that improve the candidate experience, streamline HR processes, and safeguard your company culture and bottom line. Employment verification is an important step in this process as candidates get more creative to stand out from the crowd. For more information on our award-winning background check services, contact us today.

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About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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