Often times, the employment verification process can overlap that of a reference check if the contact person the job candidate provided is also a hiring manager or HR representative. But this is not always the case, so it is important to maintain a stand-alone employment verification process to ensure you are consistently able to gather all the information necessary to make a wise hiring decision.
Employment verifications should remain an important part of every organization’s background screening process because, even in a job-seeker's economy, candidates continue to be dishonest on their resumes. A 2014 survey by CareerBuilder indicates nearly 60 percent of employers have caught a lie on a candidate’s resume.
In addition to inaccuracies on their resume or application, verifying a candidate's previous employment can explain gaps in work history as well as unfavorable behavior that impacted their work. On a positive note, verifications can also affirm things the candidate has told you about their work history, including their experience and reasons for leaving.
Not really knowing who you're hiring and what their experience and skills really are could result in not only a bad hire, it could result in your organization being held liable to a negligent hiring lawsuit. An employment verification is an important step in the pre-employment screening process that will ensure you are making the safest, most qualified hire for your company.
Four Simple Steps of Employment Verification
1. First, obtain consent from the candidate to contact their previous employer or employers.Gathering at least five years of work history information is standard today, but if the candidate is currently employed with an organization you’d like to contact, you don’t want to unintentionally jeopardize their current work situation if that is a concern for them.
2. Then, contact the job candidate’s previous employer. Phone is a common, though often time-consuming method. If there is another option available to you and you are not able to connect with the previous employer in a timely manner, you may consider trying another method.
Be wary of phone numbers that do not match a company’s published contact information. While it is not always the case, it is possible your candidate could be using a “set up” friend or family member to provide a professional reference.
3. Next, you’ll want to ask some version of the following questions:
Start and end dates of employment
Start and end job title(s)
Reason for leaving
Eligibility for rehire
Remember, consistency is important, as you must comply the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). If you use a background screening organization like Triton Verify, they also need to ensure that they are consistent and compliant.
Also, depending on the previous employer’s disclosure, and potentially their “no reference” policies, you may not be able to gather all the information you’d like about a candidate's work history. Be sure to indicate what questions you were not able to get answered, and be careful not to hold those non-responses against the job candidate when assessing their eligibility for a job with your organization.
4. Finally, many organizations have a standardized form for this process, but whether or not that is the case, be sure to record that the employment verification process was completed in some way, and file it with the candidate’s application information. You may need it if any accusations of discrimination arise.
Though undoubtedly important, the employment verification process can take time. If you’d like to reduce the back-and-forth your HR department may encounter, freeing them up to work on other HR priorities, consider a third-party screening service.
Triton Verify offers comprehensive, pre-employment screening services including employment verification. Contact us and learn how we can save your HR department time now.