Globally, instances of falsification and exaggeration of employment experience among job candidates are widespread. According to a survey report in Career Builder, 58% of employers have caught a lie on a resume. For employers, undertaking employment verification of work experience claimed by candidates is as essential as verifying their skills for the role.
What is Employment Verification?
Employment verification confirms a candidate’s work experience or present job status. This helps verify if the candidate has the required experience to perform well in the role considered.
It also helps uncover false or exaggerated claims, breaks in employment history, and cooked-up job titles. During employment verification, the firm considering the candidate for a role reaches out to past employers. It confirms the nature of the role, title, duration of employment, reasons for leaving, etc.
Employment verification often also comprises other checks such as background verification, identity check, criminal history check, and education record. Such detailed checks help obtain a rounded assessment of an individual’s abilities and fit for the organisation. The #1 reason that background checks are undertaken is to avoid job fraud.
The number of years of employment history to be verified depends on the job’s nature. For example, verifying the previous three years of employment might be adequate for entry-level jobs. For senior positions, verification of a longer period of employment would be required. The length of experience verified also depends on the responsibilities entailed n the role. For example, employment history verification since licensing would be required for doctors and nurses.
Employment Verification – Why is it Important?
Organisations undertake employment verification of candidates to safeguard themselves against future trouble. The reasons that employment verification is important because:
- Verification of Trustworthiness. Once an individual is hired, the person has access to insider information on the firm’s assets, operational processes, company’s finances, and financial information. This access can be misused by someone who turns out to be untrustworthy. A breach of trust by the individual, through theft or leakage of confidential information, has direct negative consequences for the firm. Besides the direct consequences, the firm also suffers long-term adverse impacts on the organisation’s work culture, reputation, and brand.
- Wrong Hires. Despite the best in-house hiring processes, mistakes do happen. Every employer will admit to having made wrong hires. Pre-employment verification helps eliminate/reduce hiring mistakes and improves the efficiency of the hiring process. According to a survey, making a wrong hire, on average, costs a firm $15,000 and losing a good hire – $30,000.
- Employee Turnover. Employment verification and screening help prevent employee turnover arising from employee termination due to theft, fraud, etc. Verification helps check for alignment of values between the organisation and prospective hires. Greater alignment in values enhances retention.
- Customer Relationships. A wrong hire might interact poorly with customers – negatively impacting customer relationships. Poor customer relationships eventually hurt business performance and profits.
How is Employment Verification Conducted?
The check of a candidate’s employment verification involves the following steps:
- Notify the candidate in writing of the background check. This notification is in addition to the employment application.
- Obtain the written consent of the candidate to the employment verification.
- If employment verification is a mandatory component of the hiring process, it must be explicitly stated in the organisation’s hiring policies.
- The candidates need to be informed about the background checks being undertaken on them.
Conducting a reference check is also a trusted means of employment verification. Reference checks involve speaking to the candidate’s former colleague(s) or manager(s). Such conversations help ascertain the candidate’s professional skills, strengths/weaknesses, and attitude to work – enabling a better assessment of the candidate’s fit with the organisation.
An appointment letter or a relieving letter issued by a previous employer becomes formal proof of current/former employment. Such letters include details of the candidate’s past organisation (name of the company, location, contact details, etc.), the candidate’s job title, employment period, and responsibilities.
During employment verification, salary slips and pay stubs are also widely accepted as proof of employment. This also helps establish the candidate’s compensation.
Sharing Candidate Information
Each country has laws stipulating the information that firms can legally use to verify during hiring. Candidate information shared during employment verification includes:
- Performance at work.
- Reasons for leaving.
- Role title, job description, and responsibilities.
- Period of tenure.
- Salary, allowances, and perks.
- Discipline and general conduct.
- Miscellaneous work-related information that may affect the hiring decision.
Employers are expected to comply with the applicable local rules regarding sharing of candidate information. Potential employers, too, must only seek legally authorized information. So, to comply with all the legal requirements related to employee verification, some businesses choose to avail of the services of specialist third-party agencies for the verification process. Such specialist agencies complete employment verification, ensuring compliance with the legal requirements.
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What happens if a candidate fails employment verification?
In most cases, failing employment verification will disqualify the candidate for the job being considered for. However, a red flag leading to disqualification from one company might need not lead to the same result everywhere.
How long does it take companies to verify employment?
Ordinarily, employment verification can be completed in about 72 hours. However, there can be instances and reasons when it can take longer.
Do companies call previous employers for employment verification?
Yes, companies will call former employers to verify previous job titles, roles, duration of employment, etc.