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Work History Verification

Employment Verifications
Employment History Verifications are conducted by contacting previous employers to verify an applicant’s job title and tenure. We ask about the applicant’s reasons for leaving and eligibility for rehire. We also ask if there are problem areas that a prospective employer should be made aware of. Work History Verifications are an important part of a thorough background check.

An Employment History Verification is sometimes referred to as an Employment History Background Check or a Work History Verification. Reference Checks (obtaining a personal or professional reference) and Employment Searches (determining current and/or past employers) are sometimes erroneously called Employment Verifications.
Why Verify Employment/Work History?
Prior work history is a good predictor of future performance. An Employment History Check verifies title and tenure. Reasons for leaving and eligibility for rehire are also confirmed. Potential problem areas may be revealed. The Employment History Verification report helps confirm whether the applicant has the work history and experience needed to succeed in the job. It also provides an opportunity for prior employers to share their views of the applicant as an employee.

Because of the frequency of exaggerated and fraudulent employment claims, this search is a good test of an applicant’s honesty. See, Fake Resumes, Fake References, Fake Degrees: Employer Beware! and Background Check Statistics.

Even when past employers only verify minimal information, employment verifications are a critical and essential element in building a defense against negligent hiring claims.

How Do I Get My Own Work History?
The Social Security Administration has several reports that may help you reconstruct your own Work History. See Applicant Background Check Resources: Social Security Work History and Earnings History Reports.

How Do We Verify Employment/Work History?
Past employers are contacted for employment verifications. Most employers verify employment through their Human Resources or Payroll Departments. Some employers use third-party verification services. A few use the office manager, owner, or former supervisor. Some employers charge additional fees to verify employment. These fees are passed on to our clients.

What are the Weaknesses of Employment Verifications?
There are no guarantees that a previous employer will respond to a request to verify prior employment, or that a previous employer will respond in a timely manner. Those employers who are willing to respond are often not willing to answer every question. Many organizations have policies governing what information may be disclosed regarding prior employees, while others have policies not to disclose anything. Some organizations use third-party verification services but do not provide all the necessary information to these third parties for a thorough verification.

Employer contact information provided by the applicant may be fraudulent. Employment verifications are best done "through the front door." Contact information for past employers should be located independent of the information provided by the applicant, ensuring that the person contacted is the actual employer.

How Far Back Do Employment Verifications Go?
A typical employment background check verifies employment for the last 7 years (sometimes longer periods are used). The period of time covered in a work history verification report varies based on how long the applicant actually worked for the employer and how the employer maintains its records. For a more complete discussion about how far back a background check goes, see How Far Back Does A Background Check Go.

How Long Do Employment Verifications Take?
Most employment verifications are returned in 1-3 business days. However, because these searches depend upon the previous employer, they occasionally take much longer. Some previous employers are very difficult to locate, and some simply respond very slowly. We make at least three attempts to contact the employer or third-party verification service, including phone calls, emails, faxes and mailed attempts. Patience is important when verifying employment history because turnaround time can vary widely. Sometimes requests for prior employment verification must be mailed. In these cases the searches are marked complete in our tracking system with the note, "WILL UPDATE WHEN INFORMATION ARRIVES." We will continue to attempt to contact the prior employer, but we won't hold up reporting the rest of the background check for this search.

Can I See a Sample Employment Verification Report?
Yes, click Sample Employment Verification.

Our Recommendations for Employment History Verifications
We strongly recommend that employers verify employment history with each prior employer for the last seven years. Verifying prior employment claims is an essential element of a thorough Comprehensive Background Check.

Are Employment Verifications Available Internationally?
Yes, International Employment Verifications are available. For more information, see International Employment Verifications.

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