How to Verify Employment History

There are several reasons you may need to check someone's employment history. As a landlord or property manager, you may wish to check this information to make sure that the person is being honest with you about their income and length of employment.  Sometimes that information can be incredibly difficult to verify. Businesses might go under, contract services can be forgotten about, or the employment history might just be an outright lie. Here is how to verify an employment history quickly and accurately so you can move onto the next candidate.

Verify the Existence of the Business Itself

If there isn't a contact number for a company on the application or the number listed is no longer in service, you can still verify the existence of that business in a few different ways.

1. Look up the business and phone number combination online.

2. Request a check of issued business licenses with that information combination through your Department of Revenue, Labor and Industries, or similar agency.

3. Search through social media sites for hashtags, pages, or accounts related to the business name. If the business is a sole proprietorship that was run by the applicant, then look for verification of a customer base. Ask to speak with past clients, talk with that person's agent or representative, or look for a history of services being provided online. A great place to look for a person's employment history and contacts is LinkedIn.


Get Permission to Ask for More

If you have found that the businesses on an employment history do exist, then you're only going to get employment dates and confirmation of their work when you place a call. The exception to this is if the applicant has signed a waiver to discuss the actual details of their work. If you need this information and the waiver wasn't signed upon separation, then you'll need to request that the applicant speak with their former employer and sign over a waiver.

Contract Services Are the Most Difficult to Verify

Imagine receiving an application where the potential new hire worked for a contract agency as an independent contractor. How can you verify that this employment was real as a 2nd level subcontractor? The first stage is to verify the first level of the contract. Did the main organization actually contract out those services to another business? If not, then you've confirmed the information isn't true. If the services were contracted out, then see if you can discover the business name who received the contract. This is often a matter of public record, so just asking will generally get you the answer. Just because a business gives you a different name doesn't invalidate the work history. The business could have changed names or recently won the contract. Now contact the business who won the contract and ask if they hired independent contractors within the time period listed. If they just started the contract and the other business has shut their doors, you can either keep searching for more data or assume the information provided is true.


Conduct a Social Security Background Check

If you can't verify enough data about an employment history, then a background check on a Social Security number can help you match data about the applicant to data that is on the application. Although this method may not be 100% reliable thanks to virtual offices and telecommuting today, it is very effective in verifying older employment records. It will also collect any public records that are available, including arrests, judgments, and sometimes even information about an applicant's neighbors.

Ask for Tax Records

Although an applicant cannot be compelled to provide their tax records, this may be the final step in the verification process. Those tax records will have the details about past employment on them thanks to W-2 forms being issued, self-employment income claimed, and other income details. If an applicant refuses to supply them and you can't verify their employment history in any other way, then you can legitimately move on to the next candidate for lack of information. Most applicants will provide these records if they have them on hand to secure a job, however, so it never hurts to ask. Up to half of all job applicants today will alter their information in some way to their favor. By verifying the employment history that has been offered, you'll be able to see the truth through the possible curtain of lies.

Posted on Mar 16, 2015


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