How Are Previous Employers Verified?

You got the job — now you just have to prove you are who you say you are. Don’t take it personally — enough people have lied about parts of their resumes to make verifying people’s employment and identity a common thing. When employers want to verify that you’ve worked the jobs you listed in your application materials, they may use a variety of methods.

Past Employers

Calling your past employers directly is the most common way that prospective employers verify your job history. Sometimes employers will ask you for the names and phone numbers of your supervisors. Other times, they’ll do the verifying without you knowing — simply calling the human resources department of the employers you listed on your resume. Past employers will typically disclose the dates you worked the job, why you left and how much you made.

Other References

The references you provide may also be tapped for information about your past work history. In some cases, your references may give employers more information about your work history than your old employer would provide, since your personal and professional references won’t be bound by rules of propriety to only disclose dates of employment and job titles. Because of that, coach your references if there are parts of your resume or work history that you don’t want them to talk about, such as the bad relationship between you and your boss or your less-than-stellar attendance record.

Third Parties

A number of third-party services allow employers to check on your past employment, as well as checking into other aspects of your background. Employers sometimes hire these companies to do the checking for them to save the employer time and hassle. As part of this process, employers may ask you to register with a certain service for them to verify your employment. Employers may also use the U.S. Government’s “E-Verify” system to check on your work history and eligibility to work in the United States.

Social Networking

Don’t overlook the power of social media in the 21st century world of business. If you have a profile on sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook, you’re probably “friends” with past coworkers, and may have work information listed in the “About” section of your profile. Sure, you certainly can lie about what jobs you’ve held, but employers may be able to read between the lines through the photos you post and the people with whom you interact.

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