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Are you applying for a new job? You might be looking for a change of scene or a fresh start on your career. That’s great. But watch out, as companies are looking to know how you did of your past employment. You might wonder why the hiring manager of the company you’re applying for is doing an Employment History Verification (will refer to it as EHV in several passages of this article). It’s a process of confirming if the details and information that you’ve given them is accurate. If you want to be qualified for the job, you shouldn’t just focus on your knowledge and experience of the post. You should also make sure that your past employment record is sparkly clean. No matter how much you achieved, it won’t matter if your new employer finds out you’ve had issues at your previous job. There’s a lot more to an EHV than just collecting your past data. That’s why in this article, we’re going to talk about what Employment History Verification is all about, why is it important, and how employers execute it properly.

Why Employers Verify An Applicant’s Employment History?

Every employer is always looking to get the best people for the job. That’s why they conduct investigations such as an Employment History Verification to make sure that an applicant is fit for the job. Not only that, but they would also like to make sure if the applicant is a good or a bad asset for the company. An EHV confirms all of this. It checks the applicant’s title and tenure. It also looks into personal data such as the reason why you left your previous job and your eligibility for rehire. During this process, any potential problems and past issues may be revealed.

After the investigation, the results will then be compiled into an Employment History Verification report. The information provided by this report will confirm if whether or not the applicant has the experience and work history to qualify for the job. It also provides a chance for previous employers to share their professional and unbiased views of the applicant as their past employee.

An Employment History Verification is also a good test to see if an applicant is honest; or is just making fraudulent claims to get the job. It’s a great way to spot fake resumes, fake degrees, false references, and even fake identities. Through an EHV, employers can avoid hiring a toxic person. Even if past employers will only disclose minimal information, it’s still worth the time since every small bit of information will build up into a more concrete jurisdiction on the applicant. It will also serve as a building defense against negligent hiring claims.

What’s Included In An Employment History Verification?

Now that we’ve given a clearer meaning of what EHV is, let’s emphasize on the factors that are involved. An applicant’s employment history comprises a detailed list of your previous jobs, workplaces, titles, achievements, issues, and more. The employer will gather each information and verify them according to legitimacy and reliability of the source. They will confirm various information such as the date of your previous employment, location of your former workplace, your salary, as well as your reason for resigning.

Employment & Professional References

A lot of applicants don’t take references seriously. But when you find out that it’s actually crucial information that employers look into, you’ll realise that you should put a lot of thought in into it. Typically, your resume will include at least one reference from your previous workplace. To verify its legitimacy, the recruiter will contact this reference to confirm your identity and make sure that you’re not just making things up. The company will also ask for professional or even personal references to add to your employment reference.

A common mistake that most applicants commit is focusing too much on their resumes and cover letters. They tend to focus on impressing with their CV. However, always keep this in mind: the employer couldn’t care less about your resume nor your cover letter. What’s important to them is knowing if you’re someone they can trust and if you have the qualities and past record to be a good fit for the job. They can only confirm that through your references. So from now on, if you want to have a fruitful career, start by making sure the references on your resume is legitimate.

Choosing Your References

Now that we got your attention on what matters most during your application, let’s start discussing the references that you should choose. Of course, you’d want to select the people who’ll make the best recommendation for you. Just select your closest ex-workmates, and you’re all done. However, it’s not that easy, as you also need to take into account the reliability of your references. By that, we mean people who have the title, as well as the mindset of giving a 100% unbiased opinion about you. Often, we place our past boss. That’s okay, as long as you two were on good terms. Otherwise, you may want to think about retracting your decision.

The best references that you should put into your resume is your former supervisors or co-workers in other departments who also happen to know you. Again, the ideal choice is people who know you, as well as your strengths and abilities. Identify people who will say positive things about you. However, make sure there isn’t any bias involved. If the one conducting the Employment History Check will find out, that’s an automatic red flag.

Furthermore, choose three of the best references. These should be people who are aware of your achievements and can speak that highly. They should also know about your tendencies at work, your skills, work ethic, and overall performance. Keep in mind that your reference doesn’t all have to be people at work. You can also enlist your past professor at your University or even a school mate who knows you well and has a lot of positive things to say about you.

Getting Your Own Work History

While most companies create its own Employment History Verification using the information that applicants provided; there are some that add a work history to an applicant’s requirement. Once you encounter a company that requires this, you can get help from the Social Security Administration. They have records and information that you can use to reconstruct your Work History. You can also acquire this ahead of time so that you’ll be fully prepared during your application.

The Weakness Of An Employment History Verification

While an EHV is a robust method for determining the best candidates for a job post, it does have some downsides. For one, there are no guarantees that an employer will respond to the request of verifying an applicant’s past employment. If they do, it also doesn’t guarantee that they will respond on time. In most cases, employers who are willing to respond to an employee background check will still not answer all the questions. While this may come as rude or unprofessional-like, employers have their reasons why they tend to not get involved with this process.

For the most part, many organizations have policies and regulations that govern the limitations of information that they can disclose with regards to past employees. Other organizations even have a policy stating not to reveal anything. Some companies make use of third-party verification services. However, they don’t provide every information, so a thorough investigation is not met. Overall, an employment history verification is quite flawed, and, most of the time, don’t give justice to the applicant’s employment reputation. However, employers still find a way to get through it and determine the legitimacy of an applicant. That’s why instead of settling for the recent past jobs of the applicant, employers will dig deeper – even opting to get personal just to know if the applicant is telling the truth.

How Far Back Does EHVs Go?

Most employment verification checks are done using recent employment. However, if they don’t get anything relevant out of it, they’ll opt to go deeper, checking for the applicant’s last seven years of employment. Sometimes it could be longer. The period covered in a report will vary depending on the length of the applicant’s tenure with his or her past work. It also depends on how much information they get. The employer will also look into an applicant’s educational and personal history for the following circumstances:

  1. If the applicant is a fresh graduate.
  2. If the applicant is yet to reach seven years, or so, working.
  3. If the employer fails to gather enough relevant information from the applicant’s past job

Duration Of An Employment History Verification

An Employment History Verification typically lasts from one to three days. However, since these investigations highly depend upon the previous employer and other parties involved, some searches tend to take much longer. As mentioned earlier, some employers are very difficult to talk to and are very arrogant when it comes to disclosing information about past employees. Some employees are also challenging to locate. Because of these circumstances, what a company does is use a third-party verification service to contact the prior employer. They will repeatedly make contact at least three times. Reaching out to a past employer would include direct phone calls, emails, and fax attempts. For the employer who’s conducting the EHV, patience is vital during these times. Turnaround time can vary widely. There are even times where prior employment verification must be mailed. If this is the case, the tracking system will still mark the search complete, but with the note, “will update when information arrives.” Attempts to contact prior employer will continue. However, the information tracking system won’t be able to report the rest of the background check for a particular search until the previous employer picks up and answers the questions.

Our Recommendations To Applicants

As someone who is applying for a new job, it’s important that you make sure that everything is for your application to pull through successfully. That’s why you need to take into consideration the possibility for an employment history verification. It’s a standard process that most companies exercise. Knowing that the company you’ll be applying for will look into your history before formally offering you the job post, you need to take several measures to make sure nothing negative comes out of your EHV report. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Keep a good track record of your academic and employment history.
    • Make it a habit of retaining documents or digital copies of all your records. Get a copy your academic transcript and diplomas, make sure your record is flawless on your previous work. Have contact information of your past employers for reference. That way, filling out employment applications will be a breeze. At the same time, you can ensure that your past academic and employment record is clean.
  • Clean up your social media profiles.
    • Nowadays, it’s also pretty standard for recruiters to look into your social media profiles. That’s why if you’re applying for a job, make sure you delete anything in your online profiles that may put a dent on your application. Rant tweets, things you share on Facebook, or even pictures you post on Instagram should be deleted if it shows anything negative about you. Another good way to prevent hiring managers from snooping into your online status is putting all of your social media profiles on private.
  • Be Honest.
    • Last but not least is being honest. If something negative comes up in your background check, don’t try to work your way around it. Instead, discuss it carefully with your potential employer. Tell them the real story. In return, they might even give you the position just for your honesty and maturity in dealing with the situation.

Take Employment History Verifications Seriously

An Employment History Verification is something that applicants like you need to take into serious consideration. Employers aren’t joking around when they say they want to know what you’ve done in the past. The best thing that you can do is maintain a good track record. Just be a good, reliable, and professional worker. In return, you’ll get high scores during your EHV, and you’ll qualify for any job you apply for. With this in the back of your head, good luck with your application and may you have a successful career.

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