The Importance of Employment History Verification

Employment history verification is essential for many reasons. Job applicants may lie on their resume to cover up previous employment problems, and even periods of imprisonment that they obviously do not want to reveal in an application for a new job. You are obliged not only by law, but morally, to make as sure as you possibly can that your employees are not harmed through your employment of an unsuitable candidate.

Your verification procedure should detect any false dates of employment provided, any exaggeration of positions or responsibilities held and the possibility of fictitious employers being named. Why does this happen? Why do some candidates feel it necessary to fabricate their resumes or CVs in this way? It is, in fact, not all that uncommon, and there have been some prominent cases reported in the press. Let’s examine some reasons why people do this.

A very common reason for stating false periods of employment with specific companies is to hide dismissal for inappropriate behavior, violence to other employees or theft. Any one of these could provide a good reason for finding an employer guilty of negligible hiring, and this itself introduces a problem. While it is essential that you identify these applicants, the previous employers might be loathe to provide details to you that could indicate them to have been negligent. Sometimes only a professional investigator can get to the truth of these situations.

Another reason is to hide a period of conviction, so someone released from prison can be confident of finding employment quickly. It is easier to provide a fictitious employer, or extend the period of the previous employment. Such temptations can be irresistible to a person desperate to find employment.

If questioned on the reasons for the job changes indicated on the resume, an applicant can provide a change of state or county, or even the desire for advancement, as a reason. They all sound plausible, there having been plenty of time for rehearsal of the story! Both of these excuses, or reasons, are common and are difficult to disprove if previous employers are loathe to provide full employment details. This is particularly true of lies told regarding positions of responsibility. Many employers will agree to provide employment dates if pushed, but no more. Not even severance details.

If you feel that something is not ringing true, or just feel a little bit nervous about the person you are interviewing, you are advised to have a professional carry out full employment history verification, and even a criminal record investigation. These are not tasks that can be given to an employee untrained in the techniques, and the job is too important to your company to hesitate on. A full employment background check should be carried out because you have a duty of care to your workforce.

If the position offered demands a certain level of management experience or seniority, then a few applicants will be tempted to exaggerate their previous employment. There are many recorded instances of candidates for senior positions falsifying their resumes in this way, and being offered the position only to be found out at a later date. This type of falsification is stupid because you will eventually be found lacking in the skills you should have had were your claims true.

You must carry out a full employee background check on all applicants to whom you are considering offering a job. The law requires that you take all steps to avoid negligent hiring, and failing to carry out employment history verification checks is regarded as employment negligence. The cost to your company can be crippling if someone you hired went on to injure another employee, or even just steal from them.

Sometimes other employers can be difficult when asked for employment history, but if you provide them with a completed release of information form they should have no grounds for refusal. A professional can deal with this, since they do it every day. In fact, frequently, just asking the candidate to sign the release form when they make the application is sufficient to put them off.

If an applicant refuses to complete such a release form, then don’t employ them. The same should apply if previous employers refuse to provide full employment histories, and in such a case you should inform the applicant why they are not being considered for the job.

You must carry out a suitable and sufficient employment history verification to meet your own legal obligations, and you can have no excuses for failing to do so. You can try to do it yourself, or have one of your employees do it, but you are better advised to employ a professional in employee screening to carry out a professional job for you. You will then be able to sleep well at night without worry.


Dear Manager: Little Things Mean Everything

“Dear Manager,

Little Things Mean Everything.

You do not speak to me in a way I understand.

I quit.


Your Employee”

Life would be much easier for management if every employee told us truly why they quit. It’s often said that people do not quit employers, they quit managers. I believe that’s true. I also believe it’s the little things that can mean everything in the service industry. Turnover is high, and seasoned, caring employees can make such an enormous impact on guests.

My wife and I used to go out dining very frequently. Since both of us worked in the service industry, neither of us wanted to cook after a twelve hour day of already cooking and working around food. One evening we were at a restaurant, I won’t say the name, but it starts with an F and the servers used to wear a lot of buttons. Our waiter dropped off our entrĂ©e and my wife said “Thank you”, as my mouth was busy still chewing on our appetizer. Please note that our servers always come over when I’m still chewing. I think they wait for that. What did our server say in return? “You’re welcome.” would be a popular answer. She said “No problem”.

A speaker I heard many years ago mentioned how small choices in words create impressions as a small part of his larger speech. She was directing this topic to managers regarding properly formatted corporate office inter-communication. I think choice of words is the core element of any impactful verbal contact and part of a larger relationship. I’ve heard the phrase often in my career “the little things mean a lot”. Wrong. Little things mean everything. When I heard “no problem” as the server quickly turned away, I was left thinking “hmmmm… Is it usually a problem? Will it be a problem next time?”

I also learned something small but important a long time ago by listening to another person in the service industry. I was staying at a large and expensive hotel in Downtown Chicago, with my family and I was waiting to check in. The lobby was full and the three front desk clerks were very busy. Some guests waiting to check in were pleasant, some not so much. There was one young clerk who seemed un-phased by it all. He moved as quickly as the other two, but still had a smile for every gust. And, here’s the most memorable thing: he said to all of the guests who bothered to say “thank you” after being checked in a simple phrase: “Oh. It was my pleasure to help”.

When was the last time you heard “It’s my Pleasure” from anyone in the service industry? Maybe from a manager on a good day, if the wind is right, sure, but from an employee: “It’s my pleasure”? Seriously, when?

Let me encourage you to build an “It’s my pleasure” culture in your business. Company culture starts with the management team. That should not be surprising. Corporate pundits, speakers, and writers have been chewing on that bone for years in a variety of ways. But how? How do you convey that culture, that message? I like things simple. I heard a speaker, Lester Levinson, say something once, “Life is so simple, that’s why everybody finds it hard to understand.” Remember, little things mean everything. Start small. Start simple.

It’s not my place or intent to delve into the ocean of corporate culture theory. But I will start small. Managers, Supervisors, Owners, Vice Presidents: Do you personally say “hello” or “good morning” to your staff as you come in for your hectic day? Yes, that means all of them that you see and make eye contact with in what I consider the magical six foot radius of non-shouting communication? Do you? Do you do say “Good night” to them on your way out? Some might see this as an unneeded courtesy. It’s my opinion that in a company with an “It’s my pleasure” culture, this is a necessity. Require it of yourself. Require it of your other managers. It starts with one person: you.

I was an entry level restaurant manager in my mid-twenties, and was transferred to a new property. The General Manager was also new and had great ideas and plans. There was one employee who seemed very unhappy with him. When I asked her why, she said simply this: “The old GM cared enough to say goodbye to everyone when he left. He doesn’t. He doesn’t care about us.” I mentioned this opinion of the previous GM to him during a conversation the next day. It did not impact this new general manager and my comment was dismissed with an “I’m not him”.

Ponder this situation with me for a minute. Do you think that one single employee, an eight year tenured veteran, their lead server trainer, and an hourly manager, supported the positive changes that the general manager needed to make in that restaurant? Did she encourage others to do so? Or, did she ignore his efforts? You already know the answer. And his self-will could not sustain a culture that, over time, turned on him. He ultimately failed in his attempts to correct course. He quit a year later.

Who was at fault? I can hear the managers reading this saying: “The employee!” But was it? Do your employees deserve to have their basic needs fulfilled to be happy and productive? A simple question, again, and one with a simple answer you all know to be true: yes. Do you know what your employees want and need? Can you connect with them on their level, not yours? Do you choose words they can understand?

Do the words we choose create our environment, yes or no? Do they have an effect on others, yes or no? Yes. What words are you using today? Are they about you or about the other person? As they taught us all as children, think before you speak. Little things mean everything.

Oh, yes, I forgot to mention one little thing. But, little things mean everything. The “tenured employee” also quit a short time later. She is a great influence on me in my writings and on my topics. By listening to her, I was able to begin to create a bond and a connection. She is my wife of fifteen years.