1 in 3 resumes have inaccurate job descriptions. 29% have wrong employment dates, and 40% have inflated salaries. Given how often prospects misrepresent their employment history in applications, employment verification is one of the most important backgrounds check procedures. But, are you 100% sure you know what’s likely to show on your employment record?
Unless you’ve just entered the workforce, you probably have a long and storied employment history – some of which you recall clearly while more minor roles may have become forgotten with time.
Today, we’ll show you how to jog your memory, and double check your employment history so that you can come prepared to your interview. We’ll show you what makes a great background checking service, make recommendations for a few of our favorites, then delve into the philosophy and methodology behind employment verification checks as conducted by your prospective employer.
What makes a good background check service?
Your prospective employer is limited in which services they can use to verify your employment history. However, you can get a good idea of what they’re likely to uncover by running a background check on yourself. But, amidst a crowded marketplace, it can be difficult to choose a reliable service. We used the following criteria to make our recommendations, and they may help you prioritize your own needs:
- Customer support – quality customer support can help you with your searches, your reports, and your website and app use. We strongly recommend looking for providers with toll-free calling. 24/7 service is a bonus but isn’t a big dealbreaker unless you often need help outside office hours.
- Report presentation and accuracy – you want the reports you get to be two things. First, neat and well-presented so you can find the information you need quickly. Second, accurate so you know that the information you’re looking at is reliable.
- Research depth – depending on where you work and the kind of personnel you’re hiring, you may need to go above and beyond a basic background check. If this is the case, look for providers who can do gun license checks, check financial histories, etc. The more data sources, the better.
- Fast results – do you really want to wait weeks or months for a basic background check? Probably not. Quality background check services can run a basic scan in minutes and a more advanced one in just days; don’t settle for less.
- Custom searches and reports – given how many variables and data points background check services have, you may not want a full report. That’s why it’s important to find a provider that can help you run a custom search that only shows the data you want and need.
- Mobile app and website – does a provider have apps compatible with your tablet and smartphone? If not, they should at least have a responsive site that makes your experience easy and intuitive. One possible exception is office environments where mobile phones are rare.
- Web design and dashboard – the dashboard is where you manage searches as results. Its quality defines how easy a service is to use, as well as how likely you are to find the information you need quickly and easily. Needless to say, a quality dashboard is important.
Confirm your employment history with these background check providers
These four providers are the best in the industry:
BeenVerified is one of the oldest and best-respected providers in the space. They offer a two-tier service for basic and advanced users. On the basic level, searches reveal criminal records, financial records, social media data (including possible pictures), and other publicly available information. This is a solid option if you need straightforward searches centered around identity verification, criminal background checks, and social media. You can also choose to pay extra to get access to gun license information, marriage records, and more. There is even the option to pay to have a runner fetch physical documents from courthouses.
The searches themselves are easy to execute whether you’re on a desktop or mobile device. From a PC, the beautiful dashboard makes searches easy. This includes custom searches that can be personalized to meet your specific needs. Apps are available for iOS and Android users, and although features are less numerous than on the desktop version’s dashboard, you still have everything you need to run any check you can think of. Last but not least, customer support is excellent. It may not be available 24/7, but the number is toll-free and weekday hours are 8 AM – 10 PM, meaning the only time you can’t get help is late at night.
TruthFinder stands out thanks to the design quality of the online dashboard and the final reports you get. The dashboard UI is straightforward, with all the main features you need always just a click away. The final reports are highly detailed and straight to the point–whether you take a printed report or show one using your mobile device, you’re going to impress whoever you’re presenting to. Speaking of mobile devices: TruthFinder comes with an Android app and a beautiful responsive website for iOS and Android users. Both app and website are convenient on all the mobile devices we tried, and come highly recommended by us.
In terms of actual searches, TruthFinder has two service tiers. On the basic level, you get things like court records, driving records, contact details, possible photos, and known family members. This data is enough for routine employment checks, but may be lacking if you need a deep, thorough search. Fortunately, TruthFinder also has an advanced tier where you get access to other kinds of information. For example, you can look up every trace of someone available on the Deep Web that’s invisible to Google and users. You can also pull information on gun licenses, voter registration records, and more. What’s helpful is that support is 24/7 here, meaning you can get the help you need from a qualified staff member around the clock. Between the impeccable search quality, the wonderful app and websites, and the excellent customer support, this service is one of our favorites.
3. Instant CheckMate
True to its name, Instant CheckMate offers highly detailed reports without making you wait around for ages. Their standard service package nets you access to data about criminal records, social media data, possible photographs, known associates and relatives, and past addresses. For an extra fee, you can increase the scope of your search. Possible additions at this (premium) level include financial history, driving licenses, and weapons licenses.
Regardless of the level you choose, you’ll find that personalizing the searches you make is easy thanks to an intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard that lets you get the exact information you need. The reports are equally excellent, with all the necessary information presented succinctly and with an eye for design. If you want to impress someone with your background check materials, Instant CheckMate is a solid choice.
Instant CheckMate is also strong on secondary and tertiary features. For example, there’s a wonderful Android app that makes it easy to run background checks and access reports on the go. The customer support line is excellent, and customer support staff are available 24/7. This means that should you ever run into any problems, you’ll get the help you need quickly and easily. The attention to detail in the apps and on the website is outstanding, especially if you’re new to using online services. All in all, this is another top service worth checking out.
Intelius is a background checking service with a sleek, easy-to-use online dashboard that makes it dead easy to run and manage reports. Everything is often just a button away, and even when it isn’t, the design is intuitive enough that you find your way quickly. The checks are thorough, with Intelius looking through a wide variety of data points from criminal records, sex offender lists, financial history documents, property records, and education records. There’s also the phone lookup feature, which lets you see the name, address, and background information on a caller based on their phone number. This is convenient if you need to know who called you in the past in as much detail as possible.
The reports resulting from your searches are comprehensive and easy to read, with all the data managed clearly and logically for your easy viewing. The cool part is that with Android and iOS apps, you never have to print your reports. You can take your employment verification check results with you on your smartphone or tablet, saving yourself time and paper in the process. Support-wise, Intelius may not be 24/7 but the quality of the help you get is excellent. There are an online troubleshooter and an email contact form.
Why employers run background checks
There are two traditional schools of thought when it comes to background checks. The first is that people’s privaccy should be respected insofar as possible. This is a line of thinking common to younger HRs and L&Ds, as well as to many states. To wit, “ban the box” laws prohibit organizations from running specific background checks on potential employees without asking them for permission beforehand. For example, in most Ban the Box states, you can’t ask someone to withclose their criminal background and prior convictions unless they’ve already been accepted for a job or are somewhere in the Interview process. This is reasonable, because it stops employers from discriminating against potential employees who’ve already repaid their debt to society.
Having said all of the above, there are many great reasons to know what you can check and take action on that. It’s estimated that 1 in 3 job prospects exaggerate accomplishments, with the same amount lying about the chronology of their employment. Since hiring the wrong person can result in fraud, abuse, as well as an incompetent person occupying a key position, this is worrying. On a basic level, not knowing the truth about who you’re hiring can result in you not getting the best possible candidate. In other cases, the consequences of failing to do a background check can be a lot more severe.
For example, a person could lie about their moral character and hurt or take advantage of other employees. They could also harm your company by making sub-par decisions and acting unprofessionally. Other times, well-intentioned people who exaggerate their accomplishments and past work achievements can let teams down and ruin projects because they don’t have the skills they claim to have. With some sources estimating that abuse and fraud takes up 6% of the average company’s revenue, a routine background check can save hundreds, thousands, and even millions of dollars (for large corporations). This is why background checks are so important and necessary.
Why is employment verification important?
Employment verification can seem relatively unimportant. After all, who’s really out there trying to falsify past employment information in 2018, when checking falsehoods can be so easy? Well… As it turns out, quite a few people. In a HireRight report, 86% of HRs stated that they’ve worked with people who falsified some or all of the information or the resume. Another survey by the same brand found an average 27% discrepancy rate in employment histories with a 290,000 sample size. In other words, falsifying one’s employment history is extremely common, to the point that you can count on running into the problem sooner or later.
The specific information that gets misrepresented varies. It can include job start and end dates, the order in which positions were held, the positions themselves, salaries, job responsibilities, and even termination reasons. In the best-case scenario, an employee might “tweak” their resume to make it look like they got paid more than they actually did. In the worst-case scenario, a person can completely fabricate their entire work history. If that happens, you risk fraud, abuse, and general incompetence from a valued employee. Even with a relatively benign lie, you can be misled about a fair salary to pay for a position – or job duties a candidate is experienced with. For all these reasons, it’s best to run a simple background check no matter the scenario.
What else will employers look for?
An employment verification check is useful in and of itself, but there are several other checks employers can run for a full background screen. The first is identity verification, for obvious reasons. Another is a check for education and licenses. Misrepresenting one’s academic achievements is almost as common as doing the same with work histories. Last but not least, it’s never a bad idea to look at someone’s criminal record. It’s unlikely to discover anything truly nefarious this way, but a surprising number of otherwise upstanding people hide minor infractions. A criminal check is fast and easy to perform using any service on this page, and should be a matter of routine in your organization.
So, you should have a good idea of what employers will be looking for not just in your employment verification screening, but more generally about your background as a prospective hire. If you’re not 100% sure what’s in your public record, there’s an easy way to find out: using a professional background checking service. Today, we showed you some of our favorite services, and gave you an insight into why and how employers run their checks.
Have you ever had to explain a blemish on your employment history? How did that work out? Do you have any tips for our readers? Leave a comment below!