You already know that resume verification is an important part of a candidate’s background check, but perhaps you’ve never wondered why certain information is required from the candidate to achieve success. And more specifically, how does a background screening company use this information to complete an employment verification? Knowing why you’re requesting this information will give you a better understanding of the “big picture” of employment background checks.
Both the applicant release form and employment verification form (usually included on a job application or separate background screening questionnaire), whether in electronic or paper form, have the potential to provide information that is particularly helpful for completing the background check and ultimately, helps you make smarter hiring decisions. However, information provided by candidates can also hinder the verification process when it’s incomplete or incorrect.
Wet vs. Electronic Signature
For both legal reasons and verification purposes, your candidates are required to submit a signed release which authorizes you to conduct an employment background check before you can begin the process. When a researcher contacts a candidate’s former employer, they usually request a copy of that signed release before they verify any information. Herein, lies the most common issue you can run into.
Nowadays, many employers have their candidates electronically sign these forms. In many cases, this electronic authorization simply requires a candidate to check a box which grants proper consent. While electronic consent is legal, many employers won’t verify past employment without seeing a “wet” signature or something that resembles an actual signature.
They do this for the same reason you would; they simply can’t afford to release confidential or protected information without being assured and can prove they were provided proper authorization by the subject of the inquiry. If you don’t have this information readily available, there’s a better than good chance that they will withhold information until you can provide it.
You can accomplish this in a time effective manner using one of two methods (yes, I’m eliminating the snail mail option). First, is to fax or scan and email the form. The other option is to utilize an electronic signature, but instead of an innocuous check box, utilize mouse-signature technology.
Candidates Should Not Leave Out Any Details
Employers should also ask applicants to be thorough when listing past employment information on an employment verification form. For example, if a candidate worked for a company with franchises or more than one location, such as McDonald’s where they have tens of thousands of restaurants, simply providing something like the information below will not suffice for the verification process.
Name: John Smith
Contact Information: N/A
To prevent this, make sure you clearly communicate with your candidates that they need to provide as much information as possible, including:
- Name of Employer
- Location of Employer
- Employer Phone Number or Website
- Dates of Employment
- Starting and Ending Job Title
- Starting and End Salary
- Reason for Leaving
This advice is not limited to employment verification. Employers should also request that academic information be filled out to completion. If it’s not, there are more than a handful of candidates who have not clarified whether or not they graduated from a school or only attended. Having this information could prevent the background check from being delayed.
Another commonly overlooked piece of information is whether the person worked directly for the organization they claim or through a temp agency or contractor. Without divulging this information, it might delay the search while the background screener attempts to resolve the inconsistency.
Employment Verification Form vs. Verified Information
The best verification is always the one where the background screening company can compare the information the candidate provided to the information the employer shared which is why employers are encouraged to tell candidates that they must fill out all of the information requested to the best of their ability. This can be used to highlight inconsistencies such as dates of employment, salary, job titles or responsibilities, etc., which in-turn offers more insight into a candidate’s experience and character.
If a hiring manager is able to see that the information provided by the candidate matches the verification, they can make a more informed hiring decision knowing that the information the candidate provided was accurate. However, the opposite is also true—for candidates whose employment verification form does not align with the employment verification, a hiring manager can compare information on the employment verification form and the verification to make an intelligent hiring decision.