Continuing the series, we will look at employer checks in this post.
Employer checks or employment history checks aim to verify the complete or partial employment history of the employee.
Employers typically verify the work history by reviewing the experience letters (including offer letter, experience certificate, relieving letter) and salary slips. Some also verify the bank account statements to cross check the salary payments. In addition, some review the online professional profiles on business networking sites like LinkedIn.
The preferred method is to verify the entire employment history and to review the associated experience letters and salary slips for each of the employers. This means contacting the earlier and/or current employer and receiving verification directly from the HR department. Feedback is solicited on a variety of points including:
• Duration of employment
• Reporting manager details
• Performance and professionalism
• Reasons for leaving
• Eligibility for rehiring
• Any issues encountered
Doing a phone based check with a reference or a reporting manager is not considered to be reliable as in many cases, the reference or the claimed reporting manager may be fake / decoy which has been planted by the candidate to fool the verification exercise.
Non-existent or closed companies present a big challenge during employer verification. Through independent research, the verification team tries to find out the suitable HR or reporting manager within the company under consideration. Even if contact is established and verification comments received, these have to be taken with a pinch of salt and should not be considered fully authoritative. Thus, employment and experience with such companies may have to be discounted to a certain extent in the candidate evaluation process.
Current employer verification is a tricky area. Many employers try to run pre-employment checks with current employer without taking candidate’s authorization for such a check. We do not recommend such unhealthy practices as they can potentially have a very negative impact on candidate’s career and professional standing with the current employer. Such pre-employment checks should only be done only when the offer has been made to the candidate and his/her authorization has been received for the verification with current employer. For that matter, receiving the candidate authorization is a best practice for any kind of background verification.
Our recommendation: Verify at least two employers (previous and/or current) for every experienced hire. Try to cover as many bullet points (mentioned above) as possible. Also, insist on salary slips and bank account statements.