How Does a Background Check Verify Employment?

Background checks verify many things about someone for an employer. The main purpose of a background check is to verify someone’s identity, which includes things like work history, educational background, and criminal record.

You may be nervous about what to expect or asking yourself, “how does a background check verify employment?” The good news is that we’re here to help. We’ll take you through everything you need to know about background checks and employment verification.

What Is a Background Check? 

Background checks provide information about someone’s employment, criminal record, and education. Some background checks also focus on driving records and other types of information. 

A background check aims to verify someone’s identity and public record. Depending on the person, a lot of information may show up on a background check or very little.

What Information Shows Up on a Background Check?

On a background check, you’ll find a lot of information. However, background checks are unique to the individual. Therefore, some information will vary.

Below we list the common things that come up in a background check.

  • Sex offender status
  • Criminal records
  • Traffic violations
  • Court records
  • Social media accounts
  • Dating profiles
  • Phone numbers
  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Address

Depending on the person, some background checks will include more information or less information.

What’s the Best Way To Run a Background Check?

The best way to prepare for a background check is to run one on yourself to see what you find. There are several methods you can use to run a background check, but some are better than others. That said, the best way to run one on yourself is with Information.com’s background check.

Information.com has a background check tool that’s second to none. It will give you a full report about yourself and include things like your name, address, email address, phone number, criminal record, and more.

What Are the Types of Background Checks?

There are a few types of background checks. First and foremost, there are criminal background checks. These are more common background checks and look into someone’s criminal record. There are also driving record background checks that look into someone’s driving history. Driving record checks are used for employers who hire drivers.

Employers will also verify someone’s work history and education history by making direct calls or requesting information. All of the information within a background check is public record, so the process is legal. Still, the type of information that’s available varies based on the state.

How Do Background Checks Verify Employment? 

One of the most common reasons for a company to do a background check is to verify someone’s employment history. Verifying employment history helps companies determine if what an employee lists as experience is correct or incorrect. Depending on the type of background check, there are a few ways to verify employment.

That said, it’s important to note that every state has different rules regarding what can be disclosed about an employee’s work history. Therefore, it depends on what state you live in. Ultimately, states determine what can and can’t be shown during a background check.

You should also know your rights when it comes to employment background checks. An employer may not run a background check on you without your prior written consent.

We’ll cover the methods companies use to verify employment below.

Calling Former Employers 

One of the most common ways for a company to verify employment is by calling former employers. Calling former employers is effective because it gives employers a chance to speak with someone about your working history, performance, and success.

Some of the things that employers will ask a former employer are listed below.

  • Qualifications and skills
  • If the person worked there
  • How long has someone worked with the company
  • Reasons for leaving the company
  • How the employee performed at work

Keep in mind that the type of information that’s disclosed varies based on the state. Still, employers calling previous employers is the most common method for how employers verify employment history. It’s the fastest and most reliable method.

Checking References 

Another way for an employer to verify someone’s employment is to check references. References are professionals that a potential employee can choose to represent in a good way. For example, an employer will call someone’s old college professor to speak about a student’s reputation or work ethic. In the professional world, references are essential. 

It’s also possible for a reference to write a letter of recommendation that you can give to employers. Employers will also need the full name and phone number of any professional references. References may be listed on someone’s resume or provided during an interview.

Pay Stubs and W-2

Companies will also request pay stubs and W-2 forms. These are documents that show someone was previously working. While pay stubs will include the amount of money someone makes, W-2s can sometimes omit that information. Some companies can and will request this type of information depending on where you live.

Additionally, some companies will require proof of employment letters. These are letters that verify someone’s work history and prove that they worked somewhere. Proof of employment letter is typically written by the previous employer. The human resources (HR) department typically writes these letters.

In most cases, W-2 forms and pay stubs aren’t required to get hired somewhere. This is only the case with government work. The government also has unique ways of verifying information through more in-depth background checks.

Credit Check

In some fields—typically the financial industry—companies will also check someone’s credit score. Credit history is important, especially when someone is going to work with money or financial documents. These credit checks include bankruptcies, total debt, credit card payment history, loans, and more. 

Companies in the financial sector pull these records with approval from the state. In some cases, they’ll even run your credit.

Wrapping Up

When you want to know how does a background check verify employment, companies have many ways to verify the information. In some cases, employment history will show up on a background check anyway, so companies don’t always have to look.

That said, outside of background checks companies will pursue letters from previous employers and other methods like calling directly. Before applying, always make sure you know what to expect from a background check or employment verification.

Read also: The Inner Anatomy of a Great Startup Company

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Mukul Patwa
Mukul Patwa
I am a senior contributor and blogger at Backlinks Media.