Apr 16, 2021
3 min read

What is Employment Verification and How Does it Help Hire Honest Candidates?

If you run a business, you probably have experience in hiring people. Perhaps you’re hiring now. But what if your ideal candidate has lied about their work experience?

Statistics show that 75% of human resource managers have detected lies on resumes. Checkster, a hiring solution, surveyed job applicants and found that 78% lie or misrepresent themselves on their resumes.

So, how can businesses ensure that their employees are legit? The answer is employment verification.

What is employment verification?

Employment verification is a background check on potential employees. It looks for inconsistencies between what an applicant puts on their resume and their actual employment history.

Employees can misrepresent their education experience, job titles, responsibilities, or work duration. Sometimes they entirely omit information about their past to hide that they were once fired or changed jobs too often. Employment verification ensures that prospective hires are who they say they are.

Businesses usually conduct employment verification when they hire new employees. But current staff can also ask to verify employment so they can get a bank loan or visa approval. Similarly, former employees seeking a new job might contact their former employer to ask for a verification letter.

How is employment verification done?

There are two ways of running employment verification: 1) manually by an HR team or 2) outsourcing to a third party.

Manual checks. To verify a candidate, the HR team will need to contact each workplace listed on the person’s resume. They can either call, send an email, or ask for an employment verification letter.

Employment verification solution. There are services that can take on the task of checking a potential employee. They charge for this, but it does take a significant load off the HR team. Also, their verification process is optimized and takes just a couple of days.

What does employment verification include?

When a manager gets a resume, there are six main pieces of information to verify about a candidate’s education and job experience. Note that businesses must get signed consent from the candidate before performing verification.


  • Did the candidate actually graduate from the educational institution mentioned on the resume?
  • When did they study?
  • What degree did they recieve?

Job experience

  • Did the candidate actually work for the companies mentioned on their resume?
  • What were their job titles?
  • When were their start and end dates?

Businesses inquire about the reasons why the candidate left the company, their knowledge and skills, and other work-related information.

Note that not all jurisdictions allow businesses to check marital status, former salaries, disability information, or eligibility for rehire. For instance, some American states have banned employers from requesting information about previous salaries since this may encourage pay discrimination.

What causes a red flag on a background check?

We’ve taken a look at the recommendations of several hiring companies and compiled a list of the top four red flags to look out for.

  1. Refusing a check. If a potential employee refuses a check, it might mean they have something to hide. It’s better to search for employees that speak about their education, employment, or criminal history honestly.
  2. Inconsistencies. A background check on an employee can reveal inconsistencies between their resume and employment/education history. Candidates can also omit information about past jobs, which could indicate that they want to hide something about these positions.
  3. Bad references. When reaching out to previous employees, employers might get some negative feedback on a candidate. This feedback might stem from a misunderstanding, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for similarly negative feedback from other sources.
  4. Criminal record. This doesn’t mean that businesses must refuse a candidate due to past run-ins with the law, but it’s a good idea to know the full extent of the employee’s criminal history. Extra attention should be paid to convictions that can impact the job. For instance, if you run a payment service, applicants with past fraud convictions might not be the best fit for you.

Whether these red flags are enough to reject an applicant is up to the employer to decide.

Who can legally verify employment?

Former and current employers have a right to confirm employment. Verification requests can come from employees, government agencies, and others. While it’s a must to reply to government requests, businesses don’t have to reply to former employees, collectors, mortgage lenders, etc.

When businesses receive a verification request, they must review the laws of the jurisdiction where they’re located and determine which types of data they can include. For example, in the UK, recruiting staff may only make limited enquiries about a candidate’s health or disability.

Key takeaways

Employee verification detects lies on resumes and helps businesses hire honest employees fit for the job. This check can be done manually by an HR team or delegated to a third-party service provider.

At Sumsub, we don’t conduct employment verification checks, but we can help you verify your users, partners and suppliers to weed out any fraudsters. So don’t hesitate to check out our Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Business (KYB) solutions.

Delegate KYC and KYB checks to Sumsub. Request a demo today!