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Verifying the Top 10 Truths about Verifications

By Christine Cunneen

In our People Lie! One Certain Truth on the Importance of Background Screening blog, we discussed the fact that 78% of hiring managers have caught lies on resumes or job applications.  Taking that one step further–how are they catching all of these lies?  The answer is generally through verifications.

With so much attention on criminal history, Ban the Box, and marijuana laws, we sometimes lose sight of how vital verifications are in the background screening process.  As such, we thought it was time to look into verifying Hire Image’s Top 10 Truths about Verifications:


1.Employment Verifications are the most commonly requested type of verification. They not only can confirm dates of employment, positions, job duties, the reason for termination (in some states), and eligibility for rehire, but they can also reveal insights into the candidate’s truthfulness, loyalty, work habits, and integrity.  Additionally, caution must be taken if a candidate submits pay documents, which can be fraudulent.

2. The growing trend of Salary History Bans has changed the scope of many Employment Verifications. States are disallowing employers from inquiring into or relying upon the salary history of a candidate in determining whether to offer a job and in setting that person’s salary.  With more and more states adding this restriction, this question is generally no longer asked when verifying employment history.

3. Education Verifications confirm that an applicant attended the educational institution(s) claimed, including the years attended and any degrees or diplomas received. An Education Verification is a great resource for uncovering resume inflation and/or fraud pertaining to a candidate’s educational background. With an Education Verification, it is imperative to confirm that the school was accredited by an agency recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education.

4. Diploma Mills are a multi-million dollar industry affecting reports from high schools, colleges, and universities. Diploma mills claim accreditation by an accreditation mill and refer to themselves as being “fully accredited.”  Due to the increasing amount of diploma mills, Education Verifications are more important than ever.

5. International employment and education should also be verified. International Employment Verifications should be conducted when screening prospective employees who have been employed outside of the United States. Additionally, for Education Verifications, it is important to verify a copy of a degree obtained from a school outside of the United States since diploma mills can also be found in many other countries.  Many clients think if they have a copy of the degree from the candidate, that is all they need. However, many diplomas and degrees look authentic when they are not, even to one with experience in this area.

6. A Professional License Verification can provide additional information and qualifications by verifying the issuance of any professional licenses claimed by the applicant. The appropriate licensing agency is contacted to verify the validity of the license, the date issued, and, if applicable, the date of expiration. In some cases, disciplinary actions brought against the license holder can be discovered.

7. Insights into an applicant’s work ethic, character, ability to interact with different levels of an organization, and job responsibilities, as well as strengths and areas of improvement can be obtained through Professional and Personal References. An interview is conducted with customized questions based on a company’s needs.

8.Discrepancies and gaps in history do not always mean a person is lying and do not necessarily mean it is something with which to be concerned. There are many legitimate reasons for gaps in employment or education.  For instance, the person could have taken an extended maternity leave from a job or a semester off for a medical or family reason and forgot to account for it on his or her application.

9.Negligent hiring claims are a reality for many employers, but they can be avoided if employers take the necessary steps to help ensure a safe work environment. Verifications, such as Employment, Education, and References provide an important component in the defense against such claims.

10. Before any verification can be conducted, permission must be obtained from the candidate. Oftentimes, the person verifying requires a signed authorization.


Hire Image understands the importance of verifications.  Contact us for additional information on how to incorporate them into your background screening package or to review your current verifications package.


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