Employee Verification for New Hires: Why You Shouldn't Skimp

How a person represents their education and employment history says a lot about their character.

When it comes to pre-employment background checks, some companies consider only criminal checks and maybe drug testing, depending on the job. 

But employee verifications also exist—many that are worth considering. 

In this article, we'll discuss...

  • Several types of employee verifications—and why they matter
  • Why the ability to customize your background check packages is essential
  • What to look for when choosing a background check vendor

Types of employee verifications—and why they matter

OK, here's the bad news: People lie on their resumes. 

In fact, Indeed reports that 40% of people lie. These fibs, falsehoods, and fabrications can run the gamut, from embellished job titles to inflated earnings to misleading statements about abilities and experience. We're talking about all the things that HR managers need to know when making smart hiring decisions. 

Now, for some good news. It is possible to weed out dishonest candidates from honest ones—provided you take a few extra steps and verify the info the candidates supply. Luckily, this can be done as part of your pre-employment background check process.

Here are the top employee verifications to consider:

  • Education verification
  • Employment verification
  • Professional license verification

Let's discuss each one in more detail.

Education verification

Does the candidate lie about where they went to school, perhaps naming an Ivy-league program rather than the local community college? Or maybe they list the correct institution, but they lie about having completed their degree.

Either way, lying is lying. Yes, competition for certain jobs can be fierce. Listing Harvard University to get a recruiter's attention might simply be a "strategic" move on the candidate's part. And yet, what does it suggest about the person's character if they're willing to go to those lengths to score an interview?

Lies on resumes can have far-reaching ramifications. Everyone is affected. When discovered, the lies can torpedo morale and the confidence that we, the public, have in companies and institutions.

Case in point: Marilee Jones worked as the admissions director for MIT for nearly three decades before it was revealed that she lied about her educational background. While Jones experienced much success at MIT—and was lauded for doing excellent work—much of it appears tainted now. 

Remember, as an employer or hiring manager, you have a responsibility for the hires you make. You're responsible to your customers, to other employees, and (depending on the job) to the public. Education verification is a straightforward way to make sure the candidate is being truthful about their educational bona fides.

Employment verification

There's lying about actual experience—and lying about gaps between jobs. The latter can be a gray area. Given the gig economy where people often have a side hustle—not to mention many folks have gone through numerous job changes or layoffs the last couple of years, thanks to the pandemic—it could be easy for HR managers to think “Why should I bother checking dates in such a chaotic era?”

Well, it all comes back to integrity and the job candidate's character. If they're willing to lie on their resume, what will they lie about when they're working for you? 

Plus, consider people who lie about their job titles, abilities, and experience. What if a line worker at a local restaurant claims they've been a manager for the last two years—and that's why you hire them? Or maybe they leave off a particular job because they were fired for inferior performance. Wouldn’t you want to be aware of that?

More often than not, you're hiring someone because of their experience and abilities. Verifying a candidate's employment history will provide valuable insight and inspire you with confidence that you're hiring the most qualified candidate for the job.

Professional license verification

This is a biggie. Consider jobs that require professional licenses—doctors, pharmacists, electricians, nurses, and general contractors, just to name a few. Now imagine you hire someone based, in part, on the license they list on their resume. But you find out later that the license is bogus. Talk about a PR nightmare!

One of the more well-known cases in recent memory highlights the fallout that can occur when hiring managers don't verify professional licenses. 

As The New York Times reports, "Walgreens will pay $7.5 million to settle allegations that for more than a decade it let an unlicensed pharmacist handle hundreds of thousands of prescriptions, including some for highly addictive painkillers."

Professional license verification is critical when hiring for positions that require licenses or certifications. Keep in mind that licenses can lapse—and that different states have different requirements. So a person might be properly licensed in one state, but not another. A good background check vendor can verify this information and make sure your candidate is in good standing with licensing boards no matter the state.

Other verifications can come into play, depending on the position, your company, or both.

Other common verifications include...

  • Identify verification/SSN verification – ensures the person is who they say they are
  • E-Verify/Electronic I-9 – helps confirm a person's employment eligibility in the United States
  • Workers Compensation (WC) background check – just as the name suggests, this screen will show past workers comp claims

These additional background checks bring up our next point—the types of verifications your company needs will depend on many factors, such as the position you're hiring for, the industry, and whether you're a state or federal agency (or an affiliate).

For example, companies that fall under the watchful gaze of the DOT have mandated screening procedures. If you're hiring for state or federal agencies, you might have other requirements.

If your head is spinning yet, no wonder. There's a lot to consider, along with many complexities and nuances. And let's not underestimate the importance of compliance at every step along the way.

When developing background check procedures, think in terms of customization.

Ideally, you want to work with a vendor that allows you to create custom background check packages based on your hiring needs. 

Avoid companies that offer one-size-fits-all solutions or cookie-cutter approaches. Remember, you'll likely need different sets of background checks for different roles—and you could even have variances among those "sets."  For example, if you have locations in different states, your packages will be influenced by the laws governing those states. 

Having the ability to customize background check packages—and to do so in a compliant manner—will enable you and your team to make better hires.

Choose a background check vendor known for its customer service.

Customization and compliance don't simply "happen." In order to get both, you need a dedicated account manager who'll get to know your hiring challenges, your business model, and the current positions you're hiring for. Only then can your account manager recommend the right background check package or packages.

Unfortunately, not all background check vendors offer this level of customer service. Do your due diligence. A good place to start is by checking reviews on places like Trust Pilot.

Signs of superior customer service:

  • You're automatically assigned a dedicated account manager.
  • You have the account manager's direct line and email (not a generic 800 number).
  • Your account manager is proactive and reaches out to you to check in regularly.
  • The background check company treats candidates well, too!

Save yourself the hassle. Call Good Egg.

At Good Egg, we strive to be the best-reviewed background check company on the planet—for a reason. We know how important great customer service is to the background check process. Our team delivers superior service while creating custom packages based on your needs—not ours. 

Let's discuss how we can help you with employee verifications and so much more.


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Mariah Barr

Posted by Mariah Barr

Mariah Barr is the Content Marketing Writer at Good Egg. She's played a few roles in her professional life, but they’ve always involved writing interesting and informative pieces. Outside of work you can find her walking her dog or working on a DIY home improvement project.

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