Resume Verification: 3 Keys For Success

Successful resume verification can identify fraudulent degrees, incorrect employment and graduation dates, inflated salary histories and false job titles—issues that may help you determine a candidate is not right for you.

But what goes into a successful resume verification process? An important factor is the quality of the information provided by candidates in both the applicant release form and employment verification form (usually included on a job application or background screening questionnaire). If complete and correct, this information can be particularly helpful for completing background checks. However, if it’s incomplete or incorrect, it can hinder the verification process.

Here are three keys to getting the information you need for a successful resume verification process:

Wet vs. Electronic Signature

For legal reasons and verification purposes, candidates must submit a signed release that authorizes you to conduct an employment background check before you can begin the process. When a researcher contacts a candidate’s former employer, they usually request a copy of that release before they verify any information.

The problem: many employers have their candidates electronically sign these forms, and in many cases, this authorization simply requires a candidate to check a box that grants consent. While electronic consent is legal, many employers won’t verify past employment without seeing a “wet” signature or something resembling a signature.

They do this because they can’t afford to release confidential or protected information without proof that they were provided proper authorization by the subject of the inquiry. If you don’t have this information, there’s a good chance that they will withhold information until you can provide it.

Avoid this problem using one of two methods. The first: fax or scan and email the form. The other: use an electronic signature, but instead of a check box, use mouse-signature technology.

Ask Candidates To Be Thorough

Ask applicants to be thorough when listing past employment information on an employment verification form. If a candidate worked for a company with franchises or multiple locations, such as McDonald’s, providing something like the information below will not suffice.

  • Name: John Smith
  • Employer: McDonald’s
  • Location: N/A
  • Contact Information: N/A

To prevent this, communicate to candidates that they need to provide as much information as possible, including:

  • Employer Name
  • Employer Location
  • Employer Phone Number or Website
  • Dates of Employment
  • Starting and Ending Job Title
  • Starting and End Salary
  • Reason for Leaving

This advice isn’t limited to employment verification, as academic information also must be filled out to completion. Failing to do so may result in candidates not clarifying whether they graduated from a school or only attended, which can delay the background check.

Another commonly overlooked piece of information: whether candidates worked directly for the organizations they claim or through temp agencies or contractors. Not having this information can delay the search while the background screener attempts to resolve the inconsistency.

Employment Verification Form vs. Verified Information

The best verification is one where the screening company can compare the information the candidate provided to the information the employer shared. This is why I encourage you to tell candidates that they must fill out all of the information requested to the best of their ability. This can be used to highlight inconsistencies such as dates of employment, salary, job titles or responsibilities, etc., which in turn offers more insight into a candidate’s experience and character.

If a hiring manager is able to see that candidate-supplied information matches the verification, they can make an informed hiring decision, knowing that the information the candidate provided was accurate. The opposite is also true—for candidates whose information does not align with the employment verification, a hiring manager can look at the discrepancies and make an intelligent hiring decision.

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