The Importance of Employment History Verification

Your resume writing ability and your personal Internet presence are critical to reducing the amount of time it takes to land a career opportunity. Some say it takes on average 1-month for every $10,000 of annual income you earn to find your next job when you are out of work. I'm not so sure I agree with the correlation, but I do agree that as you move up the corporate food chain it can take longer to land that next assignment. For some executives it can take longer than they can financially stand to wait.

What's worse is to a certain degree hiring is also somewhat seasonal. It probably won't shock anyone to learn summer is typically the slowest hiring season of the year. This can be extremely tough on a job seeker's moral - especially if they aren't aware of the seasonality associated with hiring. If you aren't landing that next opportunity during the summer months, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with your employability.

Do you find yourself (or know someone) in a situation where you need or want to conduct a proactive job search campaign?

Regardless of your reasons, need, or desire to engage in a proactive job search, conducting a proactive job search can be one of the most frustrating challenges for anyone at any level and at any point in their career. Why? Because the outcome is often a function of timing, and has nothing to do with how marketable you are. That said, increasing your marketability and exposure to opportunity only improves your ability to capitalize on being in the right place at the right time to take that next step in your career.

With the right strategy and approach not only can your increase your exposure to more opportunity, you can also increase your exposure to better opportunities.

It isn't complicated, but it can be a lot of hard work and it's critical you have access to the right tools to get the job done.

The first thing to realize when embarking on a proactive job search campaign is that it all starts with your resume writing skills if you are going outside of your immediate "friends & family" business contact network.

Most executives fall into the trap of trivializing the importance of having the best possible resume by saying, "I communicate my value and the substance of my career best in an interview."

If your resume isn't -pin sharp- in its ability to concisely articulate your unique differentiated career value proposition by quantifying the scope and scale of responsibility you've held and the business impact your efforts have produced in a -measurable- way for each position you've held in your career, you are dead before you even start. You will simply get lost in the pile of resumes that end up in electronic or physical recycle bins without a second thought - let alone without an interview.

You really need to understand the quality, content and format of your resume (especially for an executive) is a strong reflection of your capabilities and focus.

Executives are given a -measurable- scope and scale of responsibility, and they are paid to produce -measurable- business impact. Nobody is paid to simply produce effort.

It is amazing how many executive resumes fail to articulate this -measurable- information. Most resumes contain nothing more than unquantified statements of effort that beg the question: "That's nice, so what did that effort produce in the form of any -measurable- business impact?"

Don't fall into the trap of poor resume writing that fails to articulate your -measurable- scope and scale of responsibility, and the -measurable- business impact you've driven in your resume.

Also give serious thought to abandoning the traditional 1-2 page resume format. Constraining yourself to a traditional 1-2 page resume format is the equivalent of committing job search suicide. Instead, focus on devoting enough physical space to adequately differentiate your career. Why? Because if you try to jam your career value proposition into a 1-2 page resume, you risk being lost in a sea of 1-2 page vanilla resumes.

Some may think this is heresy, but it is simply common sense.

If you are trying to differentiate yourself, it probably isn't a good idea to have a resume that looks like everybody else's.

Want to see how -everybody- else looks? Just look at the -AFTER- "Samples" that e-Resume (examples), Career-Resumes (examples), and even Monster's Resume Center (examples) touts as massively differentiating "Stellar" resumes to see how -EVERYBODY- looks when they constrain themselves to this 1-2 page criteria.

If your goal is to conform and look like EVERYBODY else - and as a result - compete head-to-head in today's job market, then by all means follow their advice. If you want to change the game in your favor and get interviews that others with the same vanilla resumes won't - then don't follow their advice. Simply ask yourself if you want to work for someone that believes the length of someone's resume is a valid hiring criterion, and make your own decision.

Be very careful in reacting to feedback that "Your resume is too long." Why? Because the -only- person you should listen to that comments on the length of your resume is someone that can actually benefit by hiring you. Any other feedback is coming from someone that does not need to hire you, and as such can't benefit from the information that is actually in your resume (i.e., the feedback is totally out of context).

Don't put your success in the hands of a "professional resume writer". Why? Just ask yourself, who knows better what the value of your career accomplishments are - you or someone else that hasn't even come close to having a career like yours? Would you leave the execution of your career responsibilities up to your secretary? Of course not. Then why would you consider depending on someone else's resume writing skills by letting someone else represent/articulate your career accomplishments and value proposition by letting them write your resume?

Are you willing to bet it's because your career isn't a strong fit? Are you willing to bet your resume couldn't be improved?

The only thing standing between you and being able to write a -pin sharp- resume that differentiates your career value proposition - is having access to the right tools.

I wrote an article about 3 years ago called:

That's a pretty good place to start. It discusses many things a job seeker can do to increase their coverage and exposure to possible employment opportunities.

provides job search advice on topics such as resume writing, how to approach recruiters, to how to build a personal Internet presence so someone can actually find you in Google and much more.

After you're written the best possible resume, then the challenge shifts to your personal Internet presence. In other words, can you be found when someone does a search on your name in Google? Do you have an Internet presence? Execunet surveyed their executive recruiters and found 63% of them Google a candidate before reaching out to them and half make a determination whether or not to reach out to a candidate based on what they do or don't find. The easiest way to create an Internet presence is to join an on-line networking platform that gives you not only the ability to build a profile, but to also create other content such as blogs and articles. A networking site with high traffic combined with constantly changing content will rank high in search engines typically. LinkedIn his a site with high traffic, but all of the content is static. Ecademy is a site with reasonably high traffic, but most of the content is contently changing as a result of all of the blogging and article traffic that the members post. As such, a member profile on Ecademy will typically rank much higher than a corresponding member profile on LinkedIn when doing a search on the member's name in Google.

Essentially, any content you create on an on-line networking site that combines reasonable traffic and more importantly contantly changing content will create a kind of preferential ranking scenario in search engines that you can use to your advantage to build a personal Internet presence.

By leveraging a "search engine" friendly networking platform you can quickly create a visible Internet presence. Combine this with other blogging and article publishing activity and your ready to be found by a recruiter.

So take control of the outcome by getting proactive with your job search.

Happy Networking.

Employment history verification is essential for many reasons. Job applicants may lie on their resume to cover up previous employment problems, and even periods of imprisonment that they obviously do not want to reveal in an application for a new job. You are obliged not only by law, but morally, to make as sure as you possibly can that your employees are not harmed through your employment of an unsuitable candidate.
Your verification procedure should detect any false dates of employment provided, any exaggeration of positions or responsibilities held and the possibility of fictitious employers being named. Why does this happen? Why do some candidates feel it necessary to fabricate their resumes or CVs in this way? It is, in fact, not all that uncommon, and there have been some prominent cases reported in the press. Let’s examine some reasons why people do this.
A very common reason for stating false periods of employment with specific companies is to hide dismissal for inappropriate behavior, violence to other employees or theft. Any one of these could provide a good reason for finding an employer guilty of negligible hiring, and this itself introduces a problem. While it is essential that you identify these applicants, the previous employers might be loathe to provide details to you that could indicate them to have been negligent. Sometimes only a professional investigator can get to the truth of these situations.
Another reason is to hide a period of conviction, so someone released from prison can be confident of finding employment quickly. It is easier to provide a fictitious employer, or extend the period of the previous employment. Such temptations can be irresistible to a person desperate to find employment.
If questioned on the reasons for the job changes indicated on the resume, an applicant can provide a change of state or county, or even the desire for advancement, as a reason. They all sound plausible, there having been plenty of time for rehearsal of the story! Both of these excuses, or reasons, are common and are difficult to disprove if previous employers are loathe to provide full employment details. This is particularly true of lies told regarding positions of responsibility. Many employers will agree to provide employment dates if pushed, but no more. Not even severance details.
If you feel that something is not ringing true, or just feel a little bit nervous about the person you are interviewing, you are advised to have a professional carry out full employment history verification, and even a criminal record investigation. These are not tasks that can be given to an employee untrained in the techniques, and the job is too important to your company to hesitate on. A full employment background check should be carried out because you have a duty of care to your workforce.
If the position offered demands a certain level of management experience or seniority, then a few applicants will be tempted to exaggerate their previous employment. There are many recorded instances of candidates for senior positions falsifying their resumes in this way, and being offered the position only to be found out at a later date. This type of falsification is stupid because you will eventually be found lacking in the skills you should have had were your claims true.
You must carry out a full employee background check on all applicants to whom you are considering offering a job. The law requires that you take all steps to avoid negligent hiring, and failing to carry out employment history verification checks is regarded as employment negligence. The cost to your company can be crippling if someone you hired went on to injure another employee, or even just steal from them.
Sometimes other employers can be difficult when asked for employment history, but if you provide them with a completed release of information form they should have no grounds for refusal. A professional can deal with this, since they do it every day. In fact, frequently, just asking the candidate to sign the release form when they make the application is sufficient to put them off.
If an applicant refuses to complete such a release form, then don’t employ them. The same should apply if previous employers refuse to provide full employment histories, and in such a case you should inform the applicant why they are not being considered for the job.
You must carry out a suitable and sufficient employment history verification to meet your own legal obligations, and you can have no excuses for failing to do so. You can try to do it yourself, or have one of your employees do it, but you are better advised to employ a professional in employee screening to carry out a professional job for you. You will then be able to sleep well at night without worry.