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How to Check Someone's Employment History

Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it, and an employer who doesn't know a potential employee's true work history is doomed to have problems in the future.


  • Step 1: Know the law Understand that companies won't usually comment on a former employee's performance for fear of being sued. Check with an attorney about what is appropriate to ask when calling previous employers.
  • TIP: Hire a professional screening firm to check your potential employee's work history.
  • Step 2: Let your potential employee know Let your potential employee know in writing that you are doing a background check and request permission to check their work history. Let them know about any information you find that puts them in a bad light, and give them a chance to defend themselves.
  • Step 3: Call previous employers Call your candidate's former supervisors to confirm or deny the salaries and dates of employment reported on their resume.
  • Step 4: Interview Interview the candidate multiple times. If your candidate is lying about their work history, they will have a harder time keeping their lies straight over multiple interviews.
  • Step 5: Get specific Get specific details about the start and end dates of your candidate's previous jobs, and their job titles. Ask questions about the responsibilities your candidate had at their previous job to find out if they are using phony job titles to embellish their work history.
  • Step 6: Ask about jobs not listed Ask about jobs that are not listed on the resume. See if your candidate left out part of their employment history that puts them in a bad light.
  • FACT: Studies show that as many as 35 percent of applications contain lies about a candidate's dates of previous employment.

You Will Need

  • Attorney
  • Written permission
  • Contact information for previous employers
  • Interviews
  • Professional screening firm (optional)

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