employment application

Check Their References

Tasha Dyson, CFEBackground Investigation


employment applicationI was working on a background investigation for a client recently, and I was reminded of a valuable lesson. (By the way, names and identifying information have been edited in this story, but the circumstances and situations have not.) When we verify employment, normally companies only provide dates of employment and position held. Sometimes companies will tell you whether the applicant would be eligible for rehire, but some companies prohibit releasing this information.

The applicant is seeking a professional, white-collar position. On the face of it, he seems to be a “stand-up” guy. He speaks well and presents a good image. His résumé says all the right things. He listed his previous employer on his application and indicated that his previous employer could be contacted as a reference. He even listed his previous employer as an additional professional reference.

Would you hire him, or would you want to know more?

The applicant listed three former employers. The most recent employer was a small business, so when I called to get information, I was directed to Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith is one of the owners of the business, and he was also the former direct supervisor of the applicant. I asked him to confirm dates of employment and job title, and the information matched what the applicant had provided.

When I asked if the applicant would be eligible for rehire, Mr. Smith said, “Not a chance in hell.”

When asked for a reason, Mr. Smith said, “Sucked. Lied – lied about his abilities.” When asked if he wanted to provide additional detail, Mr. Smith said, “I can’t without cursing and getting really angry.”

This is why we check references.


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