Employment Background Check


What Happens If a Background Check Can’t Verify Employment

background check failure reasons

Background checks are a crucial step in the hiring process, ensuring that potential employees are truthful about their past experiences and qualifications. One of the primary components of these checks is verifying an individual’s employment history. But what happens if a background check can’t verify employment?

If a background check can’t verify employment, it can raise concerns about the applicant’s honesty and accuracy of their provided information. This can lead to delays in the hiring process, and the potential employee might be asked to provide additional documentation or references to validate their employment history.

We’ll delve into why this can happen, what it could mean for you, and how you can mitigate the potential fallout. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s crucial to understand the implications and be proactive in ensuring accurate employment history verification. Let’s navigate this tricky terrain together.

Understanding Employment Verification

In your job hunt, you’ll likely encounter employment verification, a critical step that most employers use to validate the work history you’ve provided. This procedure forms a key part of the background check process that’s often initiated once you’ve submitted your job application.

Additionally, employers may sometimes find it necessary to run a background check on an existing employee. This could be for various reasons, such as internal promotions, compliance with certain regulations, or periodic checks to ensure ongoing integrity and reliability of their workforce.

Employment verification isn’t merely a cursory glance at your resume. Instead, it’s a detailed investigation into your employment history. It involves reaching out to your previous employers to confirm that the positions you’ve held, the duties you’ve performed, and the dates of your employment are accurately represented on your application.

This process is crucial for employers. It helps them ensure they’re hiring candidates with the right level of experience and skills. For you, it’s an affirmation of your professional integrity. However, it’s not uncommon for discrepancies to arise during employment verification, usually due to unintentional errors in dates, job titles, or company names.

Understanding the importance of employment verification is the first measure in ensuring a seamless job application process. But what if your employment can’t be confirmed? This question takes us to the next part of our discussion: reasons for unconfirmed employment.

Implications of Unverified Employment

background check pass or fail

When your employment history verification hits a snag, it can have serious implications on your job prospects. An unverified employment on your background check can raise red flags to potential employers. This is particularly concerning in employment verification background checks, where the inability to verify past employment can lead employers to question your integrity and credibility as a job candidate.

Employment background checks are a critical part of the hiring process. They provide employers with a detailed account of your past work history. So, if a background check can’t verify employment, it could mean a lost job opportunity. The implications of unverified employment are particularly severe in industries where trust and reliability are paramount.

Employers might view the discrepancy between the information you provided and the employment verification background as a sign of dishonesty. This could potentially damage your professional reputation. Even if the unverified employment was unintentional or due to factors beyond your control, it might still be seen as a reflection of your character.

Reasons for Failing a Background Check

background checks failure reasons

In today’s competitive job market, employers rely heavily on background checks to make informed hiring decisions. However, there are instances where potential employees might face a background check failure. Understanding the reasons behind such failures can help both employers and job seekers navigate the hiring process more effectively.

Criminal History

One of the primary reasons to fail employment background check is a candidate’s criminal history. Criminal records provide a glimpse into an individual’s past, revealing any interactions they might have had with the legal system.

  • Types of convictions that can be uncovered: These can range from minor offenses, like misdemeanor convictions, to more serious crimes. It’s essential to note that not all convictions are equal. Some might be related to mistaken identity or could be from a distant past where the individual has since reformed.
  • How different convictions might impact hiring decisions: Depending on the nature of the job, certain convictions might be deemed more relevant than others. For instance, a criminal conviction related to financial fraud might be a red flag for a banking position but not necessarily for a role that doesn’t deal with money.

Employment History

Another crucial aspect that background checks focus on is the candidate’s employment history.

  • What is employment verification?: This process involves checking the employment dates, roles, and even the performance of potential employees with their current employer or previous ones. It ensures that the information provided on the resume matches the background check report.
  • Consequences of discrepancies between a resume and verification results: Discrepancies, whether they arise from a bad reference or gaps in employment, can raise questions about a candidate’s credibility and professionalism.

Education History

Educational qualifications are often a significant part of job requirements.

  • Importance of verifying academic credentials: Education verification ensures that the candidate has the necessary qualifications and has attended the institutions they claim to have. It’s not just about checking degrees but also the authenticity of the institutions.
  • Potential consequences of discrepancies: Providing false educational information, whether intentionally or due to oversight, can lead to a candidate being viewed as dishonest or untrustworthy.

Driving Record

For roles that involve driving or operating heavy machinery, a candidate’s driving record becomes pivotal.

  • What an MVR check reveals: Motor Vehicle Reports (MVR) provide insights into an individual’s driving records, highlighting any violations, suspensions, or other infractions.
  • How driving records can impact hiring for certain roles: A poor driving record, especially for roles that involve transportation, can be a significant concern for employers, potentially indicating recklessness or a lack of responsibility.

Drug Test

Many employers require candidates to undergo drug tests to ensure a safe and productive work environment.

  • Purpose of pre-employment drug tests: These tests aim to detect the presence of illegal or controlled substances in a candidate’s system.
  • Implications of a failed drug test: Failing a drug test can lead to the withdrawal of a job offer, especially if the role involves tasks where utmost concentration and care are required.

In conclusion, while the background check process might seem daunting, it’s a crucial step in ensuring that employers make informed decisions when hiring. Candidates, on the other hand, can prepare by ensuring accuracy in their application materials and being transparent about their past.

Mitigating Unverified Employment Issues

reasons to fail employment background check

As you navigate the issue of unverified employment, it’s important to know how to mitigate any potential problems that may arise. Unverified employment can complicate matters when a background check can’t verify employment, raising questions about your integrity and reliability. Let’s explore some strategies for mitigating unverified employment issues.

Enhance your documentation:

This is the first step in mitigating issues related to employment verifications. Keep detailed records of your past employment. This includes:

  • Pay stubs
  • W-2 forms
  • Employment contracts
  • Any written communication with your employer.

Leverage an employment reporting agency:

When previous employment can’t be confirmed, consider using an employment reporting agency. These agencies can:

  • Verify your employment history
  • Provide documentation if your previous employer is no longer in business, or if they’re unresponsive.

These steps can help bolster your credibility and ensure your employment history is verifiable.

Ensuring Accurate Employment History Verification

How can you ensure the accuracy of your employment history verification during a background check? It’s a concern for many job seekers, especially when a background check can’t verify employment.

Maintaining a detailed record of your employment history is key. Accurate employment history verification hinges on the job seeker’s ability to provide comprehensive, verifiable information. This includes accurate dates of employment, employer contact information, and job titles.

Additionally, maintaining open communication with former employers can be beneficial. Inform them about prospective employers who might be reaching out for verification. This can expedite the process and ensure that the information provided aligns with your records.

If you’re dealing with a third-party background check company, it’s crucial to ensure they’re reputable. They should follow strict procedures to verify information, reducing the chance of discrepancies.

Remember, it’s not uncommon for a background check to have difficulties verifying employment. Employers understand this and typically provide opportunities for clarification. Be proactive in addressing any discrepancies. It’s your responsibility to provide accurate information and follow up on any issues.

Ensuring accurate employment history verification isn’t just about passing a background check, it’s about establishing trust between you and your prospective employer.


In conclusion, don’t underestimate the power of accurate employment verification. Failing to verify a candidate’s employment could result in hiring unqualified personnel.

Astonishingly, a HireRight report showed that 85% of employers caught applicants lying on their resumes.

With careful diligence during the hiring process, you can ensure you’re building a team of trustworthy, qualified professionals, enhancing your company’s productivity and credibility.

FAQs (People Also Ask)

What does it mean if a background check can’t verify employment?

When a background check can’t verify employment, it indicates a discrepancy between the information provided by the candidate and the data obtained during the check. This could be due to various background check failure reasons, such as the company no longer being in operation, inaccurate employment dates, or even clerical errors by the consumer reporting agency.

Can you fail a background check due to inconsistent job titles?

Yes, inconsistent job titles can be one of the reasons to fail employment background check. While job titles might vary across organizations, significant inconsistencies can raise red flags. It’s essential to ensure that the titles listed on your resume match those provided by your current employer or previous ones.

What are the consequences of discrepancies in employment history during a background check?

Discrepancies, whether they arise from a bad reference, gaps in employment, or other inconsistencies, can lead to a background check pass or fail scenario. Such inconsistencies can make the hiring manager question the candidate’s credibility, potentially leading to a withdrawn job offer or the need for further verification.

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