As an employer with any track record of hiring, you’re bound to get calls requesting employment verification for past employees. Before you begin fielding these calls, it’s important to designate a person on your staff to accept these calls as well as have a protocol in place for what you will and will not provide as part of an employment verification.
Inside most organizations, responsibility for employment verification falls to the HR Manager or the business owner if none is available. While callers may attempt to secure information from “whomever answers the phone,” under no circumstances should that responsibility fall to the receptionist or anyone without direct access to HR records.
Upon receipt of inquiry, it is a best practice to verify with the former employee that they have made application for new employment and wish you to provide verification. If the former employee hasn’t contacted you already (which would be the appropriate and professional thing to do), call them. Unfortunately, there are bad actors out there who will call under the guise of an employment verification in a surreptitious attempt to secure personal information.
Once you’ve verified the legitimacy of the request, caution still prevails in terms of what and how much to share. Within each organization you need to set your own rules but a best practice we encourage is to limit verifications to five areas of information:
- The start and end dates of employment.
- The last job title held by the employee.
- The ending pay rate.
- Indicator of whether the separation was voluntary or involuntary.
- Indicator of whether the employee is eligible for re-hire.
Beyond providing factual and close-ended responses to the above questions, it’s best not to elaborate unless specifically asked to do so by the former employee. Sharing “why” details can open the door to subjectivity that may expose employers to libel claims.