employment verification

Best Background Checks For Employment History Verification

Last updated on May 11, 2021

Some job candidates break out in a cold sweat when a prospective employer asks to run an employment verification on them, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Admittedly, not all of us have a squeaky-clean employment record, and the thought of a future employer discovering we were fired from a position a few years ago can give even the most confident of candidates sleepless nights.

Worse still, is making sure the history you’ve detailed on your resume is accurate. If you’ve had a lot of different jobs, getting the details right can be challenging, especially if you’ve been working for a long time. Unfortunately, inaccuracies look a lot like falsehoods to prospective employers.

While employers are legally obliged to use only accredited CRA agencies for their background check and employment history investigations, if you want to find out the truth about someone’s claims or simply want to make sure your employment history is accurate and up-to-date, you can use an online background check company to run a personal employment verification.

Why Run an Employment Background Check if I’m Not an Employer?

You may be wondering why you’d want to verify someone’s employment history unless you were planning on hiring them but there are a few circumstances where such an employment history verification can prove both helpful and informative.

For instance, if you’re dating a guy who claims to be a doctor and things are starting to get serious enough that you’re planning a future together, making sure that he is who he says he is, and that he has both the career and earning potential implied by his position is vital.

Parents may also want to verify that their offspring are as settled and well-off as they say they are. Maybe you suspect your sister of lying about having a job so she can keep living at home, and don’t like the thought of her taking advantage of your parents. In these circumstances, it’s perfectly acceptable to background check employment history and find out what’s really going on. After all, if you know the whole story, you may be able to help that person out of a tricky situation.

Running a background check on yourself can also prepare you for any difficult questions during a job interview. For instance, you may be unsure of exactly what dates you worked for a specific company, years back, but just guessing at the dates and hoping for the best could ruin your chances. Instead, run a background check employment history search on yourself and make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row.

How Does a Background Check Verify Employment?

To be fair, no online background check company can verify anything regarding your past employment beyond what you may have posted about yourself on social media or in an online resume. No one at any background check company is going to be phoning around your past employers confirming your job title or date of termination.

This is exactly how a background check verifies employment – by speaking with the human resources departments at your previous places of work – and why lying on your resume is liable to land you in hot water. Despite this, it seems an honest resume is hard to track down, with around 30% containing inaccurate employment dates and an alarming 54% containing false information.

Unfortunately, an online background check company doesn’t have access to your employment history, so if you want to be certain that the information on your resume is completely accurate, you can try one or all of these following steps:

Request for Social Security Earnings Information

Social Security can supply you with detailed information about your past employment dates, as well as the names and addresses of your employers and earnings. Simply complete and submit the form.

Check Your Tax Returns

If you’ve saved copies of your tax returns, you can check these for company information and income verification. It will also give you an idea of your dates of employment.

Contact Past Employers

While this may be time-consuming, it’s also the best way to get accurate information.

Of course, no online background check company is going to be contacting your past employers to verify the information as an FCRA-accredited company would do, but you’d be surprised at how accurate the information they glean from public records is.

The Best Background Checks for Employment History Verification

#1 TruthFinder

In the unlikely event that you want to discover a person’s work history, but you only have a telephone number and no name or address, TruthFinder is the best place to go. Not only is a reverse phone lookup one of the cheapest background checks you can perform, but with TruthFinder, from those 10 digits, you could make some shocking discoveries.

Maybe your sister was working in a strip club when she said she was a legal secretary, or that your new roommate earns minimum wage at a fast-food outlet, rather than a top dollar at a fashion boutique as she told you. Indeed, you’d be surprised at just what shows up in a background check.

The great thing about TruthFinder’s phone lookup service is that it generates a huge amount of information while requiring very little financial outlay. A reverse phone lookup costs less than $2, and will give you personal information about the individual, such as their name and current address, as well as details of their work and education history, and social media profiles.

More detailed reports inevitably cost a bit more, or rather, quite a lot more, and those wanting complete background reports, including criminal history, known associates, and professional licenses, must invest in a monthly or three-month subscription, costing between $20 and $30 per month.

Although TruthFinder’s pricing plans are rather restrictive, and there is no option for buying just a one-off report, its reverse phone lookup service offers a cost-effective way of securing someone’s employment history verification.

Try TruthFinder out here or read our full review here.

#2 Instant Checkmate

An Instant Checkmate People Search will not only give you information about past and present employers, previous work history, possible occupations, and an individual’s average net worth, but it will even find professional licenses under their name. In other words, if your latest online love interest says he’s a lawyer, but Instant Checkmate reveals he’s never held a license to practice law, chances are he’s lying.

Instant Checkmate’s website is inviting and colorful while performing a search is straightforward. While Instant Checkmate performs its background checks, there will be pop-ups asking for additional information about the person you’re searching for so you can narrow down the search range and generate more accurate results.

Whether you opt for a standard or premium report, Instant Checkmate will furnish you with as much information about that individual’s employment history as possible. A premium report contains even more information, including:

  • Known Business Associates
  • Civil Judgements
  • Foreclosures
  • Hunting and Fishing Permits
  • Property Ownership
  • Weapons Permits
  • Neighbors

Although Instant Checkmate generates user-friendly reports packed with pretty accurate results, it does so at a price. Fortunately, if you only want to run one or two background checks or employment verifications, you can make the most of the five-day trial which costs only $1.

If you want more than that, you’ll need to sign up for a monthly or three-month subscription, which will cost you between $27 and $34 per month. But they say knowledge is power, and if it costs just $30 a month to harness that power, it’s pretty good value for money.

Give Instant Checkmate a test run here or read our full review here.

#3 PeopleLooker

PeopleLooker has a nice, clean user-interface for users to perform online background checks and employment verification. It’s simple and straightforward and reminds you not to use the results for any activity that contravenes the Fair Credit Reporting Act before it gives you access to your report. It’s a little slower than some other services, but its reports are well-organized, with different sections like criminal history and related people listed across the top of the screen.

Although People Looker is better known for its comprehensive social media results, its employment history verification section is detailed enough to give you an idea of someone’s work ethic and experience. PeopleLooker will also notify its users, should any new information become available about the individual they checked out.

As with many online background check services, PeopleLooker is rather cagey about its pricing structure, and it’s only through requesting a report that you can really gauge how much the information contained in it is going to cost you. Fortunately, the answer is: a lot less than some of the others.

PeopleLooker offers the same one month and three-month subscription options as the other companies listed here, but its prices range from just $18 to $22 per month, making it more affordable than the competition. While it would be nice to have a one-off report option, PeopleLooker nevertheless offers good value for money and a reasonable level of accuracy.

Sign up with People Looker here, or check out its pros and cons in our full report.

The Law and Background Check Employment Verification

Although there are very few limits on the information you can access with an online employment history background check, a few different laws dictate what you use that data for. Even if you’ve managed to put together a whole decade of past employers and job descriptions, using them to assess an individual’s suitability for a job is against the law.

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, employers can only use Consumer Reporting Agencies to perform background checks and employment verifications to make employment decisions. This extends to individuals employing babysitters, nannies, domestic workers, and housekeepers.

The legal requirements don’t end there either. As an employer, before you can request an employment history verification, you must first inform the candidate and get their written consent. Should the background report reveal information that the employer deems you unsuitable for the position, they must give you a copy of that report, along with a copy of your rights, including the right to appeal.

Job applicants are also within their rights to refuse a background check, although doing so is unlikely to improve your chances of employment, as an employer can choose not to hire you based on such a refusal.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act was put in place to protect individuals against discrimination, and beyond this federal law, state laws also dictate how background checks are performed and how the results of such employment history verifications can be used.

These are changing all the time, and with Colorado revamping its employment laws to boost equal employment opportunities, it’s important to keep abreast of such changes and ensure that you stay on the right side of the law.


Background checks are a great way of putting your mind at rest and confirming that someone close to you is being honest about their profession and where they’ve worked in the past, among other things.

Rather than rushing blindly into a relationship with someone you met online, run a check background check with a reliable service and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. After all, you don’t want to be left supporting an unemployed spouse when you thought you were moving in with a brain surgeon!

How does a background check verify employment? Well, an FCRA-accredited company will contact the human resources departments of your past places of employment and confirm the dates of employment as well as the job description. An online background check won’t go into this level of detail, but will nonetheless give a broad picture of an individual’s employment history.

While you can’t use the information gathered by a company like TruthFinder to ascertain someone’s suitability for employment, you can use it to protect yourself against liars and chancers. Why share an apartment with a struggling, out-of-work actress when a legal secretary would be a more financially wise choice? You won’t have to if you use a background check employment history service to sort the wheat from the chaff.

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