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During the job search process, your potential employer is likely to contact your former employer to verify your employment history. Employers typically exchange some basic information about your work history in addition to your name and title, but there are a number of misconceptions about what information can and cannot be exchanged.
Are You Eligible for Rehire?
One of the things a prospective new employer likely wants to know is whether your former employer would want you on its payroll again. For many employers, asking if you are eligible for rehire is a polite way of asking if you left on good terms. If your former employer would not consider hiring you again in the future, this could serve as a red flag to other employers.
Don't assume you're not eligible for rehire even if you were fired from a previous job. Your former employer might still consider you eligible for rehire in the future.
Despite popular misconceptions, your former employer may specify whether you were terminated and even the reason. According to employment attorney Donna Ballman, employers can disclose any information they like as long as it is true.
Questions about Your Salary
According to the hospitality industry human resource company HCareers, your new employer will likely ask your former employer about your salary history during your employment. If you were employed for a number of years but did not receive any large increases, it could indicate that the company did not consider you a valuable resource. Numerous or large increases in salary, by contrast, could indicate that you are a superstar that the new company will be lucky to have on board.
According to the background check company HireRite, many employers verify your ending salary and title because some employees exaggerate this information in an attempt to garner a higher starting salary.
Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Some employers may ask about your outstanding skills or notable weaknesses, especially if they are able to speak with your former direct manager. A prospective new employer can evaluate your strengths to see if they are a good fit for your potential new role, or if any weaknesses you exhibited could hinder your performance.
If your previous job was with a large organization, your new employer might only be able to speak with an HR representative rather than your direct manager. Still, your manager may have provided notes that HR can use to answer this question.
Some employers will ask an open-ended question to gather any missing or important details. According to HCareers, an employment verification representative can simply ask if there is anything he should know. This question could garner input about your performance, your role on teams, your attendance and almost anything else a former employee considers noteworthy.
- HCareers: Checking References - Top 10 Questions to Ask
- A Matter of Fact: Employment and Work History Verification
- HCareers: What Can Your Employer Legally Say About You?
- Donna Ballman: Can They Really Say That? What Employers Can Say About You When Giving References
- HireRite: Employment Verification - A Crucial Check
Keith Evans has been writing professionally since 1994 and now works from his office outside of Orlando. He has written for various print and online publications and wrote the book, "Appearances: The Art of Class." Evans holds a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication from Rollins College and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration in strategic leadership from Andrew Jackson University.