How can employers find out if you lie on a job application about your work history?

If you just left a job off your application, as if you’d never held it, how could a prospective empoloyer find out? I know the Social Security Admin. keeps a record of all employment that paid SS tax. Does anyone have access to their records? Police? Fire? Anyone?

Does the omission leave a gap on the employment dates on a resume? If so, the prospective employer will probably ask about that and expect to hear a good story.

Are other employment dates fudged to fill the gap? If so, watch out because the prospective employer may call past employers to verify employment. Most companies will not provide a reference but most will at least confirm dates of employment.

Mildy related… we just had a guy here that got fired for lying on his resume. He said he had a PhD from a university not far from here. Some of the little gaps in his knowledge made his superiors suspicious so they asked to see his diploma, he presented one but it didn’t look quite right so they got in contact with the registrar’s office who had absolutely no record of his attendence. After some questioning he admitted the diploma was fake.

Lizard - the answer to your OP is yes, the perspective employer can find out if you worked somewhere, even if it is not on your resume.

However, if you are up front and honest with the perspective employer, you need not worry about it. For instance, you could say - if asked - that you wrote a targeted resume, where it is quite common to leave out past employers who do not attribute anything to the company you are looking to get hired at. However, if you want to omit a past employer because you did something wrong or they have a bad taste for you, then that may be a different story.

In the US of A a past employer is only allowed to give someone asking the dates you worked, and if they would rehire. Though sometimes if they have a grudge, they will say a little more.

Unless I’ve missed something recently, there’s no law about what a past employer can or cannot say about you, when called for a reference. It’s just that there have been so many lawsuits by disgruntled former employees, that most companies have become very gun-shy about providing anything beyond the most minimal information.

We had a similar situation at a pharmaceutical company where I used to work as what Opengrave described. We had a guy who got hired who claimed to have a BS in Chemistry. Oddly enough, one day we went to a Red Robin restaurant (similar to Denny’s) where they had a ‘dessert’ periodic chart and we were all trying to remember some of the more obscure elements further down the chart.

People turned to the ‘Chemist’ and discovered he knew VERY virtually none of the chart which struck us all as a little strange. Someone then did some checking and discovered that not only had he never gone to college but that he was also responsible for all the lab contaminations we were having (each case could be directly traced back to him). We had hired Homer Simpson, apparently.

The sad thing is, at the time, he was the ONLY black employee in this otherwise small company, so they even gave him another chance to prove he could do the job even despite the lies because they feared a discrimination law suit. He continued to screw up over and over. Dispite this extra chance, he STILL brought a discrimination suit against the company when he was eventually fired. Fortunately, he lost.

Phlosphr, I think the OP wanted to know how they would find out. You know like word of mouth --which I have seen often.

All I know is, if CRorex comes in here with a work-related anecdote, I’m leaving the planet on the next flight. :eek:

There are businesses which, for a fee, will pose as a potential employer, to obtain references and other information from your previous employer. I list this one – – merely to demonstrate that such businesses exist, not as an endorsement.

Cool link yr Higness. :cool:

Phlosphr is right. You could claim it was “targeted”. Also, if it was less than a year, creative use of date rounding is useful.

But don’t ever out & out lie. Puffery, rounding, and some creative writing is OK. Maybe spiff up your job responsibilties a bit. But no “lies”.

I’ve worked at a company that does the reference checks for companies. Normally, if the employers don’t want to do it themselves, they contract other companies to do background checks for them.

At the company I worked for, an employer gives us a stack of employees to screen. We then contact each school, past employer, and professional body that the potential employee has put on their resume. So if a potential employee puts down that they graduated suma cum laude from Harvard, then we contact Harvard to confirm.

The employer can also request (and normally do) a credit, litigation, and criminal check. This is make sure that there are no lawsuits or unexpected scandalous things popping up.

Of course the potential employee has to sign a waiver for all of this, or else the institutions/companies would not release the information. And since the checks can get quite pricey, these things are normally done on higher level positions.

Be very careful about resume inflation. I have seen people not get jobs, and be fired for streaching the truth just a little too far.
Some companies have no sense of humour

Well, I’m not talking about making up things a person never did. I meant more like suituations where a person doesn’t mention a job they did have. Some jobs require you to post every job you’ve held within the last 20 years. What if you didn’t mention the one you held 5 years ago for 6 months where you got fired? How would anyone know you had ever worked for that business, if you didn’t tell them?

The job apps I have filled out for large companies usually say something like “List all jobs held over the last 10 years. Explain any gaps over 3 months.”
A 6 month gap would bring the question “What about this 6 month period here, what were you doing then?”

And if you replied “Well, I was sitting on a rock in the desert, trying to find myself,” how could they prove otherwise?

I would think that if you don’t mention it, then it would be next to impossible to find out. The current company would then need access to a record of your income at that previous company, which I think only the taxation office would have, excluding, of course, the previous place of employment.

I don’t think the IRS would let anyone in the private sector find these things out. I could be wrong about this, though.

I can think of several scenarios where an employer or prospective employer would find out about an omitted job. Let’s say you listed a friend as a character reference, and that person is contacted. In response to, “What do you know about your friend’s employment history?” your friend discloses the omitted job.

If you apply for a job that requires some sort of clearance, you most likely signed an authorization allowing info. about yourself from many sources, including apartment rental companies or landlords. Sometimes your jobs are listed in places that you forget about.

For a fee, the Social Security Administration will prepare a history of your employment, and how much you earned from each employer each year. Presumably a prospective employer, especially one who requires a high security clearance, may ask you to sign a waiver to allow them to obtain such a history on you.

Very interesting. Thanks for straightening this out Walloon.

Would this work even for jobs in which you paid no Social Security? Certain government jobs do this; I know the job I worked at for the past several years, before my current position, did that. I guess I’m wondering if it keeps track of those positions. Yearly my coworkers and I would get statements from Social Security with $0 in the previous years’ balances, but I wonder if they knew what job I had regardless.