How does the employment background check/verification process work?

mikey4591's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 7

For background, I recently superday'd with a firm I'd like to work for... thought I killed it... but got rejected and no interviewer responded when I asked for feedback.

My biggest concern is that I was laid off while interviewing, but didn't tell the people I was interviewing with and I think it might have come up in the background check. I was laid off due to company downsizing, not performance, and each MD had offered to write me a letter of recommendation upon request.

This might not have been the reason I was rejected, but I've never been so confident walking out of an interview so it makes the most sense to me.

With that said, a few additional questions regarding background checks and employment verifications:

  • At what point in the process does the employment verification take place? I assume post-interview?
  • What does the employment verification entail?
  • Any horror stories / general thoughts?

Thanks

Investment Banking Interview Course

  • 7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. Crowdsourced from over 500,000 members.
  • Technical, behavioral, networking, case videos, templates. All included.
  • Most comprehensive IB interview course in the world.

Comments (28)

Aug 22, 2017

In my experience, the BG check process is little more than some 3rd party (which may not even be based in the US) calling the numbers you provide for former employers and confirming you worked there during the dates you claimed, if you are "eligible for rehire" (i.e. were you fired?), and possibly salary. They also check for any criminal offenses, both felonies and misdemeanors. Possibly credit score to the extent you will have access to client funds.

In general, I seriously doubt that's what kept you from an offer. It's not nearly as rigorous as most people seem to think. Unless you're outright lying on your resume (making up jobs, grossly exaggerating salary, etc.) you should be fine.

    • 1
Aug 22, 2017

Seems like you're asking about a more informal check where one of your interviewers calls someone at your (formerly) present employer to ask about you. That's totally possible and could very well be a reason you are/were dinged. And if that is what happened, it also makes sense for them to go radio silent afterward. Banks are irrationally afraid of legal liability arising from the interview process, so I assume they'd extra careful about any further correspondence with you if they in fact did an unauthorized check.

That's the risk you took by deciding not to address the layoff in your interviews.

Aug 22, 2017

Agreed with the last line, though I really don't really think they'd press too much? But I guess if they just asked and found that you just left recently when under OP's application, it was probably listed as "Start Date - Present" and suddenly they found out you left....they might press a little?

But I sorta doubt that would be why OP was dinged.

Aug 22, 2017

Im confident all of the interview questions were like "what do you like about where you are now?" You can lie by omission man.

Aug 22, 2017

Background checks are usually done after a verbal offer has been extended and accepted. If they don't know if they're gonna hire you or not, it makes no sense to do a complete third party background check which isn't free.

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Aug 22, 2017

Employment verification is part of background check so this too would be done AFTER offer is extended and accepted. In my case, I actually signed my new-hire paper and offer letter. THEN background check started. Took about 5 days including weekends would have been done sooner but I asked HR and they were waiting for courts to respond to the 3rd party service.

Aug 22, 2017

Yeah I'm just talking about like maybe they called the OP's "present" or was just laid off place and asked around about his work, at most. If not, then it was probably because of interview, that's why he wasn't accepted.

Nothing to do with a real background check.

Aug 22, 2017

Also likely but I've never given a potential employer permission to contact my "present"...for obvious reasons.

Aug 22, 2017

Yeah same but I've also never been asked if they could contact.

Aug 22, 2017

I have but only once. I was at a superday and had to fill out an employment application and there was a box for permission, yes/no.

Aug 24, 2017

Isn't it assumed they go through a 3rd party to do so anyway?

Learn More

7,548 questions across 469 investment banks. The WSO Investment Banking Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to start your career on Wall Street. Technical, Behavioral and Networking Courses + 2 Bonus Modules. Learn more.

Aug 22, 2017

tx. bump for more responses

Also: What's the best way to spin my situation to future employers?

Aug 23, 2017

If the layoff truly wasn't performance related, focus on making that crystal clear. No matter what you do or say, people are still going to think your layoff was at least a little performance related - good analysts are invaluable and don't cost that much. Your job is to minimize this concern by showing (a) extra evidence that you're in factcapable and smart (e.g. acing technicals, smart deal discussions, strong grades) and (b) provide a credible story for why you were canned, with as much evidence as possible.

Of course, if your old team knows you've been dishonest about your employment status with other firms, they'll probably be less enthusiastic about providing a reference.

Oct 11, 2017

Hi Mikey4591,

A1. Employment verification comes into picture only after finalization of the candidate. Once company has decided to offer a candidate, his/her past employment check is done. Few companies also do this activity after on-boarding the candidate. So, it upto the decision maker or the company policies of that organization.

A2. Employment verification includes reference check, past employment details like tenure, organization name, joining & leaving date, reason of leaving, salary package, designation, existance of the organization, etc.

A3. yeah, there's a story of it. once a person came for interview, get selected but at the time of joining, another person came, who was her twin sister, having all the documents like education certificates, past employment details. She hides everything and tried to inpersonate her sister's identity & her sister was dead that time.

Oct 11, 2017

Wouldn't worry about it...

Oct 11, 2017

It is not going to be an issue. HR is full of incompetent skanks, anyway.

    • 1
    • 1
Oct 11, 2017

Should be fine.
They may not be able to verify it, but the it sounds like they would not be told incorrectly that you didn't work there.
If they can't get any info from the company, a secondhand source should be fine.

Oct 11, 2017

bump

Oct 11, 2017

You're fine.

The only issue is if for some very strange reason the company you got the job offer from knows that manger personally. Given that you're likely going into a finance position it is unrelated so i'd peg your chances at 1/100000000000000000 of this impacting you.

Chill and go grab a glass of vodka/soda.

Oct 11, 2017
zerojb34:

I'm under the assumption that a background check only checks dates of employment right? Two jobs ago I had a job that I listed on my resume that was just a basic sales job at a retail store. I left abruptly to go back to school and I doubt the manager was too pleased with that. That won't affect my background check, right? They just check that I actually worked there?

Nope. You're definitely fired. Sorry. Banks do not tolerate people who were not top performers as 16 year-old employees American Eagle.

(in the future, use the search function)

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/ib-background-...

Oct 11, 2017

Haha thanks man. I know it's an illogical worry, just the apprehension that comes with getting a really desired job.

Oct 11, 2017
zerojb34:

Haha thanks man. I know it's an illogical worry, just the apprehension that comes with getting a really desired job.

A bit of advice: stop thinking about it. Your job is in the bag for the summer (assuming no outright falsification of employment / education). Enjoy the rest of your school year and check your anxiety at the door when you walk into your new job. It won't help you.

Oct 11, 2017

My friend did this. He was very worried about a manager from sophomore year internship who apparently didn't like this lad. Now, my friend's dad is in a C level position at a software firm, and so he got his dad to run a background check on him to make sure that MD wasn't badmouthing him. Nothing happened; the MD maintained his professionalism and confirmed that my friend worked there ... no more, no less.

Oct 11, 2017
Oct 7, 2018