From an employer’s point of view, the most important thing that should be checked when assessing a candidate for a new position is their work history and experience. A candidate’s work history can offer valuable insights into someone’s qualifications, dependability, and how likely they are to be a good employee for your organisation. Reference checking is a standard part of the pre-employment checking process, along with identity checking, and a DBS check depending on the role being undertaken. There are many reasons why employers are taking increased care over checking out work history and qualifications.


Qualification Checking

One of the main reasons for checking someone’s work history is to verify the accuracy of the qualifications and skills claimed by the candidate. By double checking their past roles and responsibilities, you can make sure that the candidate has the right skills and experience for the role you are offering.



One of the main things an employer is looking for is someone who is reliable and trustworthy. Looking at a candidate’s work history gives an indication of their approach to changing jobs. Frequent job changes or unexplained gaps may raise red flags and the need for further investigation. A consistent work history generally indicates a candidate’s dedication and reliability but should always be considered alongside other factors.


Career Progression

A candidate’s work history offers a good overview of their career progression. Has the candidate steadily advanced in their field, taking on greater responsibilities and challenges over time? Gaps in careers are not necessarily a problem but should be questioned at the interview stage. Someone who appears to have bounced between a lot of jobs at different levels may not be everything they seem.


Red Flags

Inconsistent or unverifiable work history should be treated with caution as it could be a sign of dishonesty. Sometimes employees have a good reason for having a previous employer who cannot be contacted, because they have gone out of business, or moved overseas. Although there may be a reasonable explanation, these discrepancies should always be investigated.


Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Certain industries have specific regulations and requirements. In healthcare for example, people applying for work as a doctor or nurse must have the appropriate training and be registered with the right medical body. Verifying a candidate’s work history helps employers comply with these regulations, reducing the risk of legal consequences. Many professional bodies have online databases of helplines which employers can use to verify the claims which the applicant is making.


Protecting Reputation

People with questionable work histories can tarnish your company’s reputation. Taking on someone who later turns out to be unreliable, unqualified, or unethical can negatively impact your business’s image and trustworthiness with customers. It’s often a good idea to pick up the phone and speak to someone at their previous employer. Fear of getting into legal difficulties means people are often reluctant to put concerns in writing but may be more willing to share opinions of someone over the phone.