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You have submitted your resume, filled out the application, aced the interview – so many questions!  But, what can an employer ask about you when they look at your employment history before they offer you a job, or as part of your employment agreement?

It can be shocking just how much information an employer can learn about you and your employment background.  Don’t worry; there are definitely some questions employers cannot ask about you. Employers are restricted to ask questions based upon the laws in your province.

Now, not all questions – including legal ones – have to be answered by former employers.  However, do keep in mind that some information is public record and can be easily researched through the internet, social media, and other resources.

Below is a list of what employers can lawfully ask about you, tips on how former employers can answer these types of questions, and how you can get ready for employment background checks.

Getting to Know You

So, what do employers want to know?  Depending on a hiring policies and procedures, an employer will want to know the basics or, as we suggest at VerificationsCanada, a full gamut of details from your employment history to determine if you are the right fit for the job, their team and the company.

Below is a list of topics that employers may inquire about when conducting an employment history check:

- Dates of employment
- Job title
- Job responsibilities
- Reasons for leaving the company
- Whether the employee is eligible for rehire
- Performance issues and problems (most employers will not disclose this information for fear of lawsuits for defamation)

How Can Employers Answer?

Remember, former employers have the ability to disclose or not disclose information listed above.  All the better to have solid, trusted references so that the hiring process is smooth and you get hired quickly.

Several companies restrict what they will answer about previous employers.  In some cases, this is due to the fear of lawsuits (as mentioned above), and in other cases, companies do not release certain information based on internal privacy policies and procedures.

In general, most companies limit answers to dates of employment and job titles when going through employment history checks about former employees.

Have concerns about what a former employer will say about you?  During your exit interview (if you don’t have one, request one), inquire about the company’s stance on employment history checks and what information they will release about you.  If your hiring manager does not know this information, contact the HR department.

How to Prepare

It’s always best for you to choose the right references that are trusted and will provide accurate information about your employment details, especially your performance. Always ask for permission to have a former employer as your reference.

In addition, employers, or you if you want to pay the expense, can enlist the assistance from third party vendors, like VerificationsCanada, to perform employment background checks in a fair manner.  This way everything is legal, safe and accurate.