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Your Office Coach

What to do when an employer claims you never even worked there

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Q: “About seven years ago, I worked part time at an after-school daycare program. My employment was terminated after I complained to a parent about her child’s unruly behavior. Since then, I have run a small home-based business, but plan to start looking for work now that my children are in school.

“I have recently heard that the daycare company now claims I never worked there. If I list this job on applications, I’m afraid employers may think I’m lying about my work history. I could show my old pay stubs as proof during an interview, but how do I avoid being screened out during the application process?” Erased

A: I think you can stop worrying, because most employers don’t check background information until an applicant has made the final cut and is considered a viable candidate. You should therefore have ample opportunity to explain this unusual circumstance during the interview process.

First, however, you need to determine if the rumor is actually true. This can be easily accomplished by calling the company and asking to verify your dates of employment. If they insist you never worked there, the reason is probably poor record-keeping, not some nefarious plot.

To explain the situation, just make a brief statement at the end of your interviews. For example: “In case you do a background check, I wanted to let you know that ABC Daycare apparently doesn’t retain old personnel records. Since they can’t verify my employment, I brought pay stubs showing the dates that I worked there.”

If you need additional verification, consider using W-2 forms from your tax return or your record of employment from the Social Security Administration.

In reality, the daycare center’s shoddy documentation may work to your advantage. If no one recalls your employment, then you don’t need to worry about how they might describe your departure.

Considering a job search? Here are some common questions: Frequently Asked Job Search Questions.

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