So you have tendered your resignation. Now what’s your next move?
Obvious answer would be seeking new job opportunities, if you have yet to secure one. But wait.. there’s a little side note that makes you a bit wary when applying for a new role: you left your job on bad terms.
Changes are that your boss getting mad at you for poor work performance, or you, doing extremely good job, “fired” your boss and that’s why he or she gets mad at you. In fact, leaving a job due to bad relationship with the employer is barely a new thing. According to a research by TotalJobs published in August 2019, half of UK workers claimed that they quit their jobs due to the work relationship with their boss going sour.
After applying for a new job, having gone through the lengthy interview process, usually you still need to pass the background check or reference check before securing the offer. To make sure that your claimed work history is genuine, the new HR or designated screening vendor will collect information from your previous employer. Problem might arise when you were leaving the previous job on bad terms.
We believe that most employers act professionally and ethically to divulge unbiased information in response to verification request. Unfortunately, there is always exception. There have been complaints about previous employers refusing to confirm or not responding to request, in various online forums such as Quora and Indeed. Such refusal or unresponsiveness will put the applicant in a helpless situation, especially when there is no alternative means to prove his or her former employment.
Even if you managed to provide an Employment Verification Letter (or Certificate of Employment) signed by the previous employer as a proof of employment, there is no guarantee that you can pass the check. To avoid document fraud, it is a best practice for the checker to verify the validity of the document with the issuer, i.e. the previous employer. The same applies to pay stubs, as fabrication is handy using pay stub generators like pstub.com and paystubcreator.net. The kind cooperation from your previous boss or HR is still necessary.
Another main cause of employment verification failure is company shutdown. In recent years the startup landscape has been flourishing. There are more than hundreds of startups giving birth every day. Many of us choose to work in startups, which could be rewarding but challenging. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Business Employment Dynamics, about 20 percent of small businesses fail in their first year, and about 50 percent of them fail in their fifth year.
Working in a big firm does not mean that your employment stint becomes more verifiable. Imagine that you held senior positions in once-prestigious Arthur Andersen and Lehman Brothers, two of the biggest corporate failures in history. The HR teams of which were already disbanded. Although there is still a chance that your employee records were passed to certain successor companies, verification of those is rather difficult.
In Asia alone, we have seen a number of initiatives trying resolve to the above problem of unverifiable resume. Some companies offer the service of pre-verifying/ certifying an applicant’s professional credentials, while others suggest the use of blockchain or distributed ledger technology to store one’s identity, qualification and experience, revolutionizing the whole verification process.
Recently we noted the new initiative of EmployProof.org launched by Hong Kong-based Personnel Screening Helpdesk Limited, which advocate the use of timestamp as a proof of employment. It is better understood as a special clock-in and clock-out system designed for the purpose of employment verification. Every employee can use his or her work email to leave a mark (also called timestamp) in the system. A timestamp looks like this:
According to the Q&A section of EmployProof.org, email authentication is in place to ensure that the timestamp is created by an employee having an active email account with the employer. The creation time is automatically generated on each timestamp. Employees can fill in other details including name, company name, employment starting date, position and work location. After creation, only those who know the exact email address can check the timestamp in the registry.
In our opinion, timestamping is a creative and workable concept, which can provide a remedy to the problem of unverifiable resume. Without the fear of future revenge, you can probably express your true feeling towards your boss when quitting the job (yelling at him sounds good, joke). It also encourages the workforce take the challenge of working in high-flying but might be short-lived startup companies.