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I was with my previous employer for one year and within that one year they have a four month training period. After leaving the company I've applied for another position at a different company. I received an offer letter and I am now in process employment verification and background check phase.

I provided my references and contacted one of my former colleagues and he informed me my previous company doesn't consider those four months of training as part of my employment. I've listed on my resume I was with the company for a full year as I was never informed otherwise when I left my previous employer.

This may come up during employment verification, what should I say/expect?

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    Just for clarification: Did you get paid for the 4 months of training or was this some sort of unpaid internship/training period? When did you sign your employment contract with this company? I find it hard to believe how that time doesn't qualify for regular employment.. – iLuvLogix Oct 20 at 16:45
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    Yes, I was paid for those four months. They hire a lot of new grads and they go through a four month training period to see if you are what they are looking for.... – LegendofLegends Oct 20 at 16:53
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    So you have been employed and therefore it's accountable towards the employment-duration.. Try to clarify that in a gentle manner with HR of your previous employee in case the ex-colleagues info turned out to be valid.. – iLuvLogix Oct 20 at 16:54
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    You have no reason to fear that, just be honest! When they know anything about employment-laws and regulations (you might want to add a country tag) they will be aware that this period is considered as any others as regular 'employment'.. How your previous company calls that period doesn't really matter to anyone.. – iLuvLogix Oct 20 at 16:58
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    In what jurisdiction is this in? – Stephan Branczyk Oct 21 at 1:42
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I was with my previous employer for one year and within that one year they have a four month training period. [...] I was paid for those four months.

Then you were employed (and had presumably signed a contract saying so if you were paid), so this was part of your employment, and your colleague is wrong. "Whenever you're doing training we're still paying you but you're not technically employed" is just lunacy. It could be that this was considered your probationary period, and your colleague is confusing the two.

This may come up during employment verification, what should I say/expect?

If it were me, I'd make sure I had my previous employer's (signed & dated) contract to hand so I could prove in black and white that they were wrong, then follow it up with a comment akin to:

My colleague mentioned something like this when I asked him for a reference, so I pulled out my contract to double check - my start date is definitely (x). I can only think he might be getting confused with my probationary period.

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    +1. Great phrasing in the last block section. – Tashus Oct 22 at 20:49
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This may come up during employment verification, what should I say/expect?

I don't think it will come up.

But if it does, just be completely honest

  • You were employed at the company for a year
  • That year includes a paid 4-month training/probation period
  • Based on your contract, you feel that you were employed by that company for those 4 months
  • You were never informed otherwise while you were employed or when you left
  • Despite paying you, and despite the fact that you worked exclusively for the company during that period, the company is now saying that you weren't employed by them for those 4 months

Your future employer will most likely understand the foolishness of your former employer's opinion.

  • I guess my concern is if it comes back I've worked there 8 months rather than the year I put on my resume. I don't want to seem like a liar after receiving an offer.... – LegendofLegends Oct 22 at 2:38
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I think your former colleague is mistaken.

Regardless of whether you were training or on assignment, you were on that company's payroll. And that's generally the determining factor for whether you worked for another company or not.

As long as you explain it properly, you should be fine.

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Ideally, the date on offer letter from the previous company shall be ground for final decision. However, it is considered a grey area because companies/managers do treat/twist training period as per their benefits in many cases. If your appointment letter is including start of training period then there should not be any problem regardless of what your ex-colleagues have given as feedback.

Try to be honest with the new employer without any fears because if they are running background checks then they can surely understand and opinion this in your favour.

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    "Grey area"? As soon as you signed a contract and got paid even during training/probation-period/internship over that time, it is considered as being part of the total employment-period/duration.. With the rest I can agree - be honest and don't take ex-colleagues info for gold.. I would add that it makes sense to clarify that point with HR of the previous employer.. – iLuvLogix Oct 20 at 16:49
  • So you are saying I should probably reach out to my former employer is what sounds like.... – LegendofLegends Oct 20 at 16:54
  • @iLuvLogix Correctly, even if not paid but training period was included on the offer/appointment letter till resignation/termination, it is part of the experience. Actually such cases are observed in the beginning of career phases especially in technology/IT industry. – JPI Oct 20 at 16:56
  • I'm sorry I didn't clarify but yes, JPI you're correct; this is was an IT position – LegendofLegends Oct 20 at 16:58
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    It's not a gray area. Internally, it may be seen as two separate periods, but externally, for employment checks, it's seen as one period since the person is being paid for it (at least in the US, it is). If the HR person from your previous employer is too unreasonable to understand this, you should escalate the issue to your former manager, their HR higher up, and/or their general counsel (all the while informing your future employer what happened so they can re-do the check themselves and ask some probing questions to make sure you're not lying to them). – Stephan Branczyk Oct 21 at 1:41
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It sounds like your previous employer is a little bit petty. They won't be the last petty one you encounter. You're going to want to keep documentation to back up everything you put on your resume. It might be difficult to imagine why an employer would claim you didn't work for a time period based on a technicality, but just assume there's a reason they would work against you in every situation and you won't be left surprised and unprepared.

As a side note, it would be a great idea to document everything an employer promises you. Everything. Get it in writing no matter how much they try to act like they're your friend, they are not. You're just a human resource to them. Watch your back and the backs of your co-workers. Try to lift each other up. Don't compete. Know how to say "no" to your manager and identify when you're getting pushed toward burnout. Your manager has read stacks of books about how to get the maximum productivity out of you regardless of the cost to your mental health. Don't allow a toxic situation to get you stuck in a rut... or worse.

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