7

I'm graduating in April, this year. I signed a job offer with a large company, X, to start in May of this year. I was told that the background check would take place roughly one month from now–in March.

My most recent experience was a short-term contract position last Summer with small company Y (less than 10 people). I left the company very badly. My experience at Y was included on my resume when I applied to X. I believe that I will be badmouthed if X contacts Y during the background check.

Is it safe to assume that Y will be contacted to verify my employment? Is there anything that I can or should do?

Moreover, is it safe to assume that my offer will be retracted if badmouthed? I'm starting to look into other companies with a resume that doesn't include my most recent experience.

Here are some details regarding the nature of my departure. I realized that I would not be able to complete the project on time. I raised this concern multiple times, but nothing changed. I was very uncomfortable at work due to various factors in the office. I became extremely stressed and depressed to the point that I was sleeping 16 hours a day. I ghosted the company–I stopped showing up and didn't respond to emails or phone calls.

Location: Canada

  • 3
    Are you concerned that your previous company will give you a false bad reference? Or are you concerned that they will give you an accurate bad reference? – Jonathon Cowley-Thom Feb 7 at 17:28
  • @JonathonCowley-Thom A bad reference would be accurate. I certainly burnt that bridge on my way out. – century40000 Feb 7 at 17:29
  • @JoeStrazzere I've added some details regarding my departure. – century40000 Feb 7 at 17:56
  • 1
    Updated my answer given these new details you mentioned. In the future, I suggest you don't ghost a company and instead properly quit. – DarkCygnus Feb 7 at 18:05
  • @JoeStrazzere I have never seen a medical professional regarding my health. Since leaving company Y, my mental health is fine. – century40000 Feb 7 at 18:06
10

I ghosted the company–I stopped showing up and didn't respond to emails or phone calls.

Yikes. That's pretty bad.

Is it safe to assume that Y will be contacted to verify my employment?

Yes, you should assume that.

Is there anything that I can or should do?

Most likely there is nothing you can do about this background check now. I guess you could contact your former company and apologize. But it probably won't matter.

Many companies will state your job and your start and end date. Some companies will indicate if they would or wouldn't rehire you. A few companies will answer other questions posed by the person doing the background check.

For the future, be prepared with an answer to a question like "Why did you stop showing up and why didn't you respond to emails or phone calls?"

Moreover, is it safe to assume that my offer will be retracted if badmouthed?

No. I wouldn't assume that at all.

Many companies would discuss a bad reference and ask for you input. That would give you a chance to explain what happened, from your point of view.

Some companies don't put a lot of weight on what a prior employer says, if they think you are a strong candidate.

I'm starting to look into other companies with a resume that doesn't include my most recent experience.

That's probably a mistake.

Any decent background check would turn up your former employer. Leaving it off of your resume and having it discovered is a huge red flag.

  • 1
    Joe has a point. Even though one can leave certain things off your resume, a background check could still find it. As this is undeniable, seems that regardless of including it or not, one should always be ready to justify why one left such past job in case it ever comes out (denying it would also be a bad idea). – DarkCygnus Feb 7 at 18:10
  • @DarkCygnus - Most background checks are used to verify provided information is accurate. Background checks can also be used to investigate the character of an applicant. Most companies unless they are working with a government agency are looking to verify information provided to them is accurate. Even a background limited to information gathering will determine if a job was left off a resume depending on the investigation. – Donald Feb 8 at 3:53
5

Is it safe to assume that Y will be contacted to verify my employment? Is there anything that I can or should do?

Yes, it is very likely they will contact your most recent employer to check if you worked there.

I don't think there is something you should/can do to change the background check process. Except to (perhaps) be ready to justify or answer why you left your past company.

Nevertheless, you were employed by your last company, regardless of it ending badly or not (that is, it is true that you worked there, so no lies on your resume).

Moreover, is it safe to assume that my offer will be retracted if badmouthed?

I would not assume that.


Edit: Seems you clarified on the nature of this negative experience. First you stated it was short-term (2 months), that they didn't address your concerns about deadlines, and that you decided to ghost them (!) and don't respond to them.

Under the light of these new details I am sure that when company X finds out about this they will wonder why you ghosted your past company, and will most likely ask you for a reason.

Be ready to explain yourself and present a reason.

I'm starting to look into other companies with a resume that doesn't include my most recent experience

This is something that came to my mind when reading your post. Why include such negative experience in your resume in the first place?

In a resume you have the freedom to include or not to include certain experiences. For example, you don't want to list a job on industry X when applying to industry Z, as it is not relevant to the field.

Same situation with jobs that had a short duration (2 months is really short); usually if it's shorter than 6 months you can consider not including it if it's just going to take valuable space on your resume (or if it was a really bad experience).


On a hindsight, you had a negative past experience. One that, although your response to the situation was not professional, you could have left it out of your resume, as it will do more harm than good in listing it.

  • I included the experience because at the time, I hadn't even considered the repercussions of a background check. This experience definitely will not show up on my resume going forward. – century40000 Feb 7 at 18:04
  • Yes, you should definitely not include it in future applications. However, most important, you should refrain from just ghosting a company in the future! If you are not happy and want to quit then quit properly, so you don't have issues when looking for a new job (as you are experiencing now). – DarkCygnus Feb 7 at 18:06
  • 2
    I regret this immensely. I learned a valuable lesson. Going forward, I will always try to leave companies on good terms. – century40000 Feb 7 at 18:07
  • I am happy to see that you have learned from this experience :) good luck, and welcome to The Workplace BTW! – DarkCygnus Feb 7 at 18:08
-4

If you left the previous company in that way you can call them up and tell them you are better now and had checked into a mental hospital during that time to get help with PTSD. Due to privacy laws nobody can cross check your story. Tell them you are now well enough to start looking for work and you need their help

  • 1
    Lying is never a good idea. And asking for help to a company that you ghosted is absolutely not an option. – Roberto Feb 10 at 10:23
  • Lying can be a good idea and it is always an option to ask for help from a company that you ghosted – Mikesplace Feb 10 at 21:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.