13

I got a job offer and currently undergoing a background screen, which includes verifying past employment. So far I am good to go, but they have yet to verify a random unrelated internship I did 6 years ago.

Now the company still exists, and the simplest solution would be to call them and ask. But they only call during US working hours, and then email me informing me that no one answered(they called at 3am Beijing time and were perplexed as to why HR didn't pick up).

Another problem is since the internship is unrelated to what I do now, and the fact it was in Beijing, I have lost contact with everyone and can't seem to find anyone on LinkedIn.

So now I have to somehow get documentation from them, so how should I go about asking for documentation for an internship 6 years ago? What should I say? How do I title the email?

I'm confused.

UPDATE: This is the email I sent to their info@ email

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is ________, I interned at the Beijing office back in 2010. Currently I have a job offer contingent on verification of the past 10 years of employment . Because I live in the US, the background screening agency has not been able to get in contact with your HR department in Beijing.  

I was hoping if I could please get some form of documentation verifying that I interned at the Beijing office in 2010 in order to complete the background screening process, I would highly appreciate it. 

Information for HR to look up records: 

Name:  

________. 

Emails used at that time:  

--my university email-- and --company email--

Thank you. 

I haven't gotten a response yet.

UPDATE: Now it seems the background screen vendor has "completed" my background check and apparently they just cut it short before I could get the documented proof, which is kind of annoying because it's a multinational corporation and all they had to do is call during work hours, or call the US headquarters.

On top of that they apparently listed "unable to verify employment start and end date" of another position I held in Beijing.I gave them references to two American colleagues from that time.One of them told me on LinkedIn that they did call and confirmed I worked there, but told them that he needed to go back to the office to look it up the exact dates. The reference they called told me that he told them to call back at 5:30 when he's in the office, or the next day.

Anyways apparently they never called him back at 5:30(or the next day) when he was back in the office and able to pull up information. The background check vendor then emailed me and said the employment cleared. They never mentioned that they had the dates marked down as unverified, nor did they attempt to ever call back anyone to verify.

Now HR has emailed me telling me that I failed the background screen. The issue is I currently do software development, and these two jobs were completely unrelated and years back as well as located in another country(which I have since then lost contact with). Anyways, I have been running around cold calling people and companies trying to get documentation together as fast as possible.

Looking back it's stupid of me to have lost documentation for a random internship 6 years ago. I made the idiotic mistake of assume they would have some kind of international checking service to call and ask.

  • 2
    I live in Taiwan, the same time zone as Beijing. I have the same problem (although I am retired). Every time I asked people in US to call, they seem to not understand the time zone issue. Depending on where in US., you may have different ways to do that. West coast is the easiest. They have 15 hrs difference. East coast is hardest. You may want them to call at Bejing time 7 PM to see if they are lucky. – scaaahu Oct 12 '16 at 4:47
  • 3
    Then you ask the company in Beijing to send the letter. If the potential employer does not believe the letter, they may not be the company you want to work for. (I am serious here. Anyone who does not want to understand time zone will not treat your experience in Beijing seriously) – scaaahu Oct 12 '16 at 4:54
  • 13
    Unless this job offer is for a PHENOMENAL amount of money, I'd keep looking. Life is too short to work for stupid people. And I spent too many years learning that. – Wesley Long Oct 12 '16 at 16:08
  • 2
    Two points: Unless you're the HC's employee #1, and they've never done it before, I find it hard to believe that HR is going to dump you if two internships (not CEO positions!) are unverifiable. Do they not have a probationary period to find out about you? Second, if HR is willing to cede their responsibility this completely to the background check vendor, is this an outfit you really want to work for? I'm with @WesleyLong on this one. Life is WAY too short. – Nolo Problemo Oct 14 '16 at 22:37
  • 3
    After reading your updates, I am all the more convinced it is in the best interests of your health to stay away from such stupidity. – Masked Man Oct 15 '16 at 16:29
22

In your case I would do my best to explain to them that 3 AM is not a great time to be calling, and at the same time I would talk to HR about the issue since it's the only thing holding you back. Hopefully you have at least some of this in writing which you can refer to.

With a modicum of luck HR will give them a push or if it was me, get rid of them altogether and go with a more competent company for background checks. Possibly they might even decide that this particular portion does not need to be verified and let it ride. But some can be pretty pedantic.

It's really the background check company that is responsible for making contact in a timely and professional manner, they're well paid for it. Don't let their incompetence hold you back or reflect badly on you. You already have the job offer, so HR might be willing to step in on your behalf. They want you onboard.

12

Due to timezone difference a Background Check company refuses to call them. How do I ask for “Proof”?

Not your problem. You provided the details of your employment and of the company. If a background check is being done, the company doing it is responsible for, you know, doing the background check. That means they contact your past employers to verify your employment. If they're too incompetent to call internationally and across time zones, that's entirely on them. This isn't a unique situation that you're in and any background check company worth their salt will have ways of handling this.

When it comes to background checks your involvement should, by design, be minimal. Any "proof" you provide is unreliable. You could give them any number of fake credentials, phone numbers or email addresses that you or a friend controls. Part of the background check is that there's some due diligence involved. Typically that means that the existence of the companies and managers you've specified is checked and they're contacted using publicly available info.

There are a number of things you can do if you wanted to get documentation of your internship yourself but that's not what you should be doing right now. You don't specify why this was suddenly dumped on you but if the background check company contacted you to ask for details "proving" your employment you can just give them their main phone number and email address (info@company.com). Anything further is too much at this instance. Of course you don't want to flat out refuse to cooperate because that's a Bad Thing To Do in a background check but you shouldn't be doing their job for them. You should have documents from your side of things that prove you worked there (hiring paperwork, travel or visa documents, ...) and my guess is they'll ask you for that next, but you need to tell them to do their job first. Make sure you copy the hiring manager for the position the background check is for on this communication to avoid complications.


Since some people aren't clear on what I mean here I'll expand on why I'm giving this advice. Note that the above was written before OP's update where he was told he "failed" the check.

The way to respond to unreasonable requests like this is to push back professionally and to the extent that you can do so without it affecting you. That was possible for the OP here by reiterating the point that the internship company is located abroad and should be contacted by phone during business hours or by mail. That's all the OP should have to do in this situation and with reasonable background check companies.

Now because, the BCC has already shown itself to be very unreasonable, OP would have to start covering his bases, at the very least getting his own documentation (that you have no excuse for not having, short of a house fire) in order in case the BCC decides to arbitrarily fail the OP over this. At that point it's time for the next step which is sorting things out with the hiring company.

At no point will doing any of this jeapordise OP's application unless the HC is also unreasonable or just not interested enough in the OP as a candidate.

What you don't do is let let incompetent people like this walk all over you just because you're terrified of even hearing that you "failed" a background check.

  • 18
    Not your problem. I disagree. While the fault lies in the company that is being sloppy, if finally that company issues a report stating something like "It was impossible to contact the company referenced at the phone number provided" will affect the OP, not such a company. – SJuan76 Oct 12 '16 at 8:43
  • 4
    "Not you fault" is not the same as "Not your problem". This has basically already cost OP a job; I would call that a problem for him. This answer is unhelpful at best. – user30031 Oct 13 '16 at 1:11
  • 1
    "the background check company would be the one losing a job" again wishful thinking. The company is probably not hurting for applicants in the same way OP needs the job. – user30031 Oct 13 '16 at 1:12
  • 1
    It appears, from an edit performed after this answer, that the OP did fail the background check. It VERY MUCH is his problem now. – teego1967 Oct 13 '16 at 2:35
  • 2
    @teego1967 could you tone down? The answer was made before the edit, so look at it from that perspective. Also he did mention an unrelated internship so that to isnt his Problem that they check something that isnt relevant to his Profession. So I would still say this is a valid answer. Their process is broken in my opinion. – Raoul Mensink Oct 13 '16 at 13:13