A letter is an effective way for prospective employers, lenders and landlords to ask for employment verification. It is especially important in states that do not have reference immunity laws since it both specifies the details required and provides a platform for the recipient to respond with information that is truthful and provided in good faith. Because different requesters aren’t all looking for the exact same information, a letter provides a way to customize the request. For example, a landlord might only need to verify a prospective tenant’s employment and current wages, a lender might be interested in future wage increases, and a prospective employer might require more in-depth information about an applicant’s employment dates, position and wage history.
Getting Consent and Important Information
You first need to get written consent from the applicant, as most companies will not release information about a current or former employee without permission in writing. One way to do this is to have the applicant sign an authorization form. Another way is to integrate a consent section into the letter.
You should ask the applicant to provide the correct name and mailing address for the recipient. This information can vary greatly, depending on the employer. For example, the contact might be the human resources department in a large company or the business owner in a smaller company.
Some employers use a standard form for employment verification requests. However, others leave the format and verbiage of the request up to you. If you’re writing the letter without official guidance, use a standard business letter format and keep the request short and to-the-point.
Opening the Letter
Use the opening paragraph of the letter to state the purpose for the letter and address consent. For example, open with a statement such as “I am submitting a request for employment verification.” Follow this by referencing the completed consent attachment.
As an alternative, insert two lines just before the greeting in which the applicant provides written consent. A simple statement such as “I authorize the release of my employment information to (the company or individual), followed by the applicant’s signature on a separate line is sufficient.
Specifying Verification Requirements
Next, specify the required information in the second paragraph using a list or bullet point format. Although specific requirements in this section will vary according to your needs and whether you’re contacting a current or former employer, this commonly includes:
- The applicant’s full name
- Job position
- Employment dates
- Pay rate or annual salary
- For a current employee, ask the employer to indicate whether the position is temporary or permanent
- Also for a current employee, ask the employer to indicate whether the applicant’s pay is expected to remain the same or change within the next 12 months
Ending the Letter
After specifying the verification requirements, add a closing to the letter. Provide your name and contact information in the third paragraph. Finally, close the letter by printing and signing your name, and entering the date of the request.
- Society for Human Resource Management: Conducting Background Investigations and Reference Checks
- LandLordStation.org: Employment Verification Form
- Rocket Lawyer: Employment Verification Letter Basics
- Nolo: State Laws on References and Statements by Former Employers
- Emory University: Request for Verification of Employment