Is your hiring manager verifying college degrees and performing educational background checks of your job candidates? The truth is many of your applicants are gambling you won’t. Research shows more than half of people falsify their resumes in order to try to earn a job.
According to a new report, 85 percent of the 4,000 survey respondents said they uncovered a lie or misrepresentation on a candidate’s resume or job application during the screening process. A number that increased, from 66 percent only five years ago. Even for individuals who have earned degrees the right way, advancing within a company may require having a certain degree or level of education. Which makes educational credentials matter now, more than ever.
So how can you protect your business from educational fraud? It is important to know the purpose and the process of how education background checks work. Here’s the guide on how employers should verify college degrees for their candidates.
Be Aware of Diploma Mills
One way that some applicants try to pad their resume is by using “fake” universities or diploma mills on their resumes. Diploma mills are phony colleges that crank out fake degrees and transcripts at a dizzying pace. These degrees may claim to give credit for relevant life experience, evaluate work history and require submission of a thesis or dissertation for evaluation to give an appearance of authenticity.
The truth is that they are not accredited institutions. Most diploma mills have very convincing websites and will provide their “students” with official-looking degrees and transcripts. Diploma mills constantly change locations and expand degree offerings, and employers should be aware that an educational achievement might seem legitimate but may have come solely from buying it and not earning it.
Can Employers Check for College Degrees?
The answer is yes! An academic verification can be performed to see the school, professional program, and degrees an applicant has truthfully earned. Some institutions may need to receive consent from the candidate before any information is released, but it’s certainly legal.
Through an education background check, employers can validate the following:
- An applicant’s degree, diploma, or credentials
- Their graduation or completion date
- Their major
- And the accrediting body of the institution
How Do You Verify an Applicant’s College Degree?
Whether your company independently performs the degree verification or you decide to utilize a third-party partner to run the education background check, there is some necessary information you’ll need to collect from the applicant in order to properly verify an applicant’s educational credentials:
- The name of your candidate when they attended and graduated from the institution
- The institution’s name and full address
- The dates they attended (Typically the month and year is enough information for the institution to use. For example 08/2004 – 12/2008)
- The name of their degree they acquired
- A copy of the physical diploma, certificate, or degree
- A copy of their transcripts
- A copy of the signed authorization release
This information would be shared with your background screening provider to use and obtain the education history of your candidate. Universities and other higher institutions provide verification through third-party services. If the institution is registered with a third party service, the degree can be verified quickly and on the same day. This third party assistance is certainly not free as they operate their own business like yours, they charge a fixed rate for access verification. Many providers have partnerships with these organizations to reduce the cost.
If the candidate is female, be sure the information you submit reflects the actual name with which your candidate graduated with, as frequently, female candidates apply for the position under their married names and fail to provide their maiden names.
How Long Does Degree Verification Take?
Waiting around to verify a candidate’s education history doesn’t take as long as you would think. When an employer works with a trusted background screening provider, the process can take as little as 48 hours before results are returned to the hiring manager.
In some rare cases, certain institutions have a formal request process that can take longer and delay any hiring or promotional decisions. Some institutions may prefer verification requests via mail, which can also add to the length of the process. Depending on the circumstance, some education checks may take a few weeks or even months to return. Accredited schools will understand the urgency of these requests and sometimes can work with employers or providers to expedite a request.
Having a background screening provider verify your applicant’s education removes the stress of finding a match between the candidate’s alleged schooling and your educational requirements.
At Barada Associates, we have 40 years of experience confirming not only enrollment and graduation dates but also degrees and/or certifications earned at a specified school. Request a call with one of our trained experts today.