Background Checks

According to a popular job search board, fully 60% of available jobs now require a job candidate to have earned an undergraduate degree.  The problem created for both job seekers and employers is, on one hand, running the risk of falsifying a degree in hopes of staying in the running for the job and, on the other hand, the obligation placed on prospective employers to check to make sure the candidate is telling the truth.

Recently, we’ve seen a noticeable upsurge in the number of candidates for employment claiming to have earned a degree when they really haven’t.  In my experience it’s not so much that the candidate didn’t complete the work for the degree, but lying about it, that ruins the candidate’s chances of getting the job.

Among those folks seeking employment, particularly when the number of good jobs is limited, some feel it’s worth taking the risk and claiming to have a degree, hoping the prospective employer won’t bother to check – and many don’t!  What we’ve found over the years is having three to five years of relevant experience, or more, will often offset not having completed all the work for the degree.  So, like most things, it comes down to the old adage about honesty being the best policy.

The only catch is that, when employers screen applications and resumes for the basic job qualifications, a good applicant could be eliminated from further consideration unless a degree is claimed.  .

The only solution available to the job seeker who claims a degree that was never earned is to “come clean” about the deception as soon as possible in the interview process – and to stress the years of relevant job experience that fit the requirements of the position to be filled.  Ultimately, the best thing to do – but not always the easiest – is to finish the course work needed to earn the degree, especially as the number of jobs requiring a college degree continues to increase.