While verifying the validity of licenses is often the most overlooked step in the hiring process, falsifying academic credentials is the most common deception. Many otherwise qualified people think they need a little edge that claiming a degree will give them. They’re willing to take a chance, in other words, that nobody will check to see if the degree claimed was ever actually conferred. Regrettably, in many instances, no one does check!
For the job seeker, claiming a degree that was never earned is a serious error in judgment, because it’s so easy to verify. I’ve discussed the latest tips for employers on how to verify degrees in a previous Blog. My experience has been that most employers are not nearly as concerned about the GPA of a candidate for employment as they are about whether or not the candidate actually earned the degree claimed.
It would be a disservice to employers if I did not point out that a whole industry has emerged for the sole purpose of producing genuine-looking, but phony, diplomas. So, seeing the diploma isn’t nearly enough. Employers need to actually contact the school for confirmation. The school’s website should include the information about accreditation. If accreditation is not found on the school’s website, the employer can contact the Department of Education’s Organizational Directory.
If a candidate for employment claims a degree from a college or university that can’t be confirmed through the Department of Education, that should cause a red flag to go up! If the school isn’t listed, either it doesn’t exist or it isn’t an accredited school.
Finally, let’s look at what confirmation of academic credentials won’t tell the prospective employer. It will not tell how well the candidate performed while in school. All confirmation of a degree will reveal is whether the candidate holds the degree claimed; it will not indicate what sort of student or what sort of person the candidate is.