What Is Education Verification and Why Is It Important? 24 May 2018
We’ve all heard of “padding your resume” with “embellishments” or “white lies.” Some people think they need to do this to create an eye-catching resume, but it’s actually resume fraud. And it happens all the time. A recent survey from CareerBuilder shows that 3 out of 4 HR managers have found a lie on a resume.
One area that commonly gets an extra dose of padding on resumes is the education section. That’s why it’s so important to screen your applicants and verify their education as part of a preemployment screening. You can’t afford to skip this step. Background checks aren’t just about checking someone’s criminal record. Applicants who lie about their education can cause serious repercussions for your business. How so?
Applicants Lying About Their Education – What’s the Big Deal?
Back in 2007, the Dean of Admissions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology had to resign after it was discovered that she lied about her educational credentials on her resume. She claimed to have degrees from three different academic institutions. In reality, she didn’t have any degrees from any institution. This realization was embarrassing for the institution, and it disappointed and broke the trust of the M.I.T. community.
This isn’t the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last. There are countless cases of employees in prominent positions that have lied about their educational credentials on their resumes. Not only do they embarrass the company and tarnish its reputation, they can also cost them a lot of money. The company will have to spend even more resources finding and hiring a replacement.
Another danger of hiring someone who lies about their educational background is that they may be more likely to lie about issues at work. This could mushroom into larger issues, even ending in a lawsuit. Therefore, screening an applicant’s education could prevent huge losses for your company.
Why All the Lying, Anyway?
Entry-level positions often require that applicants have a degree to be considered for the position. A competitive job market can move some people to lie about their credentials to gain an advantage over other applicants. Others may lie about their credentials in hopes of getting a higher salary.
Unfortunately, there are many resources online that help applicants misrepresent their educational background. They could use diploma mills to get a legitimate-looking degree with little to no coursework from a phony organization. There are also online services that help applicants construct their resumes with false information that will get past employment screenings and evade HR systems.
In other cases, the fact that someone lied about their educational achievements doesn’t become clear until later in their career. Again, consider the example of the Dean of Admissions at M.I.T. It’s possible that when she first applied for her job, it didn’t require a college degree. But, as she received more promotions and climbed the company ladder, her supposed education was never verified. M.I.T. only found out that she lied about her education when she was promoted to Dean of Admissions.
If you want to avoid a costly situation like this, it’s crucial that you take the step of verifying education – even for entry-level positions.
So, How Can I Verify Their Education?
How exactly does education verification protect you from education fraud? Let’s look at the basic steps in this process.
Your job listings should require applicants to provide detailed information about their education. Some fields you can include are institution name, dates attended, highest degree obtained, and areas of study. Having this information before running a background check will help you catch discrepancies between their resume and actual education history.
After completing your interviews and choosing your top candidate(s) for the job, find a service that will perform a comprehensive background check that verifies the educational credentials provided by the applicants.
The background screening company should conduct a thorough check to verify that the applicant attended the educational institution that they claimed and that the institution is legitimate. They should also verify the dates the applicant attended the institution, when they completed the coursework and if they truly received the degree(s).
You should then receive a clear, detailed report back from the screening company.
Finally, use the background report to compare what the applicant claims with what they have actually achieved. If you find any discrepancies, the report will help you determine if this is a deal breaker or a minor issue.
By completing these basic education verification steps, you can verify candidate experience and ensure that applicants have the skill set they need to do the job.
Don’t Get Caught by Resume Fraud
It’s clear that you can never be too careful. You don’t want your company to get caught by resume fraud. Hiring an applicant who commits resume fraud can be embarrassing for you and your company, it could make your company lose business and it could be a potential hazard for your employees. If an applicant is willing to lie on their resume, they may be more likely to lie about your company’s work environment, staff or standards.
Take measures to avoid a situation like this by investing in a comprehensive background check for your applicants. This check empowers you to make decisions earlier and avoid spending thousands of dollars restarting the hiring process.
Are you looking for a reliable screening company to conduct your background checks? At Trusted Employees, we’ve got your back. During our education verification process, we use both innovative technology and direct, person to person communication to verify all of the educational details of the applicant. If you’re ready for a background check you can rely on, contact us today.
Robyn Kunz is the Chief Compliance Officer at Trusted Employees. She has worked in the background screening industry for over 15 years and holds Advanced Certification in the Fair Credit Reporting Act from the National Association of Professional Background.
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