A CV is an important part of the job hunting process, as it’s how a potential new employer gets the first impression of skills, experiences, and qualifications. In today’s competitive employment market, job seekers are using a variety of CV types and styles to promote themselves, their education, and their past work to catch the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager. However, some may be tempted to exaggerate qualifications on a CV.
According to the Monster Future of Work: 2021 Outlook survey, 66% of hiring employers agreed that candidates exaggerate or even falsify skills and competencies listed on their CV. Applicants are searching for ways to compete with one another, and a common way is by padding, embellishing, or even fabricating their CV. How can employers know if the education, licences, and certifications listed on a CV are legitimate?
What are Certification and Education Verifications?
Education verifications are another aspect of the pre-employment background check. In our previous blog post , Employer Beware – Risks When Recruiting we shared the information on how businesses can protect themselves from fraudulent candidates, and how a background check help organisations get a better picture of their candidates and provide the insight needed to make an informed hiring decision.
As a part of pre-employment background checks, education verifications confirm the type of degree, honours received, and date of completion directly with the school registrar. Professional background screening companies maintain a database of legitimate educational institutions as well as known diploma mills in order to quickly identify them during a candidate’s education verification process. This moves the hiring process along more quickly and also provides certainty that the company conducting the verification is obeying all background screening regulations.
Via background screening providers, employers are able to verify professional licences and certifications to make sure that a candidate has the accreditation they claim to have. There are thousands of licences that can be verified, including, but not limited to, licensing and certification for medical doctors (MD or DO), registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), certified public accountant (CPA) and lawyers (JD), as well as for stockbrokers, teachers, engineers, pilots, and other exam-certified professionals.
What is a Diploma Mill?
One way some applicants try to pad their CV is by using illegitimate universities, or “diploma mills,” on their CVs. Diploma mills are organisations that claim to be an institution of higher education and grant invalid academic degrees and diplomas for a fee. 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. Most diploma mills have very convincing websites and will provide their “students” with official-looking degrees and transcripts.
While diploma mills can be found all over the world, the US has a very high number of occurrences, with the UK coming in a close second. Different country are accredited by different organisations and governing bodies. E.g in Singapore, the Ministry of Education (MOE).
If a college or tertiary education institute does not have the government accreditation, they could be considered a diploma mill. These types of colleges have excessive costs and usually do not offer any financial assistance to their students. A background screening provider like Sterling provides a robust database of accredited colleges and universities to simplify verification.
What Do Candidates Supply for an Education Verification?
The information required for an education verification will vary depending on a company’s needs. Some companies may require more detailed information about educational background and qualifications for their pre-employment background check, depending on the role they are hiring for. In addition to the information required for a criminal record check, such as full name, identification number, date of birth, any known aliases, current and previous addresses, and driver’s license number, candidates may also be asked to provide the following information for an education verification:
- Name and address of last school attended
- Name and address of high school or GED
- Name and address of tertiary institutions/colleges/universities attended, dates, and degree name
- List of certifications and licenses specific to a particular position
It is important for candidates to be aware of the process and the information required for the background check. Candidates should read the consent form carefully before signing it. Providing the correct information at the time of consent will help to speed up the background check process.
What are Background Screening Regulations?
As a reminder, third-party background screening companies are regulated by federal, state, and local laws. One requirement is that an employer must inform the candidate that they will be conducting a background check. The notice should explain that the results of the background check will be used for hiring, promotion, or retention purposes.
After explaining the purpose of the background check, employers must obtain consent (either on paper or online) from a job candidate to conduct the background check and inform the candidate that the results will be used in making hiring decisions. While there are many regulations that third-party background screening companies must follow, the candidate or person being screened also has rights.
Background screening goes beyond just conducting an education verification or employment check. Understanding the information required for the background check will help to speed up the process and give candidates an advantage over others. If you have any further questions about the process, please speak to us today or request a brochure.
Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.