How Does Education Verification Work?

The right education is a key feature of a qualified candidate. Certain industries, fields, and positions require specific credentials or certifications, and the desire to meet these requirements can result in forged educational history.

According to ResumeLab, more than a third of Americans admit to lying on their resumes. Another 27% admitted to lying about their experience, including education.

There has never been a more important time to verify your candidate’s education and to protect yourself and your business. At EagleScreen, we always suggest including an education verification screening in a pre-employment background check or during a corporate background screening to ensure a quick, smooth hiring process or merger/acquisition.

A breakdown of the education verification process

We offer education verification services as an add-on for almost every type of background check. Before you select this service, you may be wondering how exactly the process of verifying education works, or why including this type of screening is so important.

Candidate information

Before a background check (and an education verification screening) can begin, full, accurate information on the candidate is crucial. While most information on a candidate will likely come forward during the application process, confirming that this information is as accurate as possible is essential. This information includes:

  • Legal first and last names (Confirm the name the candidate would have used on the potential diploma or certificate—there’s always a possibility that the candidate’s name won’t match the diploma, particularly if they’ve been married since graduating)
  • Name of the college, university, or high school
  • Address of the educational institution
  • Dates attended (month/year) and date of graduation

Applicant authorization release

Before beginning a background check, it’s essential that an information release form is authorized and signed by the applicant being screened. Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliance is extremely important to protect your organization as well as the candidate’s personal information.

The applicant must always be aware that their background is being investigated, and their agreement must be received before we can get started.

Contacting the educational institution

The next step in the verification process is for us to reach out to the educational institution the applicant claims to have received their degree or diploma from. We’ll work directly with the institution and provide them all applicant information to verify their claims.

By using a third-party service, we take the tedious work out of your hands so you can focus on hiring.

In the institution’s hands

Once the information is in the institution’s hands, they’ll recover the needed information and confirm whether or not the applicant earned a degree with them. The turnaround time for educational screening varies and is largely dependent on the institution, their processing times, whether they have the records readily available, and whether any issues are found with the information provided. Typically, you can expect to have your results within 2-3 days.

Why is education verification important?

Now that we’ve covered how education verification works, we’ll answer the big question: why are these screenings so important?

When you’re hiring a job applicant or connecting with a new business, you want to ensure not only that you’re working with the most qualified candidate, but also that this candidate is honest. Validating the credentials of your candidate allows you to rest easy knowing that your candidate is credible and that you aren’t at risk for any future repercussions.

How do people fake their education?

Many candidates who fake their education credentials are simply assuming (or hoping) that you won’t bother looking into it. However, some candidates may also use more fraudulent, complex methods.

Diploma mills are more prevalent in the US than ever before. The Higher Education Opportunity Act describes a diploma mill as an institution providing diplomas for a fee or providing degrees with very little training or educational time. These ‘institutions’ provide fake diplomas and degrees for applicants to purchase and are particularly successful now that most jobs require at least a high school diploma or GED. Unlike most reputable institutions, diploma mills can often be recognized by the lack of a .edu on their websites.

Another route dishonest applicants may take is to falsify education at a foreign institution. It’s more difficult to contact foreign institutions and crediting systems in other countries may vary, making it more difficult to prove upfront whether a degree is equivalent to one in the United States. Foreign diploma mills are also presently selling degrees in the USA.

Liars make you liable

Employees with fake degrees can expose you to serious risks and liability concerns. In certain fields (particularly law, medicine, and engineering/architecture), hiring an employee without the right certifications and educational degrees can put your business at risk.

We’ll verify that your applicant has the education and skills needed for the position by making sure their degree is from a legitimate, accredited institution and confirming their dates of attendance, degree, area of study, and graduation date.

Verified education = verified employee

Once you’ve received a green light on your candidates, you’ll feel empowered knowing that no matter which applicant you convert to an employee, you’ve made the right decision. While we can’t guarantee a perfect fit, having verified information on your candidate will put you at ease knowing that you’ve selected someone qualified and that your business is safe. To learn more about education verification and how you can ensure your candidates are clear and qualified, contact us today.

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