When a resume lands on your desk, and the candidate has a veritable alphabet of professional designations behind their name, it’s very hard not to be dazzled. After all, we’re hardwired to respect the PhD or MBA, the BSC and the BCOMM. It’s almost automatic, but it’s not always the full picture.
In fact, it’s not so much the long list of impressive degrees and diplomas you need to be looking at, but rather the source of those qualifications. Here are a few key points you should be taking into account when evaluating educational credentials.
The Process of Education Verification
Whether it’s a domestic degree or an international one, it’s no longer simply about taking them at face value and moving on to the next item on the employment checklist. With resume fraud at an all-time high, it’s more important than ever to verify educational credentials, and there’s a process involved in doing that:
- First, you need to verify that the educational institution itself is accredited and credible. Sometimes, this can be tricky, because shady operations may take names that are similar to well-known colleges or universities, and if you’re not careful, you could mix them up. This is particularly true when dealing with institutions overseas.
- Next, if the credentials are foreign, you need to check with the Australian government whether they can be used in Australia. Sometimes, candidates with foreign credentials need to undergo exams or bridging courses in order to use their skills.
- Once you’ve checked the institution and the degree or diploma, the next thing you need to do is verify that the candidate you’re considering attended the institution, and graduated with the qualifications they say they have. Usually, these institutions should be able to send you written verification of their attendance and certifications.
- If a candidate has other courses, field work or volunteering as a part of their educational credentials, you may need to contact other organizations outside of colleges or universities, to confirm that experience.
Education verification can be a time consuming process, and you may need to get written permission from the candidate to access their records. It’s always worthwhile to run these kinds of checks though, so make sure that you do take the time, and that you do it right.
Why Education Verification Is Essential
You may think that education verification is not that important, and that as long as you have a certified copy of a degree or diploma the candidate is qualified for the job. However, you’d be surprised how often people have been caught lying about their credentials. In some cases, those lies even have been related to high profile people.
Marilee Jones is one of those, and while she’s not a household name, she was the dean of the world famous MIT for 28 years. This in spite of the fact that she had neither the undergraduate or masters’ degrees she claimed to have.
Jack Grubman, a top Wall Street analyst earning millions every year also lied about attending MIT, and Liv Loberg, a Norwegian politician spent 14 months in jail when it was discovered she lied about both of her degrees, and her nursing career.
People lie all the time. They lie on their resumes, and they exaggerate their skills, education and experience in order to snag top jobs. Make sure that your education verification process is watertight, and avoid becoming one of those stories.