Education Verifications an Important Part of the Hiring Process

Education Verifications an Important Part of the Hiring Process

A verification of educational credentials and achievements is an important part of the hiring process since it gives the employer  the ability to lean about an applicant’s experience and ability.

Education qualifications are also critical as resumes can often be misleading or imprecise. According to several resources, falsifications generally fall under one of three categories:

• Outright fabrications such as making up degrees from schools the applicant never attended.
• Reporting that a degree was earned from a school the applicant attended, though the applicant never completed the course work for the degree.
• Reporting meaningless degrees of no value from non-accredited schools, often referred to as “diploma mills.”

“Diploma mills are generally defined as substandard or fraudulent colleges that offer potential students degrees with little or no serious work,”  Some are simple frauds, a mailbox to which people send money in exchange for paper that purports to be a college degree. Others require some nominal work from the student or a validation of life experience but do not require college-level course work that is normally required for a degree. The common denominator is that degree mills lack accreditation and therefore are not recognized as a legitimate provider of post-secondary education.

According to the World Education Services, “A diploma or degree mill is an entity that sells postsecondary credentials without requiring appropriate academic achievement. In many jurisdictions inside and outside the United States, diploma mills are illegal. These scam operations can be difficult to trace because they usually use mail drops and multiple addresses. Numerous degree mills operate on the Internet, where they often masquerade as institutions of distance learning. Legitimate distance-learning providers are recognized in the countries where they are located, and their status can be verified by contacting the relevant educational authorities.

Academic credential evaluators should be suspicious of documents issued by “universities” with addresses that are office suites or box numbers that cannot be verified in any authoritative independent publication. Most degree mills also claim accreditation by one or more fictitious “national,” “international,” “worldwide” or “global” accrediting agencies. Verifying the existence and status of an institution is an essential step when reviewing educational documents. There are several types of diploma mills. Some are outright scams that sell degrees or diplomas without requiring any work whatsoever. Others appear more ambiguous in terms of their legitimacy, offering short-term degrees in exchange for some form of academic work, such as a thesis or dissertation. These organizations, according to experts, are the most dangerous kind of diploma mills because they appear to be legitimate.

If an institution is not accredited by an agency recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education, chances are it’s a diploma mill. However, accreditation does not necessarily guarantee legitimacy. There are currently 35 accrediting agencies in the United States that are not recognized by the Department of Education or CHEA and that will put their stamp of approval on just about any program with no questions asked. In many cases, the accrediting agencies in question are merely self-serving organizations set up by the diploma mills themselves.  Protect yourself as an employer to prevent resume fraud and a potentially precarious situation.

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