Way back in the year 2007, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Dean of Admissions had to resign because she had lied in her resume about her educational credentials. This is not a one-off case. Education fraud or “padding the resume” as it is called in common parlance is quite common. With the world undergoing an economic slowdown induced by the Coronavirus pandemic, the likelihood of such frauds is quite high.
Job opportunities are scarce and unemployment is on the rise. Candidates have become desperate. They are ready to go to any lengths to get a job. Creating an eye-catchy resume is the need of the hour. However, sprucing up a resume with false credentials is a fraud.
When a prospective candidate cheats the concerned company, the latter too suffers embarrassment and financial losses. The whole candidate procurement process undergone to select the candidate comes to waste.
Additionally, such candidates with “white lies” on their resumes make a mess of the work allotted to them within and outside the company. This can backfire and even result in:
- Loss of credibility for the company
- Having a potential lawsuit filed against them
Employing background screening companies prevent companies from making the mistake of selecting and hiring candidates with “padded resumes.”
Reasons for Resorting to Educational Frauds
There are two vital reasons for such educational frauds:
- Competitive job market: Most job opportunities come with certain specified qualificational requirements. Companies are quite stringent about the same during their hirings. The need to beat the competition and gain the job is one reason why candidates resort to such “white lies” on their resumes.
- Higher salaries: Many candidates working for lower salaries resort to educational frauds to get jobs that pay more. Some candidates, as they climb the corporate ladder, also seek to impress their seniors with false higher academic qualifications and degrees from fake institutes/colleges & universities in the hope of rising up the hierarchical ladder in the organization in a cheated manner without anyone even doubting such degrees.
Unfortunately, education fraud is the easiest to plan. There are several online resources available to the candidates that help them misrepresent their educational credentials. Presence of diploma mills that aid the candidates in obtaining a legitimate-looking degree from phoney organisations aggravate the situation further.
The false certificates issued have a professional make. There have been instances where such educational frauds went undetected for several years. However, these situations are avoidable. Companies should opt for background screening companies and employ them to verify academic credentials along with everything else. Today circumstances around the world demand that companies opt for the same even for entry-level positions.
Need for Educational Qualification Verification
Considering the aforementioned points, educational verification becomes mandatory for anyone entering the working industry as it:
- Identifies knowledge and job requirement gaps: Hired candidates need to possess the qualifications that sync in with ones required for the applied position. A check on the educational credentials that include the subjects read, the degrees obtained etc., help companies judge whether the said candidate is qualified educationally for the job at hand. Correspondingly, an educational check confirms that the candidate has studied the relevant subjects and gained appropriate knowledge pertaining to the position thus applied.
- Safeguards against false diplomas and degrees: As mentioned earlier, instances of submission of fake degrees and diplomas are quite common since years but with the ongoing pandemic and the scarcity of jobs due to the high loss of industries thus cutting cost and firing their employees, this practice has gone up for the common mass to attain the jobs available to run their livelihood. The candidate stands tall, can position himself above the rest and thus increase his chances of getting the job which may have increased applicants. A company benefits only when the credentials provided are correct. If they are false and the company makes a selection based on that, then it stands to lose time and money with the entire procurement process going waste. Background screening companies help companies save themselves from the hassle of making the wrong choice in the candidate selection by verifying their educational qualifications very accurately.
Several institutions claim to hold professional courses and provide certifications. Yet they have no affiliation with any government or other academic regulatory body. Such certificates are generally fake and supplied without any courseware. Onboarding such candidates has an adverse impact on the company and thus needs to be avoided. Background educational checks also help to judge the authenticity of the certificate-issuing authority.
- Confirms the authenticity of foreign degrees: Seeking foreign education is quite common among students. However, the curriculum followed by these foreign educational institutions may not be in accordance with the job requirements. Such degrees hold little or no value to the company concerned. Additionally, the authenticity of the foreign body issuing the certifications might also be suspected. If the charm of international degrees entices the recruiters, they would make a wrong choice again. An educational check can help prevent this as well.
Process of Conducting an Educational Check
Most background screening companies use similar processes to verify the educational credentials of candidates applying for a post. Generally, the institution’s in-house office helps to verify the genuineness of the documents. Additionally, certain third-party edu-check verification services can also help with this. Their proprietary databases also help in the verification of a candidate’s educational claims.
All education checks are defined by certain parameters. They are:
- Name and registration number: Matching the name and registration number provided by the candidates along with those available at the university or institution helps confirm if the candidate was a genuine student of the same.
- Course details: This is a critical requirement as it helps check if there is any gap between the educational qualifications required by the job applied for and the education obtained by the candidate. All subjects that the candidate claims to have studied need individual verification to check its pertinence to the job role and responsibilities.
- Graduating year verification: Most job posts advertised come with an age ceiling. Sometimes candidates falsify their age to obtain the same. To prevent such instances from occurring, the relevant certificate issuing authority needs to verify the graduating year of the candidate.
- Graduation status: Candidates with poor graduation marks or those that have dropped a year in-between are generally not preferred for jobs requiring skills and expertise. Some candidates tend to lie about both and hence background screening companies need to verify it from relevant educational institutions.
- Institution status: Checking for the genuineness of the certificate-issuing authority from the concerned regulatory bodies too forms an important parameter. There is a proliferation of fake institutes and diploma mills. To safeguard the company from educational qualification frauds, this check is mandatory.
No company can afford a resume fraud. Taking measures to avoid this is the only way to protect a company from making the right choice of a candidate for its company. Conducting a comprehensive background check with special emphasis on an education check is perhaps the only available way to safeguard the interests of the company.