The Importance of Education Verification in Your Company’s Hiring Processes

Education verification should always be an integral part of your company’s hiring processes. When completing a background check on prospective employees, it is important to know that the candidate in question is not only qualified, but their credentials can be verified. Knowing that incoming employees are credible will go a long way to building confidence and trust in them.

Some candidates may be tempted to embellish – or outright lie about – their educational background and degrees obtained on their resumes. If you do not verify their credentials, you risk hiring unqualified and unreliable employees that would, undoubtedly, damage your business and its reputation. Not completing background checks is the most common way that business’s allow negligent hiring practices to take hold.

Whatever industry, organisation or business type you find yourself in, understanding the education verification process will help ensure that you are hiring trustworthy and capable candidates every time. Here are some common questions surrounding education verification in the hiring process:

What Is Education Verification?

Complete educational background checks will aim to verify the certifications, qualifications, training and educational histories of prospective employees. Education verification services will assess the veracity of an applicant’s backgrounds to ensure high-quality candidates are found. It is important to ensure that all candidates you hire are who and what they claim to be.

Jobseekers may provide inaccurate or incomplete information about degrees, certificates or diplomas in order to secure a job opportunity. This is why verifying the educational history of a job applicant is a vital part of the vetting and hiring processes. The majority of jobs in South Africa require a minimum level of education to apply and that high school, university or technical qualification must always be verified.

What Does a Robust Education Verification Process Do for Employers?

Ensure that applicants are trustworthy and fully qualified

Hiring new employees at your company can be a huge benefit to your workplace or a risk to the way you do business and how that business is seen by the market. You want make sure your newly hired employees fall into the former. Education verification services can help you find fully qualified and credible candidates by authenticating their educational background, such as certificates, diplomas and degrees.

Avoid negligent hiring liability

Having the requisite skills, qualifications and knowledge to perform a job reliably is the foundation of a good hiring process. However, if you do not verify the educational background of a prospective employee, your business or organisation could be liable for negligent hiring practices, if their inability causes harm. Thoroughly screening candidates will help your business find the right person for the job and avoid any legal liability.

Recognise fake degrees, qualifications and institutions

The proliferation of the Internet, digital technologies and online actors has led to a rise in the creation and sale of fake credentials. These “diploma mills” will give out degrees and other qualifications to anyone willing to pay. The certifications obtained may seem legitimate and even have websites, phone numbers and email addresses associated with them. It is critical to be able to identify unaccredited, falsified and phony qualifications from fake institutions.

Verify that licenses and certifications for specialised work are legitimate

There are many positions in different industries that require job-specific training and qualifications, such as in the health care, education, travel, legal, fitness and financial industries. The licenses and certifications associated with work in these fields are critical for ensuring that those professionals have the skills and education to perform their jobs successfully. Again, failure to verify their training can lead the negligent hiring liability for your organisation.

Identify falsifications of degrees achieved and universities attended

Another way that applicants misrepresent their educational backgrounds is to claim degrees they did not complete or claim that their qualifications are from a university they never attended. If the goal of an employer is to find the most qualified and trustworthy candidates for the job, companies need to verify their educational backgrounds. This includes less overt attempts to falsify degrees, like lying about how, where and if they completed the degree.

Receive fast and reliable reports to make the hiring process easier

Attempting to verify the educational background of a potential employee, by needing to contact every institution and receive proof of their claims, can take weeks to conduct. Investing in an educational verification service will help employers obtain accurate, quick and complete information on that candidate. The broad access they have to labour, institutional and occupational databases make the reporting process much more streamlined than doing it yourself.

Know that your company complies with privacy and data security laws

The POPI Act is the latest and biggest information protection regulation that South Africa’s government has introduced. Naturally, the hiring process will have employers handling sensitive data and the personal information of candidates, which requires them to be in compliance with all privacy laws. Verification service providers will always ensure that personal information is handled with care and in accordance with the law.

What Should Employers Do About It?

Employers need to make sure that every new hire is the best person for the job, with the right credentials and skills for the job. Your hiring process should include more than a quick, superficial background check, like a simple phone call, Google search and LinkedIn visit. You can perform various official checks, such as academic verification reports, certificate verification and criminal histories through a trusted partner. Do not be taken for a ride!

Start with the following:

  • Notify the applicant that you intend to complete a pre-employment screening.
  • Get the applicant’s signed consent to perform the background check.
  • Get the applicant’s full name that he or she graduated under, as well as his or her current full name.
  • Get the educational institution’s name, contact information and address.
  • Get the dates of attendance.
  • Ask for the degree field and the type of degree that was achieved, this includes non-degree qualifications or certifications that are obtained.

How Long Does Education Verification Take?

The extent of an educational background check will depend on the type and complexity of the verification processes being conducted. A candidate with a high school diploma and a few short courses will take much longer than a candidate with multiple tertiary qualifications and degrees. Subject focus, level of education, dates attended and trainings completed will all play a role in the length and extent of the education verification process.

Whether it takes a few days or few weeks, it is worth knowing that your new employee is credible and honest; with all the right skills and qualifications for the post. Having a reliable verification service provider, like MarisIT, will help streamline your business’s hiring processes and help employers secure the right candidate for the job.

To learn more about the education verification services and employee background checks we offer to South African businesses and organisations, contact MarisIT today.

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