A business’s ability to succeed is dependent on several, different factors. One of the most important ones being hiring verifiable and qualified candidates. Hiring new employees can be an encouraging sign for any growing business, but that comes with the risk of hiring the wrong person and, potentially, disrupting that growth.
An employer will, usually, have an idea of what kind of candidate they are looking for. A new employee should be reliable, responsible and capable of moving the organisation forward. The excitement of hiring can cause a business to rush that process and fail to verify a new hire’s past employment or educational background.
South Africa’s employment rates are much higher for workers with a Bachelor’s degree or higher and lower for workers with less than a high school education. There are clear benefits to hiring well-educated employees, but that means ensuring the accuracy of their application through background screenings, first.
In order to find the ideal candidate, they need to be as qualified and educated as they claim on their CV.
What is Education Verification?
Verifying the education of a candidate is a vital step in vetting applicants before completing a hiring. The majority of job applications require a minimum level of education to qualify. An applicant’s information then requires confirmation to ensure a high-quality candidate is found. A candidate may provide inaccurate or incomplete information about their degree, certificate or diploma to secure a job opportunity.
Education verifications can be conducted worldwide and are, usually, straight from the institution or from an authorised agent. This provides a hiring manager the opportunity to confirm information, such as: academic degrees, institutions and time attended, specialised training and other job-specific certifications.
Education verification gives businesses of any size the opportunity to avoid hiring candidates with an illegitimate degree obtained from a “degree mill” (or “diploma mill”). A degree mill is an institution that claims to provide tertiary qualifications, but is not accredited by any organisation or agency. They offer degrees, diplomas or certifications – for a fee – without any education provided or coursework completed.
A degree mill may require a thesis or dissertation to be submitted for the appearance of legitimacy. This may convince their students – and future employers – that the qualification is genuine. If education verification requires too much time or resources to complete, a simple search on GetEducated.com or similar sites can help assess the validity of the institution in question.
Why is Education Verification so Important?
Businesses are expected to conduct their hiring processes in a way that protects their employees and the company. There are three main benefits to in-depth education verification:
Preventing negligent hiring
If a new employee puts any co-worker in danger, completes their work poorly or conducts dangerous behaviours, it can expose the company to liabilities or negligence claims. An extensive screening process can help avoid these potential risks.
Job opportunities often require specialised skillsets and expertise, especially in areas like healthcare, education and legal work. If a new employee does not meet those requirements, the business may be put at risk.
Avoiding illegitimate institutions
Education verification offers employers the opportunity to decipher which candidates have legitimate educational backgrounds and which candidates are using degree mills, fake qualifications or, intentionally, false information to secure a job.
The Extent of Educational Background Checks
An education verification process has no time limit. An applicant’s background check can cover any post-high school degrees or credentials they might claim, against official records. If an applicant claims to have completed high school or obtained a tertiary qualification; education verification can help confirm the validity of those dates as well as the subject-focus.
How to Verify a Candidate’s Educational History?
After an employer has determined the educational and skills levels they are looking for, it is time to begin the verification process. There are regulations that determine what information is accessible and within privacy laws for a company looking to make hires.
It is critical for an employer to question a candidate on their education – directly – during the interview process. If these questions are answered with contradictory or conflicting responses; that employer must invest the necessary time and resources to verify those questionable aspects of their resume.
There are Some Limitations of Education Verification
There are some possible limitations to the education verification process:
Inaccessibility: educational institutions may have prohibitive measures to stop companies or service providers from accessing their records.
Too slow: it may take up to a few weeks to verify educational backgrounds if institutions are closed or slow-to-update their records.
Inaccuracies: a verification process can be hindered by name changes, inaccurate student numbers or inconsistent information.
Incomplete results: an educational background check may not include final academic results or honours information.
Ensuring a Complete and Successful Screening Process
Education verification is one of the most important parts of an employment background check, but it is not the only component. Other information – like credit, employment and criminal histories – can be gathered through pre-employment screenings.
Services like ShareAble, GoodHire and BackgroundReport are affordable and convenient services that help employers hire far-superior candidates than they would without any screening processes. This vital background information can include:
- Verifying identification
- Checking sex offender registries, national wanted lists and terrorist watchlists
- Checking local and national criminal records
- Determining adherence to credit reporting rules and regulations
- Matching names to identity and/or passport numbers
- Confirming previous and current addresses
- Running detailed credit histories
It is important to remember that these are not complete screenings on their own. However, including this additional credit, employment and criminal history information, allows business employers the opportunity to perform the most successful and comprehensive employment background checks, possible.