In the past, there may have been contexts in which employers took on good faith that an individual had the educational credentials that they claimed on their resumes. Before the rise of the internet, many jobs relied on a combination of on-the-job training and any form of background education.
Modern employment, as it stands now, has made it standard that individuals applying for positions beyond the entry-level (and in some cases, at the entry-level) must have an associate's or bachelor's degree. The pressure to falsify missing credentials on a resume has gone up, and thus the need for education verification has also grown.
There are times when education verification is quick and easy: many accredited colleges and universities can quickly check and verify an alumnus for an employer or a third-party screening company here in Texas. However, there are a few contexts where education verification in Texas becomes complex:
- When the credential is from a different country: This includes countries where English is not commonly spoken. These credentials could be precisely the right ones for the job, but it is hard to evaluate them if contacting the institution in English does not result in a response.
- If the institution appears to no longer exist: when you give the job applicant the benefit of the doubt, a missing institution could be a college or university that has gone out of business and left very little when it comes to a paper trail. On the other hand, manipulative applicants might use this gray area to their advantage by making up the name of a company and claiming that it went out of business before all institutions had an online, verifiable presence.
- If the institution has no clear point of contact: If an institution has no identifiable person to contact for verification, or when the verification attempt is made, they cannot confirm that this student attended and graduated, digging into the details can quickly become complicated.
- If the quality of the degree is in question: Some institutions which offer a verification readily may also be a "diploma mill" in disguise. This term refers to an organization that offers named credentials for substantially less coursework (and sometimes, no coursework at all) than such a degree typically requires. If, for instance, a typical bachelor's degree requires 12-15 hours of classes for eight semesters and an online degree claims you can get their bachelor's credential after two semesters of 8-hour evening classes, this school may be a form of a diploma mill.
When completing an education verification in Texas, you could run into any number of these issues, and it can shake your faith in the individual you were so hopeful about hiring. Thankfully, there are a few ways to move forward.
Why Third-Party Screening Matters
One of the first steps, in any case, is to find a reliable third-party background screening company. As insiders, they'll know a bit more about the overall trends in education verification than your HR department may be able to check on their own. For instance, if a particular school has been revealed to require less rigorous coursework and have no accreditation, they will be able to recognize that name when it comes across in a background screening request.
- Verifying education can take longer than a couple of days in any of the above circumstances.
- A problem with verification is not an automatic reason to believe there is something wrong with the credential.
- Some credentials are harder to verify than others.
Once you know, for instance, that a credential did come from a school that has gone out of business or from a college or university that is considered to have a poor reputation for academic rigor, you must make a few more decisions. The issues are separate, but both have a bearing on your hiring:
- Is this person trustworthy (telling the truth about their educational experience)?
- Are they qualified (do they have the necessary education to do a great job)?
A Skills-Based Interview
- Consider how a practical test of skills and knowledge could help during the interview process if you find yourself verifying a lot of degrees from less-than-reputable colleges.
- This could include a written component where applicants prove that they have indeed been working with or learning the core concepts of your industry previously.
- It could be combined with verification of public speaking skills where they give a very brief talk about a subject they researched or that they have specialized in within your field.
- This can double as a great way for interviewers to get to know their expertise more thoroughly.
The world of education has grown more competitive and more complex since higher education became a requirement for many kinds of jobs. By working with an experienced third-party screener, you'll have an inside provider when it comes to the latest in education.
CNet Technologies is your edge when it comes to education verification in Texas! We're happy to help you become more educated about curious credentials during the hiring process. Get in touch with us to see how professional background screening services can work for you when it comes to finding the right talent for your company!