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April 26th, 2018 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

What Do You Need for an Education Verification?

A resume is an important part of the job hunting process. It is how a potential new employer gets the first impression of your skills, experiences and qualifications. In today’s competitive employment market, job seekers are using a variety of resume types and styles to sell themselves, their education and their past work to catch the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager. Applicants are searching for ways to compete with one another and one of the common ways is by padding, embellishing, exaggerating and even lying on their resume. How can employers know if the education, licenses and certifications you have listed on your resume are legitimate?

Education verifications are another aspect of the pre-employment background check. In the first blog post in our series, What You Need for a Criminal Record Check, we shared what information needs to be provided to either a third-party background screening provider or an internal HR team to run a criminal record check. All the components of an employment background check help organizations get a better overall picture of their candidates to give them the insight they need to make an informed hiring decision.

What are Education and Certification Verifications?

Education verifications confirm the type of degree, honors received and date of completion directly with the school registrar. Professional background screening companies maintain a database of legitimate educational institutions as well as known diploma mills to immediately identify them during the education verification process.

Employers verify professional licenses and certifications to make sure that a candidate has the license or certification they claim to have. There are thousands of licenses that can be verified including, but not limited to licensing and certification for medical doctors (MD or DO), registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), certified public accountant (CPA) and lawyers (JD), as well as for stockbrokers, teachers, engineers, pilots and other exam-certified professionals.

What is a Diploma Mill?

One way that some applicants try to pad their resume is by using “fake” universities or diploma mills on their resumes. Diploma mills are organizations that claim to be a higher education institution but which offer illegitimate academic degrees and diplomas for a fee. These degrees may claim to give credit for relevant life experience, evaluate work history and require submission of a thesis or dissertation for evaluation to give an appearance of authenticity. Most diploma mills have very convincing websites and will provide their “students” with official-looking degrees and transcripts.

The US has a very high number of diploma mill university occurrences in the world, with the UK coming in a close second. In the United States, universities and colleges are accredited by the Department of Education. If a college does not have the government accreditation, they could be considered a diploma mill. These types of colleges have excessive costs and usually do not offer any financial assistance to their students.

What Do I Need to Supply for an Education Verification?

The information that is needed for an education verification will vary on a company’s needs. Some companies will require more detail about educational background and certifications depending on the role they are hiring for. As well as the information that you provided for a criminal record check such as full name, social security number, birthday, any known aliases, current and past addresses and driver’s license number, you may also be asked to provide the following information for an education verification:

  • Name and address of the last school attended
  • Name and address of High School or GED
  • Name and address of Colleges/Universities attended as well as dates and degree name
  • List of certifications and licensing which are specific to a particular position
  • Diploma
  • Transcripts

It is important to be informed about the process and what information you need to provide for the background check. Remember to read the consent form carefully before you sign it. Providing the correct information at the time of consent will help to speed up the background check process. Items that you will be asked for to complete a background check include:

Background Screening Regulations

As a reminder, third-party background screening companies are regulated by federal, state and local laws. At the federal level, background checks are regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines. One requirement of the FCRA is that a company must notify the candidate that they will be performing a background check. The notice will explain that the results of the background check will be used for hiring, promotion or retention. After explaining the intent of performing a background check, employers must receive consent (either on paper or online) from a job candidate to run a background check and that the results will be used in making hiring decisions.

As you can see, background screening isn’t just running a criminal background check. Understanding what information you need to be prepared for the background check will help the turnaround time and put you a step ahead of other candidates. For other questions about the process, check out our FAQs at the Sterling’ website.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.