When you employ someone you want to make sure they have the relevant skills, training and knowledge to perform the job you are employing them for. Sometimes you can look at employment history, but if your candidate is a new graduate or your industry requires formal skills, an education verification check can prove your candidate has the necessary training to perform the role at hand. Past roles listed on a CV are not always an indicator that formal education has been satisfactorily completed.
Similarly, if your candidate is going into a position of trust such as a Doctor, or a highly regulated industry like finance, education checks are a key requirement for recruiters to ensure compliance is maintained and your candidate is skillfully, successfully and legitimately undertake their duties.
As such, when and where a candidate successfully completed their education modules is a vital part of the hiring process. Qualifications can vary from country to country and within that, institution to institution. It’s an employer’s job to ensure a candidate is who they say they are and that their work history and education are valid.
What is an Education Verification Check?
An Education Verification Check confirms an applicant’s educational claims. Think of it as an education background check. It is a process that confirms and verifies the applicant’s attendance and acquired qualification or accreditation at high schools, universities, colleges, and vocational institutions.
In some cases, formal training needs to be renewed in order for the candidate to legitimately perform the role. An Education Verification Check can help you see how recently training was completed, thus re-qualifying the candidate and ensures their eligibility for the available role.
Through an Education Verification Check, employers seek to obtain records of the candidate’s education credentials, training, and relevant work experience. Education Verification Checks are essential for a range of industries, especially where workers are in a position of trust.
It’s not uncommon to hear stories of ‘professionals’ who faked their education qualifications. In August 2021, Australia was left in utter disbelief after discovering a 27-year-old woman had been working for eight months as a doctor at Blacktown Hospital despite not being qualified for the job.
The woman had failed her final exams and faked documents to secure the position, causing enormous embarrassment and reputational damage to Blacktown Hospital, and more importantly, it put their patients in harm’s way.
Similarly in America, Adam Litwin was jailed for 20 years for impersonating a doctor at the UCLA Medical Centre.
Imagine if one of these people had been treating your child, your parent or your loved one.
Both medical facilities could have avoided this situation altogether if they had undergone a properly executed Education Verification Check.
What does an Education Verification Check reveal?
An Education Verification Check can return the following pieces of information or confirmations about the candidate:
- The educational institute they attended.
- The degree or qualification they attained.
- The dates of their attendance and graduation.
- Confirmation of any required work experience hours.
- Their educational record (for example, GPA).
- Whether they attained honours or any other formal recognition or awards.
Why are Education Verification Checks Important?
Reason #1: Education checks provide peace of mind that the candidate is telling the truth
As evidenced by the two medical examples, applicants will go to great lengths to land a job. Educational history is one of the most commonly lied about segments on a jobseeker’s resume. In the US, it was reported that five of the top 10 lies told on a resume were related to education.
Like reference checking, verifying education credentials is an important element of the recruitment process as it is a helpful tool in confirming if a candidate is qualified for the job. It allows recruiters and hiring managers to make informed hiring choices.
It also proves if a candidate is comprised of honesty and integrity, two highly sought-after characteristics.
Reason #2: Education verification checks fulfil compliance requirements if the role requires proof of specific training
Whilst some occupations don’t require strict qualifications to perform their roles, others such as teachers, medical and health professionals and lawyers do. For roles in these industries, an Education Verification Check forms a sort of ‘certificate of education’ to offer organisations not only tangible proof of qualifications but to confirm the legitimacy of qualification achieved.
There is also a legal liability on an employer’s behalf if they subject their patients or customers to an employee who is not properly qualified.
Federal officials caution that some people are buying phony credentials from “diploma mills” — companies that sell “degrees” or certificates on the internet without requiring the buyer to do anything more than pay a fee.
Diploma mills might try to appear legitimate by accepting prior work experience or providing bogus online courses. Others just outright sell fake degrees.
Reason #3: Education verification checks help determine the right level of compensation
In some occupations such as Government, the trade sector or education, Education Verification Checks are also a critical factor in determining compensation. In some instances, the more qualified you are, the more compensation you are entitled to. For example, someone with a Doctoral degree may be compensated more highly than someone with a Bachelor’s degree in the same field.
What if I don’t conduct an Education Verification Check?
Depending on your industry and business, there are varying risks if you do not verify and check a candidate’s education qualifications. At a very basic level you risk damaging the reputation of your brand by employing someone who isn’t qualified to perform the duties of their role.
For industries like healthcare, education and finance that are highly regulated and in positions of trust, there are risks to patients, children or people more broadly.
There are also potential legal implications for both a candidate pretending to have qualifications they do not and for your organisation for failing to verify that the information you received from the candidate was truthful and accurate.
How do I conduct an Education Verification Check?
To verify an applicant’s educational claims, you must start by collecting the following pieces of information:
- The full name of the candidate. Ensure you receive the full name that the person graduated under. For example, a candidate might be applying under a married name but graduated under a previous name.
- The name and address of the educational institution.
- The dates attended.
- The title and field of their degree.
- A signed authorisation release from the candidate.
Once you have acquired this information, you can take it directly to the education provider the candidate achieved their qualification with. Or you can simply pass it on to a trusted third party such as Xref to quickly perform the Education Verification Check.
Who should conduct an Education Verification Check?
Individual employers can conduct an Education Verification Check themselves by contacting the specified educational institution, providing the necessary details and requesting a candidate’s transcript or verification of their qualification.
However, this independent approach can often be difficult and a slower process as there may be forms that the candidate has to complete for the educational institution to release their records.
For this reason, utilising a third-party service such as Xref to perform an Education Verification Check can streamline the process, saving employers valuable time and providing assurance that the verification will be carried out thoroughly.
Xref’s partner, My eQuals, utilises a brilliant tool - the Graduate Verification Service (GVS) - to verify educational qualifications in Australia and New Zealand. The GVS can also complete verifications on international education qualifications.
Do I need a candidate’s permission before conducting an Education Verification Check?
Yes. Education verification typically requires consent from the candidate and may be subject to various regulations both in your country and the country the candidate achieved their education qualification. It is vital to consider privacy and data security.
Gaining permission also helps to confirm the details of the education qualification completed so you don’t have to go back and double-check the details later.
When should you conduct an Education Verification Check?
it is imperative that you seek consent from your candidate to conduct the check first. Once consent is received, an employer should conduct an Education Verification Check as part of the hiring process, before making final decisions on hiring any candidate. These can be completed as part of a larger background checking process.
The timeline of when to conduct an Education Verification Check is not rigid and can take place any stage after pre-screening promising candidates’ resumes, to the conclusion of an interview.
Keep in mind though that you don’t want to tell other likely candidates that they have missed out on a role, and then find out your preferred candidate lied about his education, forcing you to revert back to a candidate you initially dismissed.
How long does it take to conduct an Education Verification Check?
Depending on how you wish to conduct an Education Verification Check will influence how long it will take. You can reach out to an education provider directly to confirm a person’s qualifications, however, this could be a lengthy process because you will be reliant on how fast the education institution can find the information you are after and send it back to you.
Additionally, there may be significant back-and-forth communication required if the candidate information you have does not match their qualifications exactly. All this creates further delays.
Keep in mind also that the information each educational institution offers may vary between institutions and countries. When requesting information directly you may wish to have a checklist of information prepared so there is consistency between the information you receive for each candidate.
When conducting an education verification check with Xref results are returned instantly. The tool will provide one of the following results:
- No Match
- Partial Match
No match indicates that the check has not yielded any results. A partial match may occur if a person’s name is incorrect for example or the year they completed the qualification. If you receive a match, it means all information has been successfully verified.
What other verification checks should I conduct?
There are many other employment verification checks you may choose or be required by law to conduct. These include, but are not limited to:
- Employment Verification Checks (also known as Employment History checks)
- Credit Financial Checks
- Police Checks
- Working with Children Checks
- Professional Membership Checks (or Professional License checks)
- Traffic and License Checks
- Social Media Checks
- Work Rights or Visa Checks
- Watchlist Checks
- Workers Compensation Checks
- Identity (ID) Checks
To find out more about additional checks that you can conduct, meet our checking partners. To verify the background of your candidate and the validity of their identity documents, in a secure and seamless way, consider our partner RapidID.
Where can I learn more about Education Verification Checks?
Get in touch with our team to learn more about how you can conduct Education Verification Checks in an easy and compliant way.