By Tauseef Razi Mallick

Education embezzlement tops the list of resume fraud being practiced in today’s job market. These days employers prefer candidates with advanced skills and specific educational degrees or certifications, this is the main reason for applicants to falsify their academic record just to fit into employer’s criteria.

This trend is seen on the rise in the past few years as education fraud cases can even be seen on the front pages of newspaper. An insight into the matter revealed the intensity of problem stating that two-thirds of college registrars confirm that they have been approached to verify falsified education credentials, including those obtained via diploma mills.

Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) has categorically enlisted education among the top five items which every employer must verify. According to SHRM more than 53% of job applicants falsify information on their resumes, another finding reveals that one out of four candidates misrepresents his educational attainment. ADP Screening Index shows that employment, education and credential reference checks disclose 45% manipulation in applicant’s information. In another finding by Wall Street Journal, 34% of all application forms contain misrepresentations about the applicants’ experience, education, and ability to perform essential job functions.

The world renowned body of fraud examiners, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), said in its report that 41% of applicants lie about education. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in America affirms that there are about 500,000 people who claim college degrees they never earned.

The cost of hiring the wrong guy is much of a concern for employers, as this is an extra burden in this recession period. Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) estimates that it costs $3,500 to replace an $8 per hour employee, $7,000 to replace a salaried employee, $10,000 to replace a mid-level employee, and $40,000 to replace a senior executive.

Forging Credentials

There are many ways one can forge his actual credentials, a close analysis highlights some of the major falsification trends as how people tend to manipulate their credentials.

  • They mention a degree which is not in real but just exists on resume (e.g., earning an associate’s degree, but listing a bachelor’s degree).
  • Citing a different major, not the one which is actually earned (e.g., earning a general education degree, but listing a communications degree).
  • Referring a degree from an institution but not actually graduating from there ( e.g., quitting college after only six months of attendance).
  • Acquiring degree from an unaccredited university or online diploma mill (these degrees are even verifiable but actually they are fake).


Red Flag

At this point you might be thinking of it as impossible to point out any falsification in educational credentials at the very instance of seeing it. But it actually is not that rocket science, you just have to be bit skeptical-cum-curios and use some common sense, and you can easily point out a red flag. Here we add to your knowledge some commonly seen red flags.

  • Out of Sequence Degrees. Educational degrees are earned in a traditional progression i.e. high school, followed by bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral or other advanced degrees. But if your applicant has shown no General Educational Development (GED) diploma or high school certificate and has directly jumped to master’s degree, the bell rings, it can be from a diploma mill.
  • Degrees On A Rush. You yourself along with others have taken time to qualify for degrees, three to four years for an undergraduate degree, one or two years for master’s, and even longer to earn a doctorate. Any degree earned in a short span or several degrees listed for the same year are surely a reason to raise red flag, both for the employer and the person doing preliminary screening.
  • Live Somewhere, Study Somewhere Else? You need to be in the vicinity of an institution to study from there, it can’t be done if you are doing a fulltime job in a state far away from the institution. If the applicant didn’t live where he went to school, there are chances that the degree may be from a diploma mill.
  • Sound-Alike Names. Diploma mills have a ploy to use name that look or sound like those of well-known colleges or universities. If the institution has a name similar to a well-known school, but is located in a different state, check on it. If you come across a degree from an institution with a prestigious-sounding foreign name, that calls for some homework, too.
  • Foreign Degrees. Applicants come with degrees from foreign institutes which is certainly a tough job to verify but consider it a warning sign if an applicant claims a degree from a country where she never lived.

Repercussions with Wrong Hiring

Educational fraud and falsification is likely to result in grave damage to the reputation of a business along with hiring cost of replacement, employee productivity gets less, you become vulnerable to damage of property and life and even expose yourself to legal obligations.

According to officials from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Department of Education, and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) bogus credentials can compromise your credibility — and that of your organization. When you place an incompetent person in a position of responsibility, you actually risk your organizational stability as that individual’s actions can bring harm to your company. Hiring a person who is dishonest, about mentioning his qualifications, exposes your organization and colleagues to potential damage, and if the bogus degrees are brought to light, you risk embarrassment.

What Is The Solution?

The solution to this problem is not that hard to find, keeping in view the above mentioned points you get an insight to what might be the case. Just go ahead to verify it online, online education verification is one of the most inexpensive, easiest and fastest ways an employer can reduce the risk and cost of making bad hiring decisions.

Education Verifications are worthful in assuring the honesty of applicant, at the same time protecting an employer against delinquent hiring claims. Training and education are considered pivotal to an employee’s on-the-job success. An Education Verification search corroborates that the training, education and certification claims of an applicant are in compliance.

Tauseef Razi Mallick works as web-content writer and researcher for XclueSIV Pvt Ltd.


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