• By Mark Ridgeway
  • 13 Sep, 2017

The Importance of Education Verification


Lying on a resume is not a widely acceptable practice. It is however, becoming a serious problem. According to CareerBuilder in a recent study, more than 50 percent of hiring managers have found a lie on a resume.

Since education and work experience are important, background check providers have to be meticulous and thorough when validating educational reference stated on resumes. And as simple as verifying a school record may seem, it is not necessarily a quick or easy task.

A lot of educational institutions just don’t respond directly to requests.

Many of them subscribe to the National Student Clearinghouse, the largest provider of electronic student record exchanges and postsecondary transcript ordering services in the U.S.

For a fee, the Clearinghouse checks enlistment and graduation data for understudies of most open and private U.S. organizations. The degrees confirmed through the Clearinghouse ensure against false information that can be supplied by “diploma mills.” (dipoloma mill- an institution or organization that grants large numbers of educational degrees based on inadequate or inferior education and assessment of the recipients).

Contacting the institution directly can be challenging. Verifying services attempt to contact the administration, but it is often hard to get in touch with someone at the institution. School holidays often delay the verification process.

Some schools have restrictions in place that only allow the student to gain access to his/ her records. Names might also be confused, causing errors. The schools often prohibit the GPA, degree or awards from being released.

An employer may request to see an actual diploma. But if the diploma needs to come from an educational institution, the turnaround time may increase substantially.

In the event that real transcripts are required to check participation, graduation, courses taken, and GPAs: don’t hold your breath because this is going to take a while…

Think lying on resumes only happen for entry-level positions?

Consider these high level fibs:

  • David Tovar, former vice president of corporate communications for Wal-Mart claimed he had a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, when in fact he never finished the required coursework to get a diploma. This little lie was exposed in 2014 during a background check while Tovar was being considered for a promotion .
  • Ex-Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson claimed he had computer science and accounting degrees from Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. In fact, he only had the accounting degree. Thompson, who was hired in January 2012, agreed to resign from Yahoo that May.
  • Marilee Jones, who was dean of admissions from 1997 to 2007 at the ultra-prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, perpetuated for 28 years the lie that she had three degrees. In reality, she had none. The school learned of this in 2007 and she was forced to resign.
  • The University of Notre Dame hired George O’Leary to be its new head football coach in 2001. O’Leary said he earned varsity letters playing football at the University of New Hampshire from 1966 to 1968. It turned out he never played any games there at all (though some players remembered him “working out, lifting weights, the whole thing,” the New York Times reported .)

    He also falsely claimed to have a master’s degree from New York University. O’Leary’s lies surfaced and his Notre Dame career lasted five days.

It’s best to verify all elements of a resume and job application – including executives. Since many candidates have assumed that a prospective employer may not bother verifying his or her educational background, he/ she may exaggerate or lie.

Demonstrating due diligence by directing a background check company to validate job candidates’ education references thoroughly will help  minimize your risk and maximize your results.

The CHC Blog

By Mark Ridgeway 15 Jan, 2018
The following is an excerpt from CNN published published January 15, 2018:
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