Education verification has become a critical part of the job screening process. This is because education fraud is becoming increasingly sophisticated. People are no longer content with putting false academic credentials on their resumes. With the rising number of diploma mills, applicants can now purchase authentic looking academic documents. Some diploma mills are so sophisticated that some people are actually suckered into believing that they got genuine academic credentials. Identifying such fraud requires skill and dexterity.
For the staffing industry and HRs, the challenge isn’t keeping out education fraudsters from joining their ranks. It is finding the right background screening company which can help with that. Unfortunately, this isn’t a simple and straightforward affair. Granted, many screening companies now offer education verification services.
The ultimate question is: how can you decide which is service will best fulfill your organizational goals? Well, here is a brief guide on what to look for in an education verification service.
First, Your Homework
Before even thinking about hiring a company to verify the educational history or credentials of your applicants or employees, there are five things you need to clarify. These things will make it easier for you to find the service which can best serve your needs.
Why do you need to carry out educational verification?
There are two possible reasons for verifying an employee or applicant’s educational background. The first is to check their character (i.e. determine whether or not they lied in their resume). The second is to gage their competence (for professions where educational achievement is directly related to job competence). The reason for the verification will determine the type of verification you carry out.
What type of verification do you intend to carry out?
There are different types of educational verification. For example, you can verify the existence of the institution, the existence of the course in the institution, the candidate’s enrollment for the particular course, whether or not the candidate received a specific award, details of their performance (e.g. GPA and CGPA), equivalence of their academic achievements (if the person studied under a different educational system).
Each of these types of verification requires different amounts of time and resources. Knowing which one(s) you need can enable you to allocate the right amount of time and resources.
What timeline do you need for the verification?
The amount of time required to carry out verification usually depends on the type of verification, location of institution and even the institution’s own policies. Some institutions have strict policies on how to access records of its current and former students.
What is your budget?
The total cost of verification differs from company to company. However, it usually depends on the nature of verification service you need. It is advisable to check out a few services before establishing a budget cap. Otherwise, establishing a low budget threshold can limit the quality of service you receive.
Who will pay for the service?
This seems like a no-brainer. However, there are certain situations where it is normal for applicants to pay for educational verification. This is especially true if you are hiring independent consultants. In such situations, you select the background screening company, and the consultant foots the bill.
Basically, these are the five major questions that you need to answer before even thinking of hiring an educational verification service. Another possible question is number of verifications you need to carry out. However, the above five are the most important. They constitute your due diligence. Once you have clear answers to them, you can now proceed to evaluate background screening companies for their educational verification services.
8 Things To Look For In An Education Verification Service
There are may qualities which make an education verification service great. However, the 8 most important ones are the following:
1. Type of Services Offered
This depends on the type of verification you intend to carry out. The service must be able to carry out the exact type of verification you need. Otherwise, it serves you no purpose at all.
2. Customization Of The Service
Most verification companies provide either standard or customized services. Some offer both. Generally speaking, customized services tend to be a little more expensive than standard services. They also tend to be more thorough.
The need for customization will depend on the type of verification service you need. The more detailed the verification (e.g. GPA/CPGA verification) the more you’ll probably need customized services.
3. Payment Options Provided
This is important especially if the applicants are going to pay for the verification service. Some companies (e.g. Crimcheck) provide a convenient way through which applicants can pay for the service directly to them without you having to handle the money.
4. Automation Of Service
This is important if you have verification checks performed on many candidates. Most education verification services now provide a convenient way for you to submit candidates’ particulars online. Even then, making multiple submissions can be tedious.
Automation enables you to make multiple submissions at the same time. This greatly simplifies your life. As such, a company which automates certain aspects of its services makes your life much simpler.
5. Integration With Your HRIS
This of course matters only if you have a Human Resource Information System (HRIS). Thoughtful providers of verification services provide a way for you to integrate their system into your HRIS. This makes it easy for you to submit, track and monitor the progress of verifications from right within your system.
6. Experience In The Industry
In the verification industry, experience is gold. The longer a company has spent in the industry, the more likely it is to provide a more thorough service. This is because with experience comes connections, networks and intimate knowledge of the workings of different educational establishments. This can ultimately translate into your work getting done faster.
7. NAPBS Accreditation Of The Company
This should actually have come first. The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) has now established an accreditation service for companies which implement the best practices in the industry. The accreditation standards are so high that only 62 out of over 700 NAPBS members have been accredited. Therefore, an accredited company can provide you with the best quality of service possible.
This has been deliberately placed last. Yes, more often than not, you will be offered a fixed budget to work within. However, please remember that the cost of the service almost always reflects the quality of verification. Before rushing for the cheapest service available, think about the potential financial implications of hiring or promoting a person with the wrong credentials.
In a nutshell, those are the 8 major things to consider when hiring an education verification service. However, the most important thing is for you to do your homework. Once you have a perfectly clear idea of why you need a verification service, then selecting the right one shouldn’t be much of a problem. Happy hunting!