Background Check: Bachelor Degree Verification
In a tight job market, candidates may be asked to possess something that they did not need to have just five or 10 years ago: a bachelor’s degree. Numerous jobs, from file clerks to dental hygienists, may now require a four-year degree at some companies. The requirement is what “The New York Times” calls up-credentialing or what some call “degree inflation.”
The change has come about as businesses sift through wads of resumes, in search of the best candidates. The flip side of this phenomenon is that as companies require a degree for basic positions, highly overqualified people take jobs that they will only keep until something better comes along. Still, the sea change has put pressure on job candidates including those that haven’t finished their education yet.
A tight job market means that employers will do background checks with an eye for verifying that four-year degree you claimed on your job application is legitimate. Those companies that rigorously investigate job candidate backgrounds will be doing a number of things to verify your degree including:
1. Ask for official transcripts. One way to verify that you have a college degree is to ask you to request from your college to send your potential employer your official transcripts. The company will not only confirm the degree obtained, but the courses you took and the grades you received.
2. Contact the college to directly verify your degree. This step is the easiest one with many Admissions departments at colleges set up to field phone calls to confirm one-time enrollment and degree completion. Some schools may refuse to give this information out even with your name and Social Security Number in hand. In that case a visit to the National Student Clearinghouse can uncover that information. For a fee, of course.
3. Verify your college. It may not be enough for an employer to verify your college attendance and degree. The school itself may come into question especially if it is not a familiar one. You may need to supply complete address information about the college so that the company representative can contact the appropriate regional accreditation board. If your college has closed, then direct this person to the school that is housing your records.
Do job candidates ever fake their degrees? Unfortunately, some do. In fact, there are websites that can help you forge your college transcripts, passing these off as real. Doing so, however, can lead to prosecution, something a 22-year-old Missouri woman discovered after forging her community college transcripts. Faking your degree can cost you dearly, even that entry-level position that other overqualified candidates are also seeking.
See Also — Smart Job Seeking Tips For Today’s Grads