Employers are increasingly demanding proof of academic qualifications for the people they hire. Most jobs will now specify a minimum of GCSE qualifications in English and Maths, and for higher level positions there may be a requirement for a specific degree or qualification. But with some surveys suggesting as many as 85% of people lie on their CVs, how can you check that someone really has the qualifications which they are claiming?

Asking for Certificates

One of the easiest ways of verifying that candidates have the qualifications they are claiming is to ask to see originals of exam pass certificates. For younger candidates who have only recently sat exams, this shouldn’t be an issue. But people move house, lose their certificates, or get married and have certificates in a name which doesn’t match their current name. If you decide to have a policy of only employing if you can see original certificates, then state this clearly upfront as candidates may need time to get copies of certificates issued from the exam board or their Higher Education institution. Only ask to see the certificates which are strictly needed – if someone has a degree, do you really need to see their A-level and GCSE passes too?

Foreign Qualifications

Many applicants will have been educated overseas or gone to university abroad. Employers shouldn’t automatically assume that standards overseas are lower as often they are not. However, it does put in an extra layer of difficulty when screeners or employers are not familiar with the institutions or qualifications. If someone is claiming a degree or diploma, nearly all colleges and universities overseas will have some sort of internet presence. Google can often quickly reveal if an institution is genuine or not, and translation software can help you compose a brief email asking for confirmation of study. One thing to be aware of though is that forged certificates and degrees can be bought cheaply, for as little as £20 in some areas of the world. Always conduct due diligence if having a degree is critical to someone’s success.

HEDD – Higher Education Fraud Protection

If you have a candidate who is claiming to have done a degree, HND or HNC in the UK, then rather than asking them to show their degree certificate, employers can check with the HEDD site. There is a cost for checking through HEDD, but with starting prices of £12, it’s a price worth paying to avoid the hassle and expense of getting rid of an unsuitable employee. HEDD will confirm the place of study for any current or past student, tell you the course they were on, give you their final grade, and confirm their dates of attendance. Most universities in the UK are included in the scheme, and there is no fee for checking on the website. Candidates can’t use HEDD to check their own qualifications, it’s purely for employers. Candidates can instead contact their place of education and ask for academic transcriptions, or for a copy degree certificate to be sent out.