The Essential Guide to Educational Background Checks [2021]

What You Need to Know About Educational Background Checks & Education Verification

Today’s job market is incredibly diverse and competitive. Applicants are continuously competing to fill job vacancies, with most applicants eventually requiring an educational background check when applying.

An educational background check, commonly known as education verification, is a vital part of the employee screening process. 

It’s not unusual for candidates to exaggerate their experience levels on their CVs or job applications. Without looking closely, employers can hire people with insufficient experience for important roles, thereby putting the organisation at greater risk.

This is why they often turn to employee background check companies, such as Eurocom CI, that carry out extensive education checks on candidates.

What is an Education Background Check?

This type of background check confirms that the applicant has the training, education and certification they say they do. Education checks identify and validate any potential discrepancies and confirm they obtained the right degree.

Education background checks aren’t used to verify licenses for working in specific sectors; that type of check is a Professional Membership check.

What does an Education Background Check Show?

There are several things which an education verification request will disclose. These may include the following:

  • Dates of attendance
  • Confirming the school, college or university attended
  • Degree or certification level
  • Honours achieved (if applicable)
  • Areas of study
  • Specific grades in subjects

How Far Back does Education Verification Go?

For education checks, Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) are at liberty to check an applicant’s educational background as far back as they wish. 

Certain other types of checks, such as DBS checks, have specific rules and exceptions that may vary from application to application.

How Long does an Educational Background Check Take?

Usually, an educational verification check takes just a few days at most. If a school, college or university is slow to respond or provide confirmation once requested, this can lead to delays. Sometimes they may need to dig out hard copies of attendance records, degrees or grades which can’t always be obtained easily or quickly.

Some background check agencies may ask their client(s) to carry out additional checks. These could range from criminal record checks and credit checks, right through to screening against industry-specific standards like BPSS or BS7858.

Why are these Background Checks Important?

Employers are required to verify a prospective employee’s education for several reasons. Their formal education and qualifications are, in many cases, indicative of a person’s ability to work in the advertised role. Employers have a responsibility to ensure they have the skills, knowledge and experience to do the job.

Over the years, there has been a growing presence of online organisations which provide seemingly legitimate documentation of degrees or qualifications, for a fee. These are known as ‘diploma mills’, and the caveat is that they are not legitimate educational institutions.

It’s proving increasingly easy for applicants to purchase fake degrees from these ‘diploma mills’ and it can ultimately get the organisation in hot water.

Employers have to be cautious about candidates who claim they are qualified in specific fields. From looking at a standard CV, there is nothing to suggest that the candidate is lying, but equally, their education could be fabricated or falsified. They could, just as easily, have bought a fake degree from a ‘diploma mill’.

Companies hire background screening companies like the Eurocom CI team to help them make smarter hiring decisions. Not only that, but we maintain a database of legitimate and false educational institutions, to identify them during the verification process.

In summary, education checks help organisations to:

  • Hire properly-qualified people
  • Protect their reputation
  • Build a trustworthy team
  • Ensure they are filling vacancies with the right candidates
  • Filter out individuals who would not be suitable for the role(s)

How do I get an Education Check?

Depending on your industry and the role you need filling, Eurocom CI can screen candidates against certain standards for local authorities or financial services. Alternatively, we can create bespoke background check packages for your company, which is handy if your industry has a high staff turnover.

These packages are ideal for organisations that require numerous checks conducted on prospective employees. You can read more about those here.

Alternatively, we can carry out one-off educational checks, from Professional Memberships to Highest, Top 2 or Top 3 Education Establishment verifications.

If you’re looking for something more bespoke to you, then Eurocom CI can also help you with that. Please get in touch with us to find out more.