By Kati Allison
How many employers have asked that question after extending an offer letter? Who is the real person that your Human Resource Manager is interviewing? Most employment candidates will embellish their skill sets and possibly their work histories; however, there are a large number of candidates that have simply lied about their education to obtain a position.
According to Ragan’s PR Daily’s Study, “92% of college students lie on their resumes.” Here are some alarming facts from Accu-Screen, ADP, The Society of Human Resource Managers:
- 53% of resumes contain falsifications;
- 7% of job applicants have a felony record;
- 78% of resumes are misleading;
- 21% of resumes state fraudulent degrees; and
- 29% of resumes show altered employment dates
These percentages are alarming; however, these can all be avoided with the proper due diligence.
Some high profile instances of “phantom degrees” include the most notable case of Scott Thompson, the former CEO of Yahoo. He stated on his biography that he had a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, which upon verification proved to be inaccurate. He actually had a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting.
The former Dean of Admissions at MIT, Marilee Jones had been with MIT for 28 years before the University realized that she never obtained the undergraduate or master’s degrees that she had listed on her resume. Ms. Jones never received any college degrees. She resigned in disgrace.
We have been involved in situations where individuals have claimed to have a Juris Doctorate, Science or Chemistry degree, or a specialized IT degree. All of these individuals were adamant that they had completed the required education, and had been awarded these specialized degrees. However, upon verification it was determined that these were falsifications on their resumes, and none of the above individuals had the described degrees. It should also be noted that these same individuals had previously been employed at other organizations under the guise of having these degrees.
The above instances can be avoided. The verification of degrees is a seamless process. There are currently online databases that, for a fee, will verify the degree and even the attendance dates of the employment candidate. There is no need for your Human Resource Manager to “have the wool pulled over their eyes” regarding an employment candidate’s education.
Why is it important to conduct proper due diligence? What is the impact to these organizations when they do not do appropriate due diligence? First, would be the public embarrassment of having hired an individual with a bogus degree. Second, there could be a financial impact because you have hired an individual who does not possess the requisite education and experience that are now in decision making roles or just general damage to brand integrity. However, more succinctly, it is a trust issue. If you cannot be assured that your employee has been truthful with their own background and experience, why would you trust them with your clients or business?
The Advisory Division has a dedicated team in place that conducts the due diligence for Marcum’s Assurance Public Clients; this team also provides this service to several financial institutions and government agencies. We verify numerous degrees on a weekly basis. Do not be one of the employers listed above and hire a candidate that has embellished or lied about their education….let us assist you with your due diligence.