The fake diploma is an emerging species! With many universities no longer printing paper diplomas, lying about a skill or certification has never been easier. Forging a diploma, inventing some training courses or adding false information to a resume are now common practices among unscrupulous applicants during a recruitment interview. For example, according to a 2018 Florian Mantione study, 85% of applicants agree that fixing their resumes is normal.
Faced with the scourge of fake diplomas, many companies are taking steps to detect false information. Detailed questionnaires, verification with external organizations: during the recruitment phase, companies now have to include a control system concerning the training and education carried out by the applicant.
But identifying a fake diploma is not easy. How to distinguish the true from the false? What means are available to authenticate the information provided?
What steps can recruiters take to verify the authenticity of a diploma?
In 2013, a study by the recruitment consulting firm Florian Mantione put forward a frightening figure for recruiters: according to a sample of 352 companies surveyed, 33% of job applicants would often or always award themselves a fake diploma.
But what is a fake diploma? The fake diploma includes many different aspects, ranging from a falsified official document to a reality slightly embellished by an applicant during recruitment. For example, according to a study by the same firm, 75% of applicants’ resumes do not accurately reflect the applicant’s background. The fake diploma is not only a question of fake documents: it includes more complex realities.
What solutions are available to recruiters?
Verification with relevant agencies
According to RecrutementDigital, 33% of employers do not verify the diplomas presented and only 25% of recruiters request the original diplomas. The most effective, but also the most tedious verification for a recruiter is to inquire directly at the source. Recruiters can contact the organizations where the applicant claims to have received training. This direct approach is often the most recommended when in doubt about an applicant.
However, this process is time-consuming: it sometimes involves contacting several institutions and communicating with several intermediaries. Moreover, this process can easily become very time-consuming in a large company with recruitment needs of several hundred people each year.
Finally, this verification process is also legally regulated: applicants must be informed of this procedure and give their consent. One more step in an already burdensome verification process.
Verification with a former employer
Calling a former employer is becoming an essential step in the recruitment process. Studies show that the more professional experience applicants have on their resumes, the less the recruiting department checks their information. But, still according to the Florian Mantione study, only in 53% of the cases the position held corresponds to reality. Overhauled assignments, non-mastered skills, overvalued positions… Calling a former employer is often an effective way to identify ill-intentioned people.
Contacting the former employer appears to be a reliable way to verify the applicant’s training and skills.
What questions to ask a former employer?
- The overall assessment of the applicant;
- Actual assignments performed by the employee;
- Reasons for termination of the employment contract;
- The concordance of the skills listed on the resume with the skills acquired;
- The adequacy of the profile with the future missions.
Areas to address in the job interview
Sometimes the falsification of a diploma involves applicants who have this diploma but falsify their academic background. Some applicants embellish their training and claim to have received skills that were never offered in their school program, or to have taken a subject in their school program that they did not study. This false information is often the most difficult for a recruiter to detect, because the applicant knows the institution and the courses offered there.
Finding out about the academic background in question beforehand will allow the recruiter to sharpen their questions during the interview. The more accurate a questionnaire is, the easier it is to detect a lie.
For example, it is advisable to research the subjects offered by the applicant’s training: name of the professor, module taught, etc. Thus, during the job interview, the recruiter can push the applicants to the limit while verifying if they have followed this academic path. Recruiters must trust their instincts; if they feel that applicants have not mastered certain aspects of their background, they must delve deeper to ensure the authenticity of the background.
In addition, one of the easiest ways to ensure the veracity of a foreign language diploma is to conduct part of the job interview in that language. The recruiter will then see directly the language skills of the applicant. On average, 64% of applicants overestimate their knowledge of a foreign language.
Properly analyze diplomas and resume
Finally, the most obvious technique is to carefully analyze the degree itself. The diploma certificate is an official document that must be flawless. The text must be in the same font, without any spelling mistakes, the content must be consistent, and the signature of the document must appear clearly and distinctly.
Asking for specific information about the degree is also recommended. Data such as the full name of the degree and its specialization, the location or the year of graduation.
Some legal mentions are mandatory on an official diploma. Information such as the name of the degree in its entirety and the date and place of birth of the applicant.
Compliance with labor law and data protection
Finding out about the applicant’s diplomas and experience is a necessary step for the recruiter. However, these actions are still regulated by law.
The applicant should be aware of the techniques the recruiter uses to verify skills and abilities. In addition, all research conducted must be directly related to the position being considered. According to Article L. 1221-6 of the French Labor Code, “This information must have a direct and necessary link with the job offered or with the assessment of professional skills. Article 9 of the Civil Code also protects personal data such as political opinions, religion or family of the applicant.
What solutions are available to help recruiters detect fake degrees?
Verifying the authenticity of an internal diploma is complicated and tedious: it can take time for the recruiter. And time, for a company, is money!
A recruitment process usually takes place over a short and limited period of time. Employers want to find their new employee as soon as possible: finding out about academic backgrounds and diplomas internally often seems like a waste of time.
In recent years, many technological innovations have been introduced to make it easier to verify credentials. Here is an overview of the different solutions that exist to help verify fake diplomas.
Using an auditing company
An auditing company is an outside service provider that will do the proper research for the recruiter to authenticate a diploma. Verification is usually done through a database set up through partnerships with organizations issuing diplomas. In France, for example, we can mention the EveryCheck platform. Of course, you need to plan the appropriate budget to integrate this service into your administrative processes.
diplome.gouv.fr, the french government’s solution
Following the resurgence of fake diplomas, the French government has reacted: the Ministry of National Education has set up a platform where diplomas and certificates of achievement issued by the state are grouped together. This service allows you to download certificates, but also to provide access keys to potential employers so that they can verify the diploma themselves.
What diplomas are listed?
- The GCSEs (Brevet)
- Vocational qualification (CAP)
- The baccalaureate (Baccalauréat général, technologique et professionnel)
- The advanced technician’s certificate (BTS)
The benefit of this platform lies in its reliability, as it is regulated and controlled by the state. However, few degrees are listed, which is a major drawback for companies looking for highly qualified applicants.
For more information (french website): https://diplome.gouv.fr/sanddiplome/login.
Blockchain technology in the service of diploma verification
Blockchain solves the problem at its root. Using blockchain technology, BCdiploma offers a 100% online, tamper-proof diploma and certificate dematerialization service.
BCdiploma enables higher education institutions that use the service to provide their graduates and students with secure, authenticated online credentials in any medium. With a URL link, you can provide direct and secure access to your authenticated diplomas. Employers simply click on the link to view a diploma and be assured of their veracity.
This technology is multilingual: diplomas or certifications can be accessed in several languages from a unique link. This is a perfect option to certify the authenticity of a diploma obtained by French students who studied abroad, for example.
More than 100 institutions in 16 countries have chosen to trust BCdiploma’s blockchain technology. Companies’ recruitment departments no longer waste time trying to authenticate a diploma!