Avoiding Hiring Mistakes: The Diploma Mill Maelstrom

“The latest initial claims report shows 2.95 million people filed for their second week or more of unemployment benefits in the week ending May 25, the most recent data available. . . Overall, about 11.7 million people still remain unemployed,” – Annalyn Kurtz, CNNMoney, 6/6/2013.

It’s an employer’s market, and businesses everywhere are experiencing both the benefits and the challenges an employment-hungry economy can wreak. Although your applicant pool may be full to overflowing with potentially well-qualified candidates, that pool is also teeming with job seekers who at best are unqualified, and at worst, could end up costing you more than you care to imagine.

Though you or your human resource department may initially be equipped to narrow a large applicant pool by eliminating those who do not meet certain job-specific criteria), paring that pool down to a manageable few can be challenging. One of the most vital pieces of pre-employment hiring procedures involves a detailed, high quality background screening.

A background screening has a number of advantages that can help protect your business from hiring errors that affect your financial bottom line. For example, though your applicant pool may appear to feature applicants with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, if your pool is large, chances are excellent that at least some of those “degrees” will have come from an illegitimate source (e.g., a diploma mill).

With the advent of the internet came a proliferation of diploma mills. These mills aggressively market to a desperate population, and some are willing to purchase their services. In essence, a diploma mill accepts cash in exchange for feigned educational credentials. These can range from a bachelor’s degree to a medical degree and beyond.

The United States Department of Education  has compiled a list of “red flags” regarding the identification of diploma mills, but the mills become more and more sophisticated at eluding detection. Determining whether or not your applicants’ alleged degree is from a legitimate educational entity can require a great deal of research and experience.

Without a thorough pre-employment screening, non-qualified people who are willing to intentionally mislead your company to secure a job may end up on your payroll. In today’s economy, that’s a risk that is simply not worth taking.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help protect your business from avoidable hiring mistakes, and help you ensure that your hiring choices are ones you will not regret.

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