Legality, privacy and verifying a college degree
Hiring Tips by Donald Burleson
In the competitive world of
Information Technology, resume fraud is rampant and it never
ceases to amaze me how many unscrupulous job candidates will
fabricate a college education. I've seen so many fake
MBA's and illiterate people who list degrees that it's prudent
for anyone to verify any and all claims of a college education.
Spotting diploma mill universities
It's not always easy to spot fake degrees. I?ve been
working with one crumbum who got his PhD from the notorious
LaSalle University of Mandeville Louisiana, one of the worst
diploma mills in America! I was not until I checked his
resume that I discovered his fraud!
Founded by scammer James Kirk (no relation to Captain
Kirk of Star Trek), LaSalle University gave out hundreds of baloney degrees
shortly before he went to prison for mail fraud, listed hundreds of
companies that they said had accepted and
paid for their degrees.
?La Salle University in Louisiana, is a notorious degree
mill that was shut down by federal authorities after a raid of its offices
in 1995. Its founder, James Kirk,
served more than four years in federal prison for mail fraud and tax
I?ve now learned to look-up degrees and not take anyone
at face value anymore, a sad commentary on the lying scum who send me
resumes every day . . .
Background checks and credentials
Routine background check services offer public details that can
shed light on the personal integrity of a computer job
- Court Records
- While companies have always checked for criminal
histories, many are now pursuing other public records for
evidence of moral turpitude. These include divorce cases
and civil litigation.
- Credit history
- Companies routinely perform credit checks
seeking evidence of dishonesty and disregard for obligations such as late
- College degree - You can quickly
verify if your job applicant graduated.
Why verify a degree?
Long gone are the days where the
shame and embarrassment of lying about a degree would prevent
cheaters, and it's critical to verify the academic degrees of
anyone who claims to be an authority on any subject. The influx of
fake degrees on resume's in the IT
profession is due to several factors:
Expanding demand - As the need for
computer professionals outstripped supply, desperate companies were forced
to lower their hiring standards. For example, companies who used to
required newbies to be graduates from AACSB accredited universities were now
forced to entertain applicants from community colleges.
No barriers to entry - Unlike other
professions that require licensing and certification (e.g. Engineers,
Accountants, Architects), anyone can hang out a shingle proclaiming
themselves to be a computer expert.
Given these market conditions,
fly-by-night computer "colleges" sprang-up everywhere,
enticing marginal blue-collar workers with the promise of a
well-paid professional lifestyle. Offshore diploma mills
sprang-up on the web, offering instant degrees, complete with a
telephone answering service disguised as a Registrars office,
all of this with the intent to deceive HR departments when
verifying a college degree.
The lucrative lifestyle of an IT profession attracts thousands of
Verifying a college degree
In many countries you are free to
verify the credentials of any computer professional, even if
they are not applying for a job. Credibility on the web is
a serious issue, and many netizens will telephone universities
registrar offices to verify claims of advanced degrees.
You can also use web sites to
verify a college degree for a small fee.
Verifying a college degree is
especially problematic for foreigners, some of whom count on the
HR departments inability to speak a foreign tongue. Many
HR departments automatically discard resume's with foreign
degrees because some diploma mills set-up a fake registrars
office to verify graduation from phantom schools.
For more details on verifying
college degrees and credentials, see the books "Conducting
the Programmer Job Interview" and "Win
your Computer Dream Job".