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  #1  
Old 11-02-2009, 02:56 PM
Mr. Lahey Mr. Lahey is offline
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How do employers verify the education of potential hires?

I have never once had an employer ask to see a copy of my high school diploma or college degree. Do employers even verify this information? How would they do it? Will a school give out your information if they are asked?
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  #2  
Old 11-02-2009, 03:03 PM
pan1 pan1 is offline
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You can call a school and verify that a person graduated in a given class.

Form applications often have a clause to give a potential employer the right to confirm the claims on the application. This will allow the employer to get more details than a graduating year.
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  #3  
Old 11-02-2009, 03:07 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
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I'm not so sure they will even release the fact that you graduated (especially in a certain year as that would tend to identify your age) absent a waiver. But I don't know for sure.

Most employers probably don't bother checking educational references - there's no need. If you are lying, and you suck then you'll get exposed fast enough. If you are lying but you rock, then they have no need to can you and they have a indefinitely long excuse to fire you if they ever need one.
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Old 11-02-2009, 03:17 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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As stated, they don't usually. I have never verified facts myself even after interviewing final candidates and nobody else did either. These were for mega-corps. However, it is sometimes done by HR when there needs to be a layoff. Lying on your resume is a good way to get fired without unemployment benefits even years after the fact.
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  #5  
Old 11-02-2009, 03:20 PM
meanoldman meanoldman is offline
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Recall the case a couple of years ago with the Director of Admissions or some such at a prestigious university. By all accounts, she had been doing an absolutely stellar job. Was considered to be an expert in her field. A guest speaker and all that. Was drummed out (after years of service) when they found out she did not have the master's degree she claimed.
It seemed to me that those posting in favor that she be removed were mostly doing so simply because she did not possess the degree, not so much that she had lied.

I am of the opinion that if you can demonstrate proficiency at your job, I do not care what degree, if any, you have. Can you actually do the work?
And conversely, having a degree does not guarantee fitness for the job.

Then again, I majored in philosophy.
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  #6  
Old 11-02-2009, 03:22 PM
pan1 pan1 is offline
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When in management posititions I always checked graduation records if everything else on the application/resume seemed a fit for the job.

I never caught anyone lying.

My father, who owned a decent sized company, also did this. He only ever caught one person lying but he had the guy come in for an interview anyway, just to tell him that he'd been caught.

It's probably not worth the risk to lie on a resume. Fluff via language is expected, but an outright lie will cost you too much when discovered.
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  #7  
Old 11-02-2009, 03:26 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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I should add that have been asked casually in interviews about my school mascots (Tulane and Dartmouth) and the culture there and what it was like. Lots of people are interested in New Orleans in particular. I don't know if it was just casual conversation are if they were trying to expose me. I wasn't lying so it was easy and I could chat all day about it.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 11-02-2009 at 03:28 PM..
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  #8  
Old 11-02-2009, 03:26 PM
ftg ftg is offline
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Checking is surprisingly uncommon.

Some schools consider graduation lists public info and in those cases one could theoretically track down and verify that someone with the same name graduated from said school. But what if it's at all a common name? What if the applicant just searched for someone with the same name on such a list and started saying that was them?

A university typically provides two options for proof: A simple letter that states the person graduated with a degree at a certain time and the full transcript. The first can usually be sent directly to the desired employer.

My experience is in academia, where lying about degrees is a Big Issue and is not tolerated. But I was only asked once to provide transcripts (and I had been there several years already). So I had the transcripts sent to me, in a sealed envelope, which I then handed directly to the provost's secretary.

Once I left academia, I was sometimes asked for transcripts while applying but those were for research lab type places that needed clearances and such. I don't know why they wanted 30 year old transcripts. The confirmation of degree letter would have been adequate. GPA's and courses taken mean nothing after just a few years, especially in Computer Science.

At one place I was at, one guy claimed to be getting a PhD from a Very Famous Person soon and wanted to go from a lab assistant to full faculty. We all knew it was baloney but had a very hard time convincing the Chair to check into it. He wanted to hire the guy and didn't want to hear anything that might ruin it. People had to get really forceful with the Chair before he backed down. So I suspect there's a lot of people that have phony degrees even in universities.

Of course, once in a while a university goes belly up and suddenly the number of "alumni" of such a school soars. Never ever trust someone claiming a degree from a closed school.

For new grads, of course employers are keen on getting info via recommendations and such straight from the faculty. That keeps the number of abuses at that level down. But after a few years out, no one asks the old profs anymore.

And the actual diplomas mean nothing. You can order realistic looking diplomas for a few bucks. No one cares about those at all.
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  #9  
Old 11-02-2009, 03:29 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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When I have applied for government or educational jobs, they've insisted that I forward a copy of my transcripts -- from 35 years ago.

In fact, it's happened so often that I finally scanned my transcripts and have a pdf of them. If they ask for a certified copy, I can request that from my alma mater.
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  #10  
Old 11-02-2009, 03:39 PM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is offline
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I've had to supply transcripts, although I should note than in those instances it was because of state regulatory requirements, not necessarily diligence on the part of the employer.
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  #11  
Old 11-02-2009, 04:19 PM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
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The register of graduates from my university is publicly available. It shows the graduate's full name, date of graduation and degree.
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  #12  
Old 11-02-2009, 04:35 PM
Shinna Minna Ma Shinna Minna Ma is offline
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I am currently a project manager, and the people under me are all supposed to have college degrees. We do check each and every one, and some people have been let go - instantly - when we discovered they did not have the degree.
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  #13  
Old 11-02-2009, 04:48 PM
GargoyleWB GargoyleWB is offline
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I'm in the engineering field, and my company's HR does check degrees as standard practice. I imagine that it is liability protection, if a widget breaks and kills someone and it is found that it was designed by a business major, that would be bad.

I've seen many new-hires delayed because their school was pokey about responding or confirming, or that had their married name cause delays and confusion.
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  #14  
Old 11-03-2009, 07:41 AM
Enright3 Enright3 is offline
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To all the people who say it isn't checked... that just isn't true. You're guilty of the "if it didn't happen to me in 30 years, it must not happen to anyone" syndrome. I think it depends largely two things. 1) on the position itself, and 2) the culture of hiring organization. At a previous company an acquaintance of mine got fired for saying he had a degree, when in reality he never quite finished. He was fired on the spot. The funny thing is that a degree wasn't even required for the job. It was an intro programmers job.
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  #15  
Old 11-03-2009, 08:00 AM
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg View Post
At one place I was at, one guy claimed to be getting a PhD from a Very Famous Person soon and wanted to go from a lab assistant to full faculty . . .
(Bolding mine) I'm confused here. I thought it was the school that gave out PhDs. Or did you mean it was the guy's advisor? Or is it just a typo?
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  #16  
Old 11-03-2009, 08:15 AM
joebuck20 joebuck20 is offline
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Originally Posted by ftg View Post
Checking is surprisingly uncommon.

Some schools consider graduation lists public info and in those cases one could theoretically track down and verify that someone with the same name graduated from said school. But what if it's at all a common name? What if the applicant just searched for someone with the same name on such a list and started saying that was them?

A university typically provides two options for proof: A simple letter that states the person graduated with a degree at a certain time and the full transcript. The first can usually be sent directly to the desired employer.
The one time I had to request a transcript from my alma mater, they required I give them my Social Security number, so, at least at my school, it's not enough to just have the name.
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  #17  
Old 11-03-2009, 08:36 AM
ftg ftg is offline
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Originally Posted by joebuck20 View Post
The one time I had to request a transcript from my alma mater, they required I give them my Social Security number, so, at least at my school, it's not enough to just have the name.
It is if the name's all the employer checks.

There's a paragraph break between the two topics I was discussing. Getting a transcript was a new paragraph -> new topic.

DesertDog: Not a typo. This is a common terminology in academia.

Last edited by ftg; 11-03-2009 at 08:37 AM..
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  #18  
Old 11-03-2009, 09:28 AM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
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As part of the US visa process I had to get British degree validated by a third party authority (to say basically this is a valid degree from a real university, and was approximately equivalent to the same degree in the US).
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  #19  
Old 11-03-2009, 11:41 AM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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Many companies do verify education. I used to do it. Many big schools have their records accessible on-line through services like National Student Clearinghouse.
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  #20  
Old 11-03-2009, 11:49 AM
Blaster Master Blaster Master is offline
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I've been working for a government contractor for about 5.5 years and among the paperwork that I had to do on the first day was something on which I verified the education that was listed on my resumé and signed a release that would give them permission to contact the school and verify my degree. I don't know if they actually followed through or not, but it makes sense that they would verify that since my job requires both a degree and a security clearance, so lying about either would make me unsuited for the job.
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  #21  
Old 11-03-2009, 11:51 AM
hajario hajario is online now
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I'm an engineer and all places I have worked check. I am all for it. I worked extremely hard to get my engineering degrees and anyone who lies about getting one does not deserve to be employed.

At my current company one guy was about to be hired and wasn't because he lied about getting his degree. He claimed to have gotten it at a university in Korea in the 1960's. He'd been lying about it for decades. He never thought anyone would check but we did and he didn't get the job. The guy has been in his field forever and would have gotten the job had he been honest.
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  #22  
Old 11-03-2009, 12:03 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Originally Posted by meanoldman View Post
Recall the case a couple of years ago with the Director of Admissions or some such at a prestigious university. By all accounts, she had been doing an absolutely stellar job. Was considered to be an expert in her field. A guest speaker and all that. Was drummed out (after years of service) when they found out she did not have the master's degree she claimed.
Marilee Jones, formerly dean of admissions at MIT. She claimed to have degrees from Albany Medical College, Union College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, but had no degrees whatsoever.
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  #23  
Old 11-03-2009, 12:19 PM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
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With a degree, and a dozen or so years of engineering experience I had an employer ask to see my high school diploma when I hired on. Pretty much just luck that I knew where to find it. That should have been a clue, as that place turned out to be soul-sucking shithole of a work environment.
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  #24  
Old 11-03-2009, 12:31 PM
Mops Mops is offline
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One thing that I wonder about reading the responses above (which obviously refer to US practices):

I can understand trusting someone on the fact of having a degree/a high school diploma etc., but what about the grades? It would have been unthinkable for me, on my applications, in Germany, for a first job after university, not to include my full degree document (with grades on all subjects at university) as well as my full Abitur (secondary school) document (with grades in all subjects in the last years and in the final exam). (we get two documents after secondary and tertiary education - one one-page document saying you passed the degree/the high school exam, which you hardly ever need, and one with all grades, that you need to enclose a copy of with every job application).

Are US employers not interested in grades, and specific subjects taken at school/in a degree program, when screening job applications?
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  #25  
Old 11-03-2009, 12:37 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Originally Posted by tschild View Post
Are US employers not interested in grades, and specific subjects taken at school/in a degree program, when screening job applications?
There is an old joke...

What do you call the guy who graduates last in his class in medical school.

Doctor
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  #26  
Old 11-03-2009, 12:49 PM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
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Originally Posted by tschild View Post
Are US employers not interested in grades, and specific subjects taken at school/in a degree program, when screening job applications?
This applies only to an engineering career track, with which I am familiar:

First job out of college, and early in a career, US employers typically want to see university transcripts, at least in engineering. You typically supply a "unofficial" copy when you interview, and they request one directly from the school if/when they decide to hire you. When I was interviewing just out of school, I also made up a summary sheet, sorted by subject, rather than by semester....I think that got me a couple of extra offers, as managers could see what they wanted to know at a glance rather than spending a half-hour weeding through the actual transcript.

10 years later work experience becomes much more important. At that point employers typically take your word, or check with the school that you have the degree...not so much interest in transcripts. They typically DO confirm your employment history back 10 years or so.

It may be that it is cheaper and easier to fire a bad employee in the US than in Europe, so the Europeans tend to be more careful about hiring. Certainly it is much less common in the US for an employee to spend a lifetime with one employer....so they aren't really stuck with them.
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  #27  
Old 11-03-2009, 12:54 PM
hajario hajario is online now
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Kevbo is correct in my experience.
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  #28  
Old 11-03-2009, 12:55 PM
pan1 pan1 is offline
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Originally Posted by drachillix View Post
There is an old joke...

What do you call the guy who graduates last in his class in medical school.

Doctor

In the military(Army, USAF, Marines) the answer is "Captain"

Quote:
Are US employers not interested in grades, and specific subjects taken at school/in a degree program, when screening job applications?
Except in jobs where extreme higher math is required (Actual science lab jobs) or engineering...most people accept that college isn't about anything more than the last few years of reaching maturity.

We assume that a busines degree shows you know the concepts of income, debt, assets and profit. An IT degree means you understand logic. We assume an English degree means you can distinguish good dope from crappy cut stuff.

But a business degree won't teach you the specific business model your job will require. An IT degree won't teach you the tools/languages you're really going to use for your whole career. And an English Degree won't guarantee you can get a novel published.
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  #29  
Old 11-03-2009, 12:56 PM
Kobal2 Kobal2 is offline
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Originally Posted by drachillix View Post
There is an old joke...

What do you call the guy who graduates last in his class in medical school.

Doctor
Which in turn reminds me of a George Carlin bit : Somewhere in the country there has to be the absolute worst doctor in America. And somebody has an appointment with him as I speak.
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  #30  
Old 11-03-2009, 01:43 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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I've experienced about 50/50 in never checking vs xeroxing diplomas. One place (who also xeroxed diplomas) had me send grades from the school.

Last edited by Superhal; 11-03-2009 at 01:44 PM..
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  #31  
Old 11-03-2009, 05:13 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr. Lahey View Post
I have never once had an employer ask to see a copy of my high school diploma or college degree. Do employers even verify this information? How would they do it? Will a school give out your information if they are asked?
1. The majority of employers do not verify education, or if they do, ask only for a copy of a diploma, which of course would be trivially easy to fake. And I've seen companies that didn't verify engineering degrees, too, though checking's more common there.

2. However, those that do simply have to call the school. The school will confirm if John Smith graduated with diploma ABC in Year XXXX.
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  #32  
Old 11-03-2009, 05:24 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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I knew a guy from my alma mater who sent a fake transcript to a prospective employer. (The transcripts were printed on the big laser printer in the computing center, using a known font.) When it appeared that he was going to get caught when the employer tried to verify the transcript, he called them and said that as he was applying for a job with the CIA, it was a matter of national security that they destroy his job application and all related materials.

Later he was writing to a female friend from prison. (Not sure why he was there, but he was colorful, to say the least.)
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  #33  
Old 11-03-2009, 07:50 PM
Epimetheus Epimetheus is offline
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I was thinking of this very question when I was re-doing my resume and was wondering why most resume guides didn't have me include phone numbers, addresses or supervisors on previous work experience like most applications. (I ended up putting supervisor/phone number anyway).
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  #34  
Old 11-03-2009, 10:10 PM
joebuck20 joebuck20 is offline
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How long do universities keep transcripts on file anyway? I figure at some point, after maybe 80 or 90 years they would assume everyone who graduated in a certain year would have passed on (or would probably have no need for a transcript anymore) and would want to clean house. Or do they just keep them indefinitely? Would it be possible to look up somebody's records who graduated in the 1890s?

Last edited by joebuck20; 11-03-2009 at 10:11 PM..
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  #35  
Old 11-04-2009, 05:20 AM
MsRobyn MsRobyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joebuck20 View Post
How long do universities keep transcripts on file anyway? I figure at some point, after maybe 80 or 90 years they would assume everyone who graduated in a certain year would have passed on (or would probably have no need for a transcript anymore) and would want to clean house. Or do they just keep them indefinitely? Would it be possible to look up somebody's records who graduated in the 1890s?
I think it depends on the university. I know my alma mater keeps records going back at least 40 years; one of my college/grad school classmates came back after a fairly lengthy hiatus. The uni not only had his transcripts, they had the catalog that had been in effect when he first attended and had to graduate him under the requirements that were in effect in 1971-72, when he first started. The registrar and department chair had a hell of a time finding equivalent substitute courses for ones that had been discontinued years ago.

I do know that there is a registry of graduates going back to the beginning, which is helpful to genealogists. I don't know that it includes transcripts, however.
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  #36  
Old 11-05-2009, 08:27 AM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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However, those that do simply have to call the school. The school will confirm if John Smith graduated with diploma ABC in Year XXXX.
If an employer is going to verify education and other information, they will have the applicant sign a waiver saying they understand the checks are going to be made.
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  #37  
Old 11-05-2009, 08:29 AM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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Originally Posted by joebuck20 View Post
How long do universities keep transcripts on file anyway? I figure at some point, after maybe 80 or 90 years they would assume everyone who graduated in a certain year would have passed on (or would probably have no need for a transcript anymore) and would want to clean house. Or do they just keep them indefinitely? Would it be possible to look up somebody's records who graduated in the 1890s?
I did once verify the high school graduation of someone who severed during WW2....
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  #38  
Old 11-05-2009, 09:05 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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tschild writes:

> Are US employers not interested in grades, and specific subjects taken at
> school/in a degree program, when screening job applications?

I think it depends a lot on the employer. My experience is that at every level, the institutions that I was applying to wanted to know my grades (and other things), because accepting me was dependent on how well I had done up to that level. The colleges I went to wanted to know my high school grades (and SAT scores and teacher recommendations and various other things) because they had many other applicants. The grad schools I went to wanted to know my college grades (and professor recommendations and various other things) because they had many other applicants. My employer wanted to know my grad school grades (and other things) because they had many other applicants. In each case, I was the one who had to make sure that they got the grades. I had to ask my high school, my colleges, and my grad schools to send a transcript of my grades to the places that I was applying to. I had to sign a form allowing those institutions to see my grades and I had to pay some money for the cost of printing and mailing my transcript. Without my signature, they wouldn't have been allowed to see my grades.
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  #39  
Old 11-05-2009, 06:27 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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I think it depends when you graduated. For instance, I graduated in 1984 and they didn't even use social security numbers back then. We were assigned a number and the last time anyone wanted to check my records was in 1991, and even then I had a hard time getting it 'cause they demanded my number and I couldn't remember it, so the employer had to call me up and I had to go down to the campus and verify who I was and it was a long process.

Now it'd probably be tied to your social security number. But back then it wasn't

My degree has nothing to do with my field so in normal times if anyone would ask my for my transcripts, I probably would just tell them to forget it and go to the next job. It's not worth it.

Now with today's economy it would be, but I have a degree in physics, and everything I learned in physics is so outdated anyway any job that required my use of physics wouldn't want me anyway.

I think the older you are the less likely they'd check. And the more your degree has to do with your job the more likely they are to check. I still get applications that demand my grade school on them. Does anyone check that?

When I was in H/R the only way I'd check an education reference was if they were young just out of college or high school and didn't have enough work experience, then I'd check that as an alternative to work experience.

But really a college degree is only important for most jobs to get your first job. After that employers want to know what you can do, they don't care what your GPA was.

Last edited by Markxxx; 11-05-2009 at 06:28 PM..
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