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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The register of graduates from my university is publicly available. It shows the graduate’s full name, date of graduation and degree.

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.

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.

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.

(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?

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.

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).

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.

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.