Diploma Mills and How to Recognize Them

Finding and hiring an employee with a college degree does not guarantee that your company is getting someone who has the right educational background and skills for the job. Unfortunately, there are many questionable companies, known as diploma mills, which offer degrees for completing courses in a short amount of time without actually providing in-depth education.

Problems with Diploma Mills for Employers

Diploma mills target those who are looking to get a degree quickly or with minimal effort. Some individuals with a degree from one of these companies are unaware they have been scammed by a diploma mill. Others, however, are aware and assume employers won’t notice. Regardless of how the prospective employee got a degree from a diploma mill, hiring them could have negative effects on your company.

When you hire employees with diploma mill degrees, this can reflect poorly on your company. These employees can be highly unqualified for their position, which could put your customers or clients and even other employees at risk. For example, an employee with a finance or accounting degree from a diploma mill could end up causing major financial issues for customers or your own company. Your company’s reputation could also be harmed by the actions of an employee with a degree that is not legitimate. Finding out later on you have employees with one of these degrees also means you then have to spend time and money interviewing and screening qualified candidates to replace them.

How to Recognize a Diploma Mill Degree

How do you know for certain if a job applicant earned a legitimate degree or a fraudulent one from a diploma mill? There are certain signs to watch for, and you can also look up the school that offered the degree to see if it has proper accreditation. Keep in mind that it’s not always easy to tell just by looking at the name of the school. Check the searchable database that the U.S. Department of Education offers in order to verify that the school listed on a prospective employee’s resume is properly accredited. Diploma mills often claim that they are accredited, but this is typically done through accreditation companies that are not legitimate.

Another sign to watch for is the timeline listed on the education section of a job applicant’s resume. Diploma mills provide degrees in very short amounts of time, such as weeks or months. For a legitimate degree, students typically need to complete at least two years for an associate’s degree, four years for a bachelor’s degree and around two years or more for advanced degrees.

The education section should also have degrees listed in the correct order. If a job applicant lists a high school degree followed immediately by a master’s degree rather than a bachelor’s degree, this should raise a red flag.

How to Defend Your Company From Diploma Mills

Employment screening should include education verifications, which can help reduce your risk of hiring employees with diploma mill degrees. Having these screenings done helps ensure that you hire job applicants who have taken the time to earn a legitimate degree from a properly accredited college or university. This can provide you with peace of mind that these employees are qualified for their position and have the right knowledge for the job.

LaborChex offers screenings that can help lower your risk of hiring employees with a questionable educational background. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help ensure that you hire employees who have the right education for the job.