A University of Chicago report defines academic fraud as a, “deliberate effort to deceive and includes plagiarism, fabrication of data, misrepresentation of historical sources, tampering with evidence, selective suppression of unwanted or unacceptable results, and theft of ideas.”
Academic fraud is not a new phenomenon. It can be dated back to thousands of years ago and is even discussed and represented in books from the Ming-dynasty. In the 20th century, it was estimated that up to two-thirds of college students cheated at some point during the course of their education. However, as technology allows academic fraudsters to be more creative, the issue itself persists. The impact this age-old problem has on individuals and organizations can be detrimental if left unaddressed.
A 2007 study highlighted that 56% of MBA students admitted to cheating, which begs the question: where are these people 14 years later and are they still cheating as surgeons, engineers, educators, lawyers or business leaders? Notorious academic fraud scandals such as Akash Mahara who duped the Ivy League, highlight the need for negligent, outdated or inefficient admission processes to update and strengthen.
Not only does academic fraud taint a university or institution with which the student is associated, but it also places future employers, colleagues, peers and researchers in highly uncomfortable positions affecting finance, careers, resources, reputations and credibility.
The academic world has moved online as many locations have shut in response to the pandemic. Many institutions now offer their courses online to accommodate their global students and to normalize class delivery. As academic fraud persists, let’s discuss six ways that your organization can reduce hiring risks.
1. Qualification Legitimacy
With technology, recruiters can connect with candidates from all four corners of the world. Not every named institution we read on CVs or resumés will be familiar, so it’s essential to understand whether the academic institution is legitimate or not.
Globally, there are more than 3,200 diploma mills and unaccredited universities and more than 300 counterfeit diploma websites ‘awarding’ up to 500 fake Ph.D. degrees monthly! What began as a worrying practice is now a multibillion-dollar industry. The extent of this is immense and the damage it causes globally is immeasurable; fraudsters gain instant degrees from unaccredited institutions in exchange for a fee, regardless of attendance. An unqualified candidate entering your hiring process is certainly not a risk worth taking.
To combat this, your admissions team need to be on top of the growing list of known diploma mills and fake universities. This can either be undertaken internally, or by employing the services of a global verification company who will be well aware of which supposed ‘education’ institutions to steer clear of.
2. Is Your Candidate Who They Say They Are?
When conducting pre-employment background checks, it’s crucial to verify your candidate’s identity. Asking for proof that an applicant is precisely who they say they are stops employment fraud in its tracks, saves time and hiring costs. Using technology-driven identity verification as a component in your hiring process significantly reduces the risks and costs of fraudulent employees. Instant results allow recruiters to move on to the next steps in hiring the perfect candidate for their organization.
3. Remote Hiring Strategy
Conducting telephone or audio-only interviews doesn’t entirely level up to the in-person interview experience many companies were once used to. While having a remote recruiting process in place is essential, it must be conducted effectively. It allows recruiters to see their candidate, read their (upper) body language, get a better sense of who they’re talking to and ensures that they are the same person who submitted the job application.
4. Don’t Trust, Verify.
Even if an applicant legitimately attended an academic institution, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their admission or grades were legitimately obtained. In 2019, the FBI charged more than 50 people with bribery, money laundering and document fabrication to unfairly get students admitted to elite colleges. Notable institutions tied up in the scandal include Yale, Stanford and UCLA. When requesting academic verification, engaging with institutions that securely store student records as verified digital credentials encrypted with blockchain technology so the records cannot be tampered with, is best practice. Overlooking this mandatory element of the verification process could cost your company dearly.
5.Communicate Expectations and Processes
Communicating your organization’s hiring process expectations and procedures is another way to repel any fraudsters trying to get in. Do this early on, so anyone thinking of scamming you would think twice. If a fraudster knows what your organization expects and that includes conducting identity and document verification, then they are likely to bow out from your process. You want to attract genuine candidates and repel dishonest ones.
6.Engage with Verified Candidates
Using databases of pre-verified candidates to source your next hire, such as TrueProfile.io Recruiting, is a wise move. Not only are you assured that your candidates are who they say they are, but their documents, good standing, credentials, licenses, work experience, etc., are already verified. This is very beneficial to recruiters looking to expedite the hiring process as filling specific roles can take up to 6 months. Engaging with verified candidates shows that their academic history is genuine, creates trust for both parties and mitigates academic fraud or other forms of fraud that will taint your organization.
If academic fraud is something you’re keen to avoid during the hiring process, then TrueProfile.io can help. What are you interested in?
– Hiring pre-verified candidates? Sign up for your TrueProfile.io Recruiting 7-day FREE trial here
– Verifying a new employee? Contact a member of our team via email@example.com