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21st May 2015

Do you check employees' qualifications?

Do you check employees qualificationsOften the recruitment process is viewed as a ‘hold up’. It takes time to advertise a vacancy, shortlist and then interview candidates, and unfortunately there isn’t a quick overnight fix. Then you make the offer of employment, the candidate accepts and the future looks bright, but how many of you check the qualifications of your newest recruits? Often it falls upon a very busy manager or deputy to check that the qualifications are valid. Understandably, operational matters take priority and the service provided is paramount, so checking of the qualifications isn’t always the priority.

I imagine we’ve all seen the tragic headlines this week about events that happened at the Stepping Hill Hospital - BBC article here. Hopefully, there won’t ever be a repeat of this tragedy, but at least there can be measures put in place to prevent anything similar from happening again.

Embellishing qualifications?

Some believe that prospective employees embellish their qualifications when applying for a new position, but actually who does check their qualifications are correct?

A colleague of mine was in a situation where, as part of the recruitment process, he requested candidates to send in copies of their qualifications/certificates. Astoundingly, 50 per cent of candidates chose not to do this and therefore didn’t meet the criteria. Maybe I’m too cynical, but this adds some strength to the belief.

The point is do you check your employees certificates? Are employees ever asked to bring in the original copies so you can make copies of the documents for their HR file? Best practice is that information is requested from employees, so why not start today?

  • Specify your requirements as to the level of certificate/qualification that you require proof of.
  • Request to see original certificates and make copies or scan them.
  • Don’t ask for all certificates, some may not be relevant to their position - just the job specific ones.
  • Set them a deadline of one week to 10 days, this may involve a trip into the loft for the certificates so allow some time.
  • If the certificates don’t arrive, you may wish to give your employee a gentle reminder, or even a stern one.
  • Don’t allow this to be forgotten.

Making practices, and service users, safer

The former chief prosecutor for the North West believes ‘there could be many nurses using fake qualifications in hospital across the UK’. Sadly, it seems that nursing degrees can be forged for as little as £20 from Manila, the capital of the Philippines – link to BBC article here.

Victorino Chua, who was prosecuted on Tuesday 19 May, moved to the UK in 2002. Police discovered he was disciplined for theft prior to his arrival, but this wasn’t mentioned in the documents he brought with him to the UK. He used this information when applying for jobs in nursing homes and hospitals in Greater Manchester and Warrington.

Thankfully the recruitment process has changed in many ways since 2002; it is now very different. By starting to obtain  certificates we can start to make our employment practices, and thus our service users, safer.

Anita Manfredi of Employer Solutions – QCS HR Expert Contributor

Topics: Human Resources

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