Hiring Employees with Diploma Mill Degrees


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. These companies offer degrees for completing courses or for life experience in a short amount of time, without actually providing in-depth education.

Regardless of whether prospective employees unwittingly 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 you have employees with one of these degrees also means that you then must spend time and money interviewing and screening other candidates to replace them.

There are certain signs to watch for to know if a job applicant earned a legitimate degree or a fraudulent one from a diploma mill.

  1. There are certain signs to watch for, you can look up the school that offer 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 offer 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.

  1. 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 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, for example, this should raise a red flag.

Employment screening should include education verifications, which can help reduce your risk of hiring employees with diploma mill degrees. Doing these screenings will help 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. 

Through the Michigan Chamber of Commerce partnership with LaborChex, members get discounted pricing to employment background screening services. To learn more, visit www.michamber.com/background-checks or call 1-800-880-0366. 

Contributed by Ricky Rayborn of LaborChex.