Confirming a Top Candidate’s Qualifications

Before entering a job offer in OMNI HR, a hiring department must exercise due diligence by vetting a top candidate’s qualifications as presented during the application and interview process. If attention to this crucial step is disregarded, it can affect compliance with the standards for accreditation and the reputation of a program.

Drill into the topics below for guidance on verifying a Faculty, Staff or OPS candidate’s qualifications.

Faculty Candidates

Verifying Education

  • Original transcripts: Review Faculty Credentialing Policy 3A-2. Official transcripts are required for Faculty hires and should be sent directly to the hiring department for review.
    • Paper transcripts:
      • When the department opens the envelope, they must note on the first page of the transcript that they opened it, sign and date it, and include the envelope along with the official transcripts upon sending them to Human Resources-Employee Data Management.
        • Do not upload paper transcripts to the Smart Onboarding portal.
      • Transcripts issued to the student are only acceptable if they arrived at the department in the original sealed unopened envelope.
    • Electronic transcripts:
      • After the department reviews them, electronic transcripts should be uploaded to the Smart Onboarding portal and must be accompanied by the department’s email receipts (email with access code and the email containing the link to the transcripts). This documents the official chain of custody.
        • They are void if issued directly to the student.
    • International Degrees:
      • The transcript must be evaluated by a certified external agency that provides credential evaluations and must contain a notarized translation. The National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) provides a list of certified external agencies (e.g., World Education Services, Inc. and Josef Silny & Associates, Inc. International Education Consultants).
    • Reference the Faculty Transcript Procedures FAQs for frequently asked questions on obtaining official proof of education.
      • If a department is considering a candidate for a salaried faculty position and their official documentation of terminal degree is not available (e.g., degree has not yet been posted to the transcript, transcript has not yet been received), contact your assigned Recruiter for information on requesting Provisional status.
  • Verifying the authenticity of a transcript: a candidate could attempt to misrepresent themselves and submit documentation from a “diploma mill”; as such, the chair (or Dean in the case of non-departmentalized colleges) is responsible for ensuring the authenticity of the transcript. Per Faculty Credentialing Policy 3A-2, official transcripts must contain all of the following elements:
    • An official seal if used by the issuing institution;
    • Signature of the appropriate authorizing agent;
    • The institution’s official letterhead or stationary;
    • The institution’s watermark or other identifier; and
    • The date of issue.
  • Accreditation: Per the University Job Classification Specifications, the issuing institution must be accredited. The hiring department is responsible for confirming accreditation. Generally, this can be confirmed via an institution’s website or by contacting their Admissions/Registrar’s Office and documenting the information.
  • Highest level degree: Per Faculty Credentialing Policy 3A-2, the highest degree earned is the usual credential and the transcript is the typical evidence for that degree. The transcript must be reviewed to ensure the degree and field of specialization the candidate indicated they possess, was in fact conferred.

Verifying Experience

Before making a hiring recommendation, the committee is to conduct a reference and credential check. The primary purpose of this check is to confirm information obtained from the curriculum vitae, resume, application, or interview. Another reason to conduct the check is to get more information about an applicant’s work ethic, initiative, and performance. 

  • References: References can be checked by way of reviewing and verifying the three letters of recommendation received through the search process as outlined below, or by both calling for references and reviewing the required letters of recommendation.
  • Confidential Letters of Recommendation: At least three signed confidential letters of recommendation must be submitted by the reference writers for review. They can be submitted directly to the hiring department, or via the OMNI HR feature for submitting confidential letters of reference.
    • Originals are preferred, but copies, faxes, and emails with electronic signatures are also acceptable.
    • If there is a question on the content or authenticity of a letter, the hiring manager should contact the reference writer for clarification.
    • Letters should be recent (within the last 18 months) and speak to the candidate’s abilities to perform the position in question.
  • Credential Verification: In addition to the formal degree verification performed by the hiring department later in the process, it is also important to verify a candidate’s publication and academic records in general. We recommend that the search committee chairperson undertake this task for finalists. This can be done by using the internet to:
  • Current or former FSU employees: Additionally, if the candidate is a current or former FSU employee, review the personnel file (contact HR Records at HR-Records@fsu.edu).

Verifying Certification/Licensure Requirements

  • Step 1) Obtain copies of any required license/certification.
  • Step 2) Verify status and validity through applicable government or issuing agency’s website by confirming the license/certification has been issued in the candidate’s name, is valid, in good standing as applicable, and non-expired. If the option to verify the credential online is not available, call the issuing agency, verify the credential via phone, and document the phone conversation.
    • Driver’s License requirements for operating University-owned vehicles: Please review policy OP-C-7-G8, License Requirements for Operating University-Owned Vehicles and the steps to verify a license.
    • Driver’s License requirements for a position requiring use of a personal vehicle: When a position requires the use of a personal vehicle to perform job duties, a copy of the FL Class E or GA Class C Driver’s License must be obtained. Review to ensure it has been issued in the candidate’s name, is the correct class, and is non-expired.
    • Departments requiring post-hire licensure/certification must track, confirm receipt by deadline, and obtain copies of the documentation for the employee’s file. If the candidate fails to obtain the required certification within the specified timeframe, contact Faculty Relations at 850-645-2202 for guidance.

Staff and non-Faculty OPS Candidates

Verifying Education

Documentation:

  • If the position requires a degree, or credits toward degree were used in qualifying a candidate, obtain a copy of diploma or transcripts from the candidate. The hiring department must review the documentation to ensure the degree and major the applicant indicated they possess, was in fact conferred.
  • If the position did not require a degree, nor were credits toward degree used to qualify the candidate, the hiring department must confirm via email with the candidate if they obtained the level of education required of the position (e.g., completion of the ninth grade, high school diploma/equivalent, etc.). Keep the confirmation on file at the department level.

Verifying the authenticity of documentation provided: a candidate could attempt to misrepresent themselves and submit documentation from a “diploma mill”; as such, the hiring department is responsible for ensuring the authenticity of a document. Although official transcripts are typically not required for Staff or OPS positions, the documentation provided should contain the following elements:

  • An official seal if used by the issuing institution;
  • Signature of the appropriate authorizing agent;
  • The institution’s official letterhead or stationary;
  • The institution’s watermark or other identifier; and
  • The date of issue.

Accreditation: Certain Staff positions outlined in the University Job Classification Specifications call for accredited colleges/programs. The hiring department is responsible for confirming accreditation. Generally, this can be done via an institution’s website or by contacting their Admissions/Registrar’s Office and documenting the information.

Verifying Experience

References: Per Employment & Recruitment policy 4-OP-C-7-B, conduct at least three professional reference checks to confirm the information provided by the applicant and to obtain an evaluation of the applicant's past job performance as it relates to the required knowledge, skills, and abilities.

  • Advise the candidate prior to calling for references.
  • References should include the candidate's current place of employment and should be conducted with supervisors, versus personal references or co-workers.
  • Compare the candidate’s work experience against the list of references (if provided). If entries do not match up, ask the candidate to provide additional contact information or clarification.
  • Complete pre-employment references using the Employer Reference Check Form.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the protocol in the Staff Search Training - Tips for Conducting Reference and Credential Checks prior to contacting references.
    • Completed reference checks are to be kept in the department hiring file; however, per policy, Human Resources may at any time request a department to provide copies of references checks for review prior to making a job offer, or anytime thereafter.

Current or former FSU employees: Additionally, if the candidate is a current or former FSU employee, review the personnel file and leave/attendance records (contact HR Records at HR-Records@fsu.edu).

Verifying Certification/Licensure Requirements

Step 1: Obtain copies of any required license/certification.

Step 2: Verify status and validity through applicable government or issuing agency’s website by confirming the license/certification has been issued in the candidate’s name, is valid, in good standing as applicable, and non-expired. If the option to verify the credential online is not available, call the issuing agency, verify the credential via phone, and document the phone conversation.

  • Driver’s License requirements for operating University-owned vehicles: Please review policy OP-C-7-G8, License Requirements for Operating University-Owned Vehicles and the steps to verify a license.
  • Driver’s License requirements for a position requiring use of a personal vehicle: When a position requires the use of a personal vehicle to perform job duties, a copy of the FL Class E or GA Class C Driver’s License must be obtained. Review to ensure it has been issued in the candidate’s name, is the correct class, and is non-expired.
  • Departments requiring post-hire licensure/certification must track, confirm receipt by deadline, and obtain copies of the documentation for the employee’s file. If the candidate fails to obtain the required certification within the specified timeframe, contact Employee Labor Relations at 850-644-6475 for guidance.

Questions? Contact your assigned Recruiter.

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