Sunday 9 May 2010

The question of the hour: Can we check educational background of the subject and how this can be done in accordance with Russian legislation?

For several years since mid-90th the problem of educational background check of Russian employees is a terrible headache for professional investigators and background screeners. “What’s up, man, what’s the problem with it?” – that’s what we often hear form our international partners and even local HRs and security managers.

The problem has several sides:
1. Fake Higher education Diplomas are available on the black market and even on the Internet. Average price of the fake Diploma is 500 USD; add another 1200 USD and you can even register it in the list of Diplomas of several private or even State Institutes or Universities.
2. There are a lot of small private Institutes in every region of Russia. Sometimes it is a problem to identify the Institute where the Subject got his Diploma.
3. There is no Federal or even local database of Higher education Diplomas.

How we can manage this situation and get reliable data about Subjects’ educational background?
Step 1 Check University or Institute Diplomas database.
Ask your potential employee to make a copy of his Diploma. This copy will be in need when you apply to the University for Validation. Please pay attention that it is not allowed by most State institutes to validate the number of the document without written permission of the Subject and at least a fax copy of his Diploma. It is strange but some institutes can’t trace back their students Diplomas issued in 70-90th years of XX century.
If the reply will be positive there is 80% probability that the Subject was in fact graduated from this institute.
Step 2 Check social networks accounts of the Subject to identify if there are classmates from the same institute in his friends list.
If results of steps 1 and 2 are positive, the probability that the Subject was in fact graduated from this institute is 90%
Step 3 Get in touch with potential classmates of the Subject (it is better to choose some not from his friends list) and ask them if they had studied with the Subject and did he really graduated from the institute.
If results of steps 1, 2 and 3 are positive, the probability that the Subject was in fact graduated from this institute is 99%.

I often see public offers from Russian PIs that they are ready to check educational background of the Subject in two or three days. I can assure you that results of these investigations can’t be accurate or reliable – there are no legal (and even partially legal) databases of Diplomas of governmental or private higher education institutes of Russian Federation.

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