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July 7, 2016

Academic Checks: Confirming Professional Association Memberships

Employee Screening

Most job applications these days include some form of academic credential verifications. At the very least, you will want to see certificates or some form of documentary proof that your prospective candidate has the skills and credentials they say they do. Many Australian companies take employee screening further by contacting professors or schools to do a background check on a shortlisted candidate, particularly if they are recent graduates.

While this can all paint a detailed picture of the suitability of a candidate, however, it may not give you the full one. That’s because, in many careers and areas, additional certifications and memberships are required to practice or work in a particular field. Here’s what you need to know about checking those credentials.

Find Out What Is Necessary

When you hire a candidate for a position outside your field or which you aren’t well versed in, it’s a good idea to find out what type of mandatory certifications and memberships candidates need to work in that field. In many cases these may be voluntary, but there are often compulsory industry bodies as well.

In some instances these may not be a strict requirement. For example, someone who isn’t practicing as a lawyer may be required to maintain different certifications than one who is, so find out the specifics for the job you are hiring for.

Get Your Candidate’s Full Names

Often, professional organizations can have tens of thousands of members. Occasionally they may even have more than one member with the same name. In many cases finding out a middle initial, or even asking candidates for a member number, can help you to confirm that you’re looking at the right information.

Approach Directly

Once you know who to contact, and whose information you are querying, approach the organization directly rather than relying on online information. Although it’s rare these days, organizations may not update their member lists online as frequently as they should, so they may still have outdated information on their site. It’s always best to send a direct query, particularly if the membership is a mandatory one.

Query Strange Information

Some professional organizations will keep lapsed members or members not in good standing on their member lists, but list them as such. This may look bad but it’s not always an indication of impropriety. It may well be something as simple as unpaid member dues.

Unless there is a reason for this type of anomaly, be sure to ask before you make a decision.

A Great Part of Good Screening

Verifying professional memberships and credentials are definitely a big part of professional employee screening. There are many more layers to a comprehensive and thorough employee screening though, including criminal and credit checks and more.

If you are hiring for high level, professional roles, then it’s a good idea to send a little more time and take a little more effort to check as many facts and details as possible. It will certainly pay off in the long run!



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