Introduction to this document

Academic qualifications request

Use our letter to check the academic qualifications a prospective employee has provided on their CV or on an application form. Make sure you have obtained a signed consent form to secure the release of documents or information from a third party


As 10% of applicants lie about their academic credentials, it’s worth checking them out, particularly if they seem too good to be true. The best way to do this is to go direct to the educational establishment. Visually checking an individual’s qualification certificates is a good idea but these days it’s easy to fake certificates. You can verify the qualifications yourself, or pay an external organisation to do it. Our Academic Qualifications Request letter is for use where you want to adopt the former approach. You need to send it to the relevant education institution or academic body asking them to confirm that the prospective employee has the academic qualifications they say they have. It’s a straightforward letter which sets out what the academic qualification and grade is and then asks the recipient to complete an attached form requiring a “yes” or “no” answer. Where the answer is “yes”, it then asks them to provide the qualification date. That way, you can check it’s consistent with what the CV or application form says. Where the answer is “no”, it asks the recipient to set out precise details of the academic qualification that the prospective employee does have, together with the date of award. Of course, this might be “none” if the academic qualification has been invented. There’s a final box for additional comments.

Data protection

The Employment Practices Code, made under data protection legislation, states that you should explain to job applicants as early as is reasonably practicable in the recruitment process the nature of your verification process and the methods you intend to use to carry it out, including any external sources that will be used. In addition, where it's necessary to secure the release of documents or information from a third party (as it will be in this case), you should obtain a signed consent form from the applicant, unless consent to their release has been indicated in some other way. Use our Verification of Qualifications Consent Form for this purpose. Don't run checks on everyone you interview though as that’s likely to contravene the data protection principles. Wait until you've made a job offer and then check on your preferred candidate. Make the job offer conditional on proof of stated qualifications - our Offer of Appointment Letter contains this provision. If your investigation produces discrepancies, give the candidate the opportunity to explain and make representations before you make any decisions to withdraw the job offer. Once you’ve received the documents or information from the third party, rely on the processing of them being necessary for the purposes of your legitimate interests, i.e. conducting due diligence on prospective staff and assessing their suitability for employment, as your lawful basis for processing.