SKILLS OVER QUALIFICATIONS
Ms Soh said that more employers are also conducting case study assessments in their first round of interviews to better assess their candidates’ technical competency.
“As much as candidates claim to have completed certain courses (eg. advanced Excel, data analytics, SQL, Python), it doesn’t mean that they would be efficient or skilled in applying these on the job,” she added.
“There were also some candidates who did well during the face-to-face interview but did not pass the technical case study assessment, and were not offered the role.”
Mr Vinay Dua, managing director of CareerBuilder Singapore, concurred that more employers are shifting their priorities toward skills “instead of being fixated on qualifications”.
He also recommended that employers hire a background screening company. While the company has not encountered cases of fake educational qualifications, it has come across “a few” in its international hubs, he said.
“Our strict background checks have been effective in filtering out such individuals,” he added.
Aside from requiring candidates to undergo assessments to test their skills and knowledge proficiency, employers can ask them technical questions during the interview to ensure they have the required knowledge level, Ms Teo from ManpowerGroup said.
However, she noted that not all companies will do due diligence because of reasons like urgently needing to fill a position or tight competition for talent.
“Some companies may even skip the verification step because the process can be time-consuming,” she said.
In most cases that surfaced in the courts here, the offenders’ crimes were discovered when their prospective employers checked directly with educational institutes.
In 2020, a man was fined S$4,000 after securing a teaching job at an international school in Singapore by submitting a forged NUS computer engineering degree certificate.
He had downloaded an image of the NUS certificate online and used Photoshop to insert his name. He was, in fact, a former student but had been dismissed from the course.
When an HR manager asked him to sign a verification of certificate authenticity form, he hesitated, then declared a few days later that he did not complete his final-year project. The manager then checked with NUS and he was fired from his new role.