A recent discussion I had reminded me of an event in the past. I have always wondered if I should have said something to the students.

I was looking to hire an entry level IT tech and turned to the local for-profit IT college. They sent me a number of candidates that had recently graduated, or were about to.

I interviewed many candidates from the school and I was shocked at how unqualified they were. I am well aware of what these candidates absolutely should know, as in the past I taught A+ certification. These students couldn't answer the most basic of IT questions.

I really wanted to tell the candidates after their train-wreck of interviews that they are in no way qualified for an entry level IT position and I couldn't comprehend how they could have graduated from college. However, I kept my opinions to myself and thanked them for coming and informing them we were looking for someone more qualified.

I spoke to the employment representative at the school who finds students jobs and informed her of what I had seen. She truly and genuinely seemed outraged that the school would allow students to advance and graduate who were so poorly educated. However, I never heard from her again.

While I am under no obligation to say anything, is there an ethical or moral obligation to inform the students that their school failed them at best, or at worst ripped them off? The fact it still bugs me makes me think I should have said something.

  • and might well lead to a lawsuit for defamation and loss of income ...
    – Mawg
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 11:07
  • What makes you think that the students should be A+ certification qualified? Does your job description specify A+ certification quality skills as a requirement? Is the school's objective to make sure graduates are A+ certification qualified or are they teaching a more well-rounded education? Why even bring up A+ certification when they can't even answer the most basic of questions, which I would assume means that the concepts are too simplistic to even show up on a certification test? Everywhere I have worked hires new grads for perceived future capability, not what they specifically know now.
    – Dunk
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 22:29
  • 1
    @Dunk "What makes you think that the students should be A+ certification qualified?" The fact the school teaches them the A+ curriculum and requires them to certify, as does every PC technician school I have ever hear of. If a GRADUATED student cant tell me what an IP address is, they are not qualified to work as a technician, much less have passed a certification or graduated from their school.
    – Keltari
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 23:01

4 Answers 4


There are mechanisms for vetting and credentialing educational programs. You are not one of them. Your job as a hiring manager is to evaluate fitness for the positions you're hiring for.

You should address the candidates from that context. It's fine to inform them that you're looking for someone with different skills. It doesn't make sense for you to attribute their lack of skills to specific events in their background.

If you truly see a pattern, report it to the credentialing body that has approved the school's program. If it's not credentialed, well then - you have your answer.

  • 2
    Well, there is a pattern of for-profit schools failing students. Not sure what kind of credentialing they go through. I can't imagine they really do.
    – user41891
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 23:04
  • 1
    That was what I was trying to imply. I wouldn't have high expectations, and hence there's no point in communicating to anyone if or when the program doesn't live up to them.
    – dwizum
    Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 1:01
  • @dwizum Is your answer country-specific? The question isn't AFAICT Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 9:21

Not your problem, you already informed the school and that's why recognised certifications like A+ are prized, because the exams are sat independently of the course or school. If you really want to address the matter (and realistically this could get a bit messy and is not your responsibility) you would contact the Qualifications Authority in the locale. Do not involve your company in this, do it as an individual if you must.

At the end of the day though there is no difference between this dodgy qualification and an online professorship given on the basis of 'life experience'. The World is full of them.


I think it hasn't been mentioned yet.

You can address applicant's deficiencies, and propose how they can get better.

It seems you want to say something like:

Wow, I am sorry but you are underprepared. It is probably your school's fault (and there is nothing you can do about it). You should sue them for malpractice, there is a pattern!

Consider saying something nicer and more useful, such as:

I am sorry but your skills are not matching our company right now. If you want, I can suggest X, Y, Z you can do to improve, but I can't guarantee you'll get a job here after finishing it.

You can additionally report this school to governing body, and non-profit organization/lawyer interested in pursuing legal action/class-action suit. But this has nothing to do with the candidate. For what it's worth you might assume they never attended a class.

  • 4
    Agreed. "Your school has let you down" doesn't help the candidate at all. "You will probably need to learn these things to get a job" might be. Commented Dec 6, 2018 at 16:57

Mentioning this to an applicant can only cause trouble for you. I've been in a similar situation, except they actually hired the guy. He couldn't even write a for-next loop.....

Here's the problem for you:

If you say anything, you could expose your company to liability for slander. Yes, the truth is an absolute defense in court, but it doesn't keep you, or more importantly, your company OUT of court.

You were well within your rights to confront their employment representative, as she sent them to you, contacting them on your own is another matter entirely.

Worst case scenario: One of them tries to sue the school and calls YOU as a witness. Not good PR for your company...

So, while it would seem ethical to let them know, it can only expose you to some headaches that you don't need.

  • Yeah, don't inform the actual candidates, that's asking for a truckload of cans of worms.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 21:11

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