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I have been offered and accepted a new job. Have signed contract, company has signed contract. Background check commences.

On my CV I have the University I attended with the “Economics” course and the 3 years (2008-2011) listed. I do not have “Bachelor of Economics”, or a level of degree attained, as I completed 2.5-3 years and didn’t finish the degree.

This wasn’t confirmed or asked about in my interviews (4 of them with 4 different people). They either presumed I had a degree or know that I don’t, I’m not sure which. They made an offer and I accepted. The manager to be mentioned the employment and academic reference check being a burden but a necessary one. The words academic check stuck out in my mind and I now think that they believe I have a degree.

I filled in the background check forms and put my high school as the highest form of completed education, so I haven’t lied.

What are your opinions on the situation?

Will the offer be rescinded when they find out?

Have I been deceitful even though I never claimed to have one, and nobody asked ? Had they asked I would have talked about it.

The job didn’t require a degree in their job description.

Advice appreciated. I haven’t handed in notice yet to current employer cause I think if I do and they rescind, I’m up sh*ts creek with no paddle.

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    We can't tell you what they're going to do, you'll just have to wait and see. But you wrote your CV in a deliberately misleading manner, so I have little sympathy for you if they do rescind the offer. Feb 27 at 22:40
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    Moving forward, I would recommend that you update your resume to make it clear that you did not complete the degree. For example, you could write on your resume "University ABCD, Economics, 2008-2011 (Incomplete)". The word "Incomplete" would be helpful to the recruiters and interviewers, who read your resume. Feb 28 at 3:18
  • When I was hired I stressed that I did not have a degree, nonetheless the wheels of corporate America still turned and HR reached out anyway for copies of my transcripts. I just reminded them that I had none and all was good.
    – Turbo
    Mar 4 at 14:30

4 Answers 4

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I am a hiring manager and I do not find this deceptive.

If I suddenly realized you did not have a university degree, and I thought you did, I would assume you listed the education line item to prevent gaps. This is a standard thing to do, and the good and charitable interpretation.

Academic checks will test your claims on your resume. Did you actually attend? Did you graduate? Those are the only facts that are going to be returned. As long as you actually attended during the period of time you said you did, I say you're fine. You didn't claim a diploma, and the check will confirm this.

I might reach out, or have the recruiter reach out, and ask directly about it to see if you would lie about it; but provided you weren't patently misrepresenting yourself, my curiosity would be satisfied.

I find it off-putting for candidates to be overly critical of themselves. If someone said "I went to college but I didn't finish," I would think you were beating yourself up too much, not that you were honest. As if not finishing was the most interesting thing about your university education!

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    If someone said "I went to college but I didn't finish," I would mark you down for beating yourself up too much, not credit your honesty. -- Really? I don't disagree that it's not necessary to offer this information so long as the candidate isn't lying about or misrepresenting their background, but it seems extreme for an interviewer to punish a candidate for being transparent about their own educational history, especially since apparently the degree is not a strict requirement for the position.
    – Andrew
    Feb 28 at 3:03
  • Thanks for your input Jorderon. I was most definitely not trying to be deceptive, but having high school and then nothing for 2.5-3 years would be a large gap as if I sat on my thumbs for 3 years. Feb 28 at 6:24
  • That's fair @Andrew I'll clarify the answer.
    – jorderon
    Mar 1 at 15:36
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IMHO, you didnt lie, if in your resume you have only studies time period and not the degree

But, just in case it may be frowned upon, I would suggest not to give notice just yet

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    Thanks Strader. I don’t think I will until it comes back/they ask about it. Feb 28 at 6:24
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Will the offer be rescinded when they find out?

Maybe.

If they think you hid the fact from them, they could decide not to move forward.

If the job position requires that you have a degree, then they may have no choice but to rescind the offer.

Because you said the job advertisement didn't mention a requirement for a degree, they might not have to rescind the offer. But if the pay level they put you in, or the reason they picked you was because the degree made a difference, your job offer could still be in jeopardy.

If they have a pay level for a similar position that doesn't require a degree, they might modify the offer for the lower paying level.

While waiting for the results, keep looking, keep applying, and keep interviewing.

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  • I contacted the hiring manager. I wrote an email and said they’re might be some confusion around this and I wanted to clear it up, at the risk of possibly losing out on the job. But that I wanted there to be no ambiguity around it, that this is the fact and if it’s required great I’ll remove myself and if it’s not I just wanted him to know. He replied and said not to worry, not a requirement and looking forward to having me join. So panic over. Feb 28 at 11:35
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Don't worry about it

Everyone who reads resumes/CV's knows the difference between "Attended in Economics" and a BA/BS in Economics.

There are companies who are real sticklers for degrees, but if this one were, you wouldn't have gotten an offer. My company doesn't really care, we only want skills. But no company who wants a degree will be "fooled" by a University and dates.

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  • I’m hoping they do know the difference, and it’s just my brain over thinking it. They might just have read the university and course name and not looked at the dates and presumed it was a degree, it’s hard to know. Appreciate the input. Feb 28 at 6:26

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