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This is taking place in the USA.

I recently received a job offer, but it has been taken off the table.

I was educated in Russia (although I am not a citizen) and provided the Hiring Agency with my diploma and transcript, however they wished to further investigate my education. The university demanded certain forms and documents in order to release information, which I was in the process of procuring for them when the company decided that I am ineligible for hiring and withdrew their offer.

Are there any steps that I can take to change their minds?

What could I do to avoid this in the future?

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    Which country are you in? Have you spoken to your University to see what the problem is? Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 19:19
  • I am from USA. My University is in Russia.
    – Sam124
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 19:27
  • University asking for Notarize Release Authorization document signed in Consulate (I am not Russian Citizen, can not go to Consulate). I provide agency with Notarize Release Authorization document signed by US public notary and asked agency to get Appostille and Notarize Release Authorization document signed by US public notary and send to University, but look like they already declare me ineligible. Also I provided them with my diploma and transcript.
    – Sam124
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 19:51
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    @Sam124 - sounds to me like they didn't want to go through the trouble of verification. Unfortunately it get's pretty complicated when all these translations are involved, especially since very often the person to speak to at the university does not speak English, and the hiring agency probably doesn't have Russian staff. I don't know if this job will work out for you, but from now on you can try obtaining a notarized/translated version of your school records, along with a letter acknowledging your education, and just putting together a little portfolio - it will suffice for most companies.
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 15:42

3 Answers 3

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Well you have two separate issues to address.

  • Why is the University unable to confirm your education?
  • What can you do to save this opportunity?

What can you do to save the job?

It's entirely possible they already are pursuing someone else and it might be too late, however; if their issue is being unable to confirm your education you can attempt to resolve this without the university while trying to sort out the university.

Evidence is your friend the more the better. Show them copy of your degree, pictures from graduation, final grades from each semester, emails confirming your eligibility for graduation. Basically you want so much evidence there is no way they could doubt it's authenticity. This still might not get you the job, but at least now you know you've done what you can to confirm your story.

Why can't the University Verify?

There are only three reasons I can think of where a degree holding student would not be verified for their degree.

First, outstanding debt. A University can withhold verification of your education if there is an outstanding debt between you. (And yes, a 5$ parking ticket counts) If you have a debt pay it up to clear this issue.

Second, lost data. If the school has lost your records this is a serious issue, and a hard one to resolve. You'll need to collect all the evidence you can to demonstrate you DID go to their school and earned your degree. If they lost any amount of information more than "just you" then they'll already have a process in place, if only your record was lost this could be REALLY difficult potentially to the point of involving litigation.

Third, the school lost it's accreditation or has closed. A University can't back a degree they've lost their eligibility to offer. Depending on how the employer asks on what they can say. If I ask "did he get his degree with you?" they can confirm it, but if they ask "Are you an accredited school?" if they answer "no" then in the eyes of your employer you do not have a degree. When a University closes it's effectively the same thing as losing it's accreditation, except now they can't even get a no.

What the heck?!?!?! They WERE accredited when I got my degree! Sorry, that's not how it works in education. Confirming education with a University is like confirming skill with a trusted peer. When everything is on the up and up if your peer says "that guy knows his stuff" you'll go on their advice and assume they are at least competent. Once that peer demonstrates they aren't competent in determining the expertise of others you'll toss their word is meaningless to you. (Your degree is effectively the university promising your employer you know the subject they gave you the degree on)

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  • Can you back up your assertion that employers won't accept confirmation of degrees from institutions that were accredited when the degree was obtained but aren't now? Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 19:39
  • Yes, I currently hire in IT and have worked for a University's outreach program and a local college's administration department. (Note: some employers might because they don't go into enough detail, but generally if someplace loses it's accreditation, it's because the material wasn't covered to an acceptable level) Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 19:45
  • Agency has my diploma and transcript. They need it from University.
    – Sam124
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 19:54
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    When jobhunting, they don't need proof to decide they aren't interested. You need to prove that they SHOULD be interested.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 20:50
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    @RualStorge - 3rd scenario: University Is In Eastern Europe. My father needed his personal school records released for translation (we're in Canada now). He called, and spoke to a typical former-communist style secretary who feels like she holds the power of life and death over anyone who needs her help. The prospect of actually doing her job and finding his records was unpleasant to her. She literally told him "who do you think you are?" and hung up on him. Had to hire a lawyer to get the records. Welcome to the former Soviet bloc. Easy to see how a hiring agency wouldn't know how to interact
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 15:38
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Contact your relatives or friends back in Russia, and have them visit your old university, find out the right secretary and take care of her so that she will respond the next time instead of throwing the request letter in the garbage. Call yourself and beg them/charm them, etc..

Test the process yourself, by mailing a request form as a potential employer would, to see what kind of information is being sent

Both of my parents require paperwork from their universities (in Russia) for the US licenses, so every few years, the state licensing boards contact their old universities and because the secretaries know that they will be taken care of, there has never been a problem for over 2 decades.

As for the current opportunity, I am afraid there is not much that can be done.

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    +1 for understanding of how things work outside of the US. I payed enrollment for a Russian university and was given the wrong account number. It took months to get my money back from a random Russian bank. Just because it is the administrations job to handle requests, don't assume that the person getting the request is interested or capable.
    – Myles
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 17:09
  • find out the right secretary and take care of **her** so that **she** will respond. Isn't this rather gender stereotyping, assuming that all administrative staff are female?
    – Jane S
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 21:48
  • @JaneS The question was specific to Russia where the reality is that all administrative staff is female and gender specific positions still exist. Had the question been about a western country, my answer would have been worded accordingly.
    – NickNo
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 9:49
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Your best bet is to get in touch with your the University you went to and explain to them the scenario. You can get an (un/)official transcript to help prove what you've experienced in your schooling. Then from there go to the agency in a clean manner and ask them what steps you should take to help verify your background.

The problem is if your resume said you had X years of experience in a school, they're going to want to verify that. You may be smart and know what you're doing in your field, but it will sway your value to the company. Similarly, if they find that you were lying about your educational background, they have no reason to take you in with that first impression.

Regardless, get in touch with both and keep both sides up-to-date along the way. Hopefully the position is still available after the back-and-forth.

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