Do background check companies PULL your education history, or ask YOU to provide it?

zaeem-shan1's picture
Rank: Monkey | 41

All questions for US/Canadian offices only.

  • When they ask you to SIGN offer letter which is contingent upon a background check, is that enough authorisation from us for them to easily PULL our records out of universities?
  • If you come through a referral, do they still perform an intrusive background check?
  • Is this a standard now?
  • Is there anyone who was offered (in the recent past) without having to sign any authorization/release?


How do employers check education?

  • Job verification is typically done by an independent firm
  • You will likely be asked to produce transcripts

Most employers will hire an independent firm to conduct background checks on their behalf. This involves verifying your work history and your education credentials.

The independent firm or prospective employer will verify your work history by confirming your start and end date. If a firm is doing a deeper dive into your education (transcripts) they need your consent. At this point, your employer may ask you to produce a transcript to verify your education.

from certified user @DBCooper

I think they pull: date of enrollment/grad, GPA, and major. However, if you are going for an analyst spot, they will probably want your transcript.

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Comments (27)

Jun 9, 2017

Lots of threads of various firms background checks, but more or less this is the deal: Each firm contracts out of an independent background check company that then accesses your information. Firms like Kroll, Talentwise, etc. These background checks involve calling employers to confirm info, getting info from school etc. Not super in depth by any means (by comparison if you get a Top Secret-SCI security clearance the investigators can find out things that will make your skin crawl), I had an employer for a short time that went out of business and they were fine calling a person who I identified as my supervisor-he was my actual supervisor but could have been anyone. For work they are just calling to confirm that you are employed during the dates you said, they dont ask about reasons for leaving.

To answer your questions:

  1. I'm not a lawyer but I think so. They just called my schools to check. My understanding is you give consent, though some schools may not provide transcripts unless YOU specifically request them (exception would be a security clearance). My undergrad for example would not do that, though they could confirm GPA.
  2. Yeah, why wouldn't they subject everyone to the same background check. It's quick and cheap. Again, compared to a security clearance not very intrusive at all.
  3. Typically go into a background check company's website and enter relevant information, that is correct. That's what I did for mine.
  4. Yes, everyone gets background checked by the same firm. Never heard of an exception. Why would a firm provide an exception.
  5. Yes again. Though if you passed a WES background check the consulting firm checks aren't any more intrusive and I don't see why you would suddenly have an issue.

This forum is anonymous, so if you have more specific concerns I may be able to give better answers.

    • 2
Jun 9, 2017

Thanks babster for your to-the-point response.
Q1) Do you work/have worked for an MBB? If yes, was it in the US, or Canada?
Q2) If not, do you know any MBB who recently went through this process?
Q3) Do companies in both these countries have similar processes?

I am not worried about the checks per se, but I am super uncomfortable with providing any authorisation to these background check companies. I have no idea who they are? Or what values they have? China recently busted an underground gang that sold personal information on Apple clients - all those employees belonged to companies Apple outsources to! I am fine as long as these companies perform the checks themselves, I am even willing to sit with them and provide all information to them. But only TO THEM.

But I guess, where we take one step forward towards personal freedoms, we take another step backward.

Q4) When you filled out that online form on the background check's website, a) did they ask for your consent?
Q5) My university would only provide information on final grades IF they receive some form of authorization from me. My university wouldn't provide anything over the phone. In this case, would they insist on receiving my consent on a written paper (as required by my university), or would they have me request my university to deliver my transcript directly to them?

I would expect WES to be more careful than the rest because they have some big names on their client list e.g. Harvard. And they also let you contact your university YOURSELF, instead of pushing you for gaining access.


Best Response
Jun 9, 2017
  1. Yes, I work at an MBB firm and have friends who work at both of our competitors. I'm in the US.
  2. Yes, myself and many others. It's really not a big deal if you have nothing to hide.
  3. Pretty sure we use the same system throughout North America, but am not 100% certain.
  4. Yes, you need to give that for the background check.
  5. Not sure how this works in your case. I did OCR as an MBA, however my firm just asked for an unofficial transcript from undergrad which I hand delivered to them.

As for WES being more reputable b/c they have clients like Harvard, aren't McK, BCG and Bain very reputable clients? They aren't sending you to some sketchy firm, these are firms that do background checks for lots of F500 companies, BB IBD, big law, etc.

    • 4
Jun 9, 2017

Interested in this as well.

Jun 9, 2017

They will find your transcripts and exam scores.

Jun 9, 2017

Do they just do transcripts or graduation confirmation for experience hires? Would love more experiences. Ty!

Jun 9, 2017

Anyone else?

Jun 9, 2017


Jun 9, 2017

This is probably highly situational given that its a boutique firm. I would be guess they will just verify graduation if anything, this kind of stuff varies a lot from place to place though, even in F500 you can't count on what HR will do.

Jun 9, 2017

They can't access exam scores or grades without your approval. So, if they ask you, you'll know. Otherwise the only thing they can do on a background check is verify graduation.

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

Idiot. They will find out fo sho.

Jun 9, 2017

WHy did you say you graduated in 2009? Did you put that on your resume/application prior to knowing that you were going to have to stay longer?

If you did this in good faith just tell them....if you did it just to make it look like you could complete your education in time to get a job or to not look unusual then you're fucked.

In the case of the former, just call HR and tell them what happened, that you thought you'd be able to graduate when you formulated that resume and, as it turn out, you didn't have the credits you needed.

Blame it on you advisor or something....are you sure you got the job? Is it an SA or an FT? Obviously if it's an FT you're really screwed.

Jun 9, 2017

are you by any chance related to jeffrey chiang?

I'm making it up as I go along.

Jun 9, 2017

m.c. trader - yes. I thought I'd have enough credit to graduate in 2009. I put that on my resume before I knew I didn't have enough to graduate. It is for operations analyst. I am not sure if I got the offer. I just asked GS to see what their hiring process is like and how long it'd take to hire someone. If I got an offer, I will definitely explain to them that everything was in good faith. Thank you!

Corenlius - I am not related to Jeffery Chiang and I am not making anything up!

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

bump? please let me know if you have some insight

Jun 9, 2017

bump. really need to know

Jun 9, 2017

As long as you received the degree from the institution you listed and didn't fudge any dates I'm pretty sure it'll be okay.

Jun 9, 2017

I actually don't have the dates on my resume. I hasn't been a problem during recruiting.

Jun 9, 2017

You'll be fine if you didn't lie. A discrepancy is a lie whereas leaving something off is not.

Jun 9, 2017

how detailed are background checks especially at GS, JPM, MS?

Jun 9, 2017
Jun 9, 2017

Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.