Why assess academic credential equivalency?
You may not have to get a formal assessment of academic credential equivalency depending on the role. In many cases what you’re really looking for is evidence that the candidate has the skills, knowledge, and qualities you need. As a first step, determine if an academic credential is necessary to the performance of the role (e.g., diploma, degree, etc.) and if it’s not, look for past accomplishments that indicate knowledge and application of the skills that you’re looking for.
When an academic credential is a pre-requisite for the role (e.g., a Masters Degree in a specific discipline is a minimum requirement for entry), You should not take on the role of evaluating how equivalent the candidate’s education is yourself. An official assessment is the only way that you can objectively assess the equivalence of academic credentials gained outside of Canada.
Assessing academic credentials
There are several organizations that assess international credited education programming to provide comparative levels in Canadian terms.
Hiring for a specific role? Some industries have specific resources.
- BC Naturopathic Association: Accredited Naturopathic Training (North America only)
- College of Chiropractors of BC: Accredited Doctor of Chiropractic Programs (International)
- Engineers Canada: Tool allows you to compare your undergraduate engineering degree information to that of a Canadian engineering degree
- For more information, check out Who Does What in Foreign Credential Recognition (by the Alliance of Sector Councils)
Overcoming Common Challenges
CHALLENGE: I am not familiar with the institution where the candidate went to school, how can I tell if their education is suited for the role?
First consider if an academic credential is necessary to perform the role. If it is not, then move to the areas of the resume that are required.
If an academic credential is necessary, for the majority of occupations, the only way to objectively assess international academic credentials is through a credential evaluation service. These services are listed above.
For a select few occupations, professional associations have evaluated select international programs for their Canadian equivalency and posted recognized equivalency programs on their website. See a list of these occupations above.
Any programs not listed would also have to be assessed.
CHALLENGE: The candidate put their university ranking or other academic accolades on the resume, how do I use this information?
During the resume review process, your primary concern is ensuring that candidates meet the minimum academic requirements to move forward in the screening process. While a specific academic credential may be a requirement, the level at which a credential is achieved, is not a requirement for the role. University rankings or academic accolades are factors that come into play during the interview stage where questions regarding academic pursuits and success can provide you with information about the candidate’s specific areas of interest in your field, initiative drive, etc. which can help to inform the selection process.
CHALLENGE: According to Employment Standards, you can’t charge a candidate to apply for a job. Is asking a candidate to pay for an assessment different?
Yes, asking a candidate to pay for an assessment of a job requirement, such as academic credentials, is different. You are not asking a candidate to pay to apply for a position at your organization, you are asking them to pay a third party provider for an objective assessment of the job requirement. It is up to the candidate to demonstrate to the organization that they possess this requirement. To ensure that there is no confusion about this always have the candidate a choice and have them pay the third party directly.
CHALLENGE: Can I request that a candidate has his / her academic credentials assessed? Who pays for a candidate’s academic credential assessment?
Who pays for an academic credential assessment is at the discretion of the employer. Here are three suggested ways to proceed if you are requesting that a candidate pays:
Suggested Language – Hello (Name), Thank you for submitting your resume in response to our job posting. We are interested in the experience and skills that you have outlined and would potentially like to consider you as a candidate for an interview. We require that all candidates hold a (educational credential) equivalent to those earned in Canada. In order to make sure that we objectively assess our candidates credentials we request that those people that completed this educational training outside of Canada provide an assessment of academic credentials. Would you be open to having your academic credentials assessed through (body you use). Provide details regarding your payment policy…
Candidate Pays – We ask that candidates demonstrate minimum requirements prior to being able to move forward to the interview process, which is a common practice in this market. The cost of this assessment is (provide the cost of the assessment of your choice). Can we send you a website with more information about the assessment?
Employer Pays – As we mentioned, we are certainly interested in your potential as a candidate and we would be happy to cover the cost of this assessment in order to ensure that we have an objective assessment process. Can we send you a website with more information about the assessment?
Employer Pays if the Candidate is Hired – We ask that candidates demonstrate minimum requirements prior to being able to move forward to the interview process, which is a common practice in this market. The cost of this assessment is (provide the cost of the assessment of your choice). If you are selected for the role, we will be happy to reimburse the cost of the assessment. Can we send you a website with more information about the assessment?