Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Recruitment Ethics - Candidates

In my last Blog we discussed the problems of integrity and ethics within the professional recruiting world. Generally when recruitment ethics is discussed, the other two sides of recruitment ethics take a back seat.

What about the integrity of the candidate?

A whole industry of background investigations into candidates’ pasts has been formed and thrives because of the lies on candidates’ resumes. Being ethical is not a part time hobby. Either a person is ethical or they are not.

Where do candidates fall into the trap of poor ethical behavior? My guess is that most people, who lie about their experience whether it is on their resume or in their interview, do it because they are under some pressure. They may have lost their last job, or are working and know they are about to be laid off, or maybe their company is going through a rough time and they are afraid they will be laid off. No reason is good enough to lie about it. It may hurt but being truthful will certainly get you further than lying and your hiring manager discovering your lie. That is cause for immediate dismissal.

On resumes, it is interesting that candidates lie about their college degree – or lack of a degree. Of all of the information on a resume, the degree and dates of employment are easiest to check. When candidates do try to defend their decision to add the degree, I hear them say “But I was only 1 or 3 credits short of a degree.” You either earned your degree or you did not. It’s very simple. A quick phone call to the registrar or the online support at the university will tell the company very quickly if you earned a degree and which one and if you earned any honors.

Another candidate practice is to cover either short employment terms or lack of employment with previous employment dates or the next job employment dates. Please understand that employment dates are the information that companies are allowed to give. They may not be able to give you a reference but they will verify dates of employment. Most companies make these calls to verify employment. If you mislead people on your resume, it is not considered a typo (typo’s aren’t good on a resume anyway, but that is another topic).

What many candidates do not read when they sign an application is that they may be immediately dismissed if the information on the application is false. Probably as bad is the situation when you receive an offer that is contingent on the successful completion of your background investigation, references, and drug check and you resign your current job. On the Friday before you start, you receive a call from the hiring company rescinding your offer because you lied on the application or resume. As far as your current employer is concerned, you left them. Now you begin the process all over again with no job. Obviously, that’s not a good situation. I have seen it happen on several occasions.

If a person lacks integrity when they are presenting their best sides during the interviewing process, they will certainly lack integrity at the new job. That situation is the basis of behavioral interviewing.

Bottom line – Be Honest and Maintain Your Integrity. Life’s too short to try and track lies.