ETHICAL ISSUES FACING EMPLOYERS AND JOB APPLICANTS Ruth Carter October 1, 2012 Some job applicants “pad” their application with false information, such as phony salaries and nonexistent jobs. Even some well-known political figures have been guilty of listing a job on their resume during a period of time in which such a job never existed. When applicants are eager or even desperate to find a job, such ethical dilemmas will rise to the forefront. FALSIFICATION What is falsification?
Certainly, adding information that is not true would seem to indicate a clear intent on the part of the applicant to falsify information. But how do you judge whether or not leaving out pertinent information or information that would cast you in a bad light qualifies as intentional falsification? These are gray areas that are not always easy to define. Honors and Grades. Let’s take a look at a more specific example. What if your grade point average at graduation had been just slightly higher to qualify you for a degree designation of cum laude, magna cum laude, or even summa cum laude?
Clearly, it would be falsification to claim one of these designations when that designation was not earned. However, there is an ethical way to place yourself in the best light without falsifying information. If you earned an outstanding grade point average in the courses for your given major, it is certainly acceptable to state your correct grade point average and specify that the average reflects grades only for courses related to your declared college major or minor. School Activities.
Many applicants are willing to exaggerate or totally falsify their participation in school activities. In order to prove leadership ability, an applicant might be willing to say that he or she was president of a nonexistent club or perhaps organized some type of fictional fund-raising activity. Such deception is clearly falsification. Job Titles. Another area rampant with deception is the list of previous job titles. In order to make a former job sound more impressive, a job contender might add a word or two to the title or perhaps rename the title altogether.
REASONS FOR FALSIFICATION Job candidates lie for any number of reasons. Some of them see getting a job as some sort of game in which the rules really don’t matter. Others equate lying with cheating on an exam and rationalize the deception in some way. Many applicants have families to support and are willing to do anything to get the job. CONCLUSION It is clear that falsification is at hand more than ever, and it is equally clear that the value of ethics has been lost on some applicants.
It is therefore up to the employer to figure out how best to test a potential employee’s integrity, to investigate an applicant’s history, and then to decide whether or not to hire this individual. The importance of ethical intentions in a future employee should never be underestimated. There is an old saying that honesty is the best policy. Honesty is expected and required in the workplace, and great dividends await those who make an exemplary work ethic a top priority.