I was fascinated by the national press coverage last week on a recent study which asked how people felt about lying and whether they felt being insincere was justifiable. It seems that the country has changed for the worse and that as a nation most people do not believe that they would be honest if confronted with a range of situations including finding money in the street, crashing into a car… (See Sunday Times 29th Jan 2012/ The Independent 26th Jan 2012).
I am interested in what this means about job applications and particularly about how this influences the job market, particularly in London. Many investment banks and blue chip organisations seem to have devoted a great deal of their HR spend on ensuring that commercial due diligence procedures are adhered to. This includes not only taking references, once a job has been offered, but in many cases obtaining criminal checks and proof of address, in addition to checking VISAs and passports…
A few years ago one of our candidates had an offer of a job retracted because she had put that her degree qualification was a first class honours, when in fact, after a few checks, the company had discovered that she had in fact got a 2:2. The interesting thing about this was that the job description didn’t specify a need for a 2:1 and her degree was obtained 8 years prior to her application, but the company still felt she had been dishonest and as she as going to be working in HR, she couldn’t be trusted.
We are currently running an online poll on LinkedIn, which asks if lying about your hobbies on a CV when searching for a job is acceptable. There is a difference between the opinions of the older and younger generations. My view is “why lie?”, because if a company is going to go into so much effort to protect their business and ensure that they employ people they can work with well, then surely you don’t need to jeopardise this with a foolish statement on a CV. I wouldn’t necessarily sack someone for lying about their “tennis” or “football captain” hobby, but I would question the integrity of the individual and wonder why on earth they felt it was necessary to give a false statement and it would make me think twice about the individual in the future.