ETHICAL ISSUES FACING EMPLOYERS
AND JOB APPLICANTS
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.
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...
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