Ethics and Client Job History

When is it ethical to falsify client job experience?  The short answer is never.  But, think about what you would do – or have done – in these situations:

?:  What iquestion markf your hotel HR contact tips you off that their system kicks out any client who doesn’t claim 6 months of previous work experience and promises to interview all of your clients if she can see their application in the system?

?:  What if you know they can do the job and they did the same thing as a stay-at-home-mom anyway?

?:  What if they just can’t remember dates of their experience or have large gaps in employment that you just want to make easier to explain?

?:  What if the client tells you they have the experience because they want to apply for a specific job and have never mentioned that before so you believe strongly that they’re lying?

Now, it’s not so simple, right?  I’ll admit that a couple of those examples hit pretty close to home.

Putting untrue or misleading information on a resume will have serious negative consequences.  We’re all heard about people losing their jobs when lies about their credentials were discovered.  Maybe no one will know if a job in rural South Sudan is real or not.  But, modeling this behavior to clients now can trip them up down the road.

Sure, the client can quickly learn how to do the job they claim to have experience doing already.  But, can they talk about what that job entails in a job interview?  Will your valued employment partner see a pattern and be able to spot falsified claims of past experience in your clients over time?  That could do major damage to that relationship, your reputation and that of your entire agency.

It’s easy to tell yourself that those stupid on-line screening systems are wrong anyway, so it’s ok to get around them.  I can’t bring myself to state emphatically that doing so is absolutely wrong, even though I know it is.

If clients just can’t remember date ranges for their job experience, are they supposed to just leave it off their resumes?  In this case, I want to say that helping them recreate dates is ok.  But, it’s easy to take it too far by stretching the dates quite a bit to camouflage gaps in employment.  It’s a slippery slope.

Ethical behavior is important for all kinds of reasons and the age old argument about whether the means justifies the end is beyond the scope of this post.  So, I’ll leave it open ended.  Comments?

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