To Lie or Not to Lie – Thats the …. ?

There is a discussion going on in Linked in about a candidate who lied to get a job. Question was all else found to be good – should her offer be rescinded ? You can follow the discussion here ..

A lot of manhours have been spent on this thread as someone mentioned – in these manhours a company could have employed 10 unemployed people. considering the discussion is US focussed – that statement carries a lot of punch.

coming back to the topic – it has generated a lot of heat – lot of good view points from both sides.

Since I am kind of inclined to the should not be rescinded side – I am going to share a very nice point which was made against rescinding the offer.

Here, I would like to add that sometimes you might face a situation where you might be forced to lie. It is a risk that you take. Weigh the risk and be prepared, to face the consequences. Explore all other options – before you take this route. Once the lie comes out in the open – your credibility would be at stake. In such a situation how are people going to weigh your deceit ? give some thought to that.

This was from Valentino Martinez – I quote –

” Famed Psychologist Jean Piaget, in his study of moral development, said that “the tendency to tell lies is a natural tendency…spontaneous and universal.”

It seems that to lie is to be human, particularly if a lie brings a positive benefit. In this case a lie was given with positive intentions–to get a job interview and hopefully a shot at a great job with a good company. A job offer was extended to the best candidate available based on her job matching qualifications, interview results, positive references and background check.

Now, discovering that the selected candidate’s “employment status” was misrepresented to circumvent the well played game of discrimination against unemployed professionals by employers—the question to rescind or not to rescind the job offer remains and has been argued ad nauseam.

The real question to be answered, in my view, now that all the facts are out, is, “DOES EMPLOYMENT or UNEMPLOYMENT STATUS MATTER HERE?” If it does not matter then HR should proceed with the offer process. While a lie is lie–the status is the status, and if it’s not actually problematic–WHY WOULD LYING ABOUT EMPLOYMENT STATUS MATTER?

HR should share the facts of this case with hiring management without prejudice. Hiring management may rescind the job offer, or decide to officially extend a final job offer with a reprimand and notice in writing that a satisfactory+ rating will be required after passing a standard probationary period. Explaining that this will be the first step to reinstate her credibility. And if this new hire proves to be a valued employee in the long run–the “lie” she told will still be regarded as a mistake and unacceptable, but no longer problematic based on performance.

In the long run, if this woman is given the job and passes her probationary period—and later proves to be a highly valued employee by peers, management and customers–I would rate her lie, on the Scale of Good and Bad as “Good”—good for the employee and good for the employer.

So the lesson here is—if you lie and you are discovered as lying, but no harm was intended or done—you may get a pass if it is warranted. And you may survive to make the lie a non-issue, but do be careful because Sir Walter Scott had it right when he said, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

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