HR Advice - please don't be too harsh ... genuine, horrid, dilemma(35 Posts)
So, my best friend has had a TERRIBLE time. Husband went off and left her with 2 young kids, mortgage, debt etc etc. She went through a very tough time but she decided to get out a find herself a job even though she hasn't worked for years. She is a bright, intelligent, experienced and wonderful woman who deserves a break! She managed to get a really good local job - we were over the moon for her. However, she rang me last night in a state. She had lied on her CV apparently - telling them she had a 2nd class degree rather than a 3rd class degree. All else on the CV was correct. However, she's been asked to bring in real copies of all her certificates on her first day of work and she's in bits. She is thinking of changing the certificate (they say a photocopy will suffice) but I am desperate for her NOT to do this - I know it's fraud! Even if they don't check, she'll surely get found out. If she simply hands in her true certificate, they are bound to notice that she lied on her CV and again, she'll surely lose the job. What do you think she should do? I'm at a loss as to what to advise her to do. She is so desperate not to lose the role. She doesn't need to be told how stupidly she acted - she's beating herself up already. What would you do/suggest/say??
I am sure she is aware that she is learning a terrible lesson so I am sure she will never do this again.
It is possible they might not even notice the mistake. However if they do:
If she has the courage to stand up and tell them the truth she could say - she wanted this job so much and has so much to give this company that she exaggerated how well she did, she only just missed out on a Second.
If it is a local small to medium sized employer they may have more flexibility and give her another chance. She got the job so they want her and it would be expensive to go through the hiring process again.
Otherwise she could either say it was a typo or a memory failure but neither are particularly believable (unless it's been years since university?) but again, the expense of the hiring process might weigh in her favour...
If she compounds her error with more fraudulent actions concerning her certificate she could ruin her career. Good luck to her though as it is so hard to get a job now and she's done so well otherwise
Thank you Sisterofmercy. It is actually years since she went to uni. The job, however, is in a college so I think it's more tricky because of this. Surely no-one would believe her if she said it was a mistake. I know I wouldn't! OMG, poor thing.
I sometimes recruit, and if I noticed the discrepancy, I would be wondering what other lies she'd told. I'd go back over her application and interview with a fine-tooth comb, and is question everything.
However, I'm not sure that I'd actually notice!
Your friend has told a serious lie and if the employer wanted to take legal action they could! lets face it everyone tells a little white lie on their CV every now and again but to lie about qualifications is just pure silly! I recruit/interview on regular basis and would want to see qualifications (depending on role) at interview stage or their first day. She could say she cant find them and she has sent for another copy and the employer may just forget (I know I would) or that she has to pay for extra copies to be sent - which she can't afford at the moment.. I certainly wouldent say I lied on my CV.. hope this helps.
What legal action could the employer take xJadex?
Also intrigued to hear what legal action xJadex thinks the employer could take....
OP was a second class degree a requirement for the job?
flowery - no - it just stated that she needed to be educated to degree level.
Think she should take in her certificates and apologise for her mistake.
if she starts and then they find out and fire her she will not get a reference surely this would harm her career more than anything. I would advise her to tell the truth and if they rescind the job offer then she doesn't have to put it on her CV so no harm done as such.
This happened to me and the employee came clean before showing me the certificate. She had been in the role for 3 weeks and is excellent and we kept her on but i had to note it and speak to others about whether to keep her or not. I do view her differently though and it was quite awkward. Trust will always be questioned IMO.
I wonder if I would notice tbh. By the time the first day comes around after interview I would have filled her CV and interview docs along with many others.
Some days I wouldn't think to check and other days I might take a look when references arrive, depends on the role and responsibility that goes with it (CRB etc)
Does the level 3 to 2 make a difference to her being qualified to carry out the role? We employ some specialised staff that if they weren't qualified, ie lied and wasn't found out in probation could cause problems down the line with insurance/accreditation and of course for me if I didn't check!
I wouldn't say anything, it probably won't be noticed. If they do notice and ask her about her degree she must answer honestly that she got a 3rd, then express shock and surprise that she made a typo on her application.
I think GeoHound has the right idea!
We had a similar experience with an employee, except he lied about having gone to a certain uni and graduated. Someone blew the whistle and a disciplinary meeting was called. He resigned rather than attend the meeting. We terminated his training contract and advised our professional body that we were no longer sponsoring him. W didn't tell them why as the investigation didn't happen.
I'm a solicitor specialising in employment and formerly incriminal law. If your friend perpetuates the deceit and the company finds out, the worst case scenario is that she could end up being prosecuted for fraud. I have represented someone in the past who did exactly that. I accept that it might be unlikely that the employers would report this to the police if they found out, but I have known it to happen. If they are adamant that they would not have given her the job if they'd known she had a 3rd class degree, she will almost certainly be guilty. A court would take a dim view of any attempt to conceal the fraud - it might well be considered an aggravating factor.
From an employment law point of view, the employer would be able to treat this as gross misconduct.
I think your friend ought to withdraw her application, or confess what she has done, explain her desperation and hope they might still have her; she'll have to accept that they are unlikely to want her.
Someone we recruited lied about having an essential qualification required to do the job. It was discovered when he could not produce the certificate on his first day. He was dismissed. There could be no trust and it wouldn't send a good message to the rest of the staff.
flowery... Please see Fozzleyplum comments, this is exactley what I mean by legal action.
Really? You think prosecution for fraud is a realistic likely outcome for bumping a degree qualification up a grade when the grade isn't even a requirement for the job xJadex? Er, ok then. Lets agree to disagree on that one.
I don't think your friend should alter her certificates OP. I think she has to either hand them in and fess up at that point, or hand them in and hope they don't notice that the actual grade is different.
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Recruitment manager here. If she changed her certificate I would immediately notice and retract the offer also if they did not notice it would forever worrying her that they would find out. If it were me I would blag it. If they noticed I would look very embarrassed and say what an awful typo etc etc and offer to have any other aspect of cv
Double checked and offer more references. If that's enough they will carry on with the appointment, if not it will be a bit embarrassing but nothing more. I have sacked people for this kind of thing but I have given the benefit of the doubt as well.
xjadex - so your response to Flowery disagreeing with you is to hurl rather feeble personal insults? Way to lose all credibility!!
I'm a lawyer. One of my clients was erased from his professional register (entry on it is necessary to work in the profession) because he "lied" on his CV. She should correct the error now.
Ooh did I miss a feeble personal insult? Darn!
Agree with flowery, realistically what employer would prosecute for fraud in this scenario! However we do not know what the job is and the requirements for it, so difficult to provide a full opinion. If there is no professional element to the job I would go with blagging it, and claiming typo if found out but it really depends on what the job is!
I think any employer would struggle to convince the Crown Prosecution Service that prosecuting for fraud in this case would be in the public interest...
I think I would have to draw it to their attention - 'I noticed an error in my CV - I have no idea how it happened - happy to provide originals of all qualifications for inspection - does it make a difference to the job offer'
Don't let her start changing certificates - that really is the way to get a conviction for fraud.
A lot of employers these days write to the universities to verify the certificates brought in.
If she has a third it may not be fair that she has been recruited when others with thirds have been rejected anyway.
Tell her not to perpetuate the lie by amending certificates but to come clean. Call up the employer and explain - either as a typo or memory failure.
My husband recruited someone who lied about her professional qualifications - she claimed to be fully qualified when she had actually failed her finals and was resitting. He only found out when he asked for copies if her certificates for the hr files. The silly thing was he would still have recruited her as a part qualified had she disclosed that from the start - but because she was dishonest he lost all trust in her. The role was in finance and she lost all credibility. So she was let go during the probationary period.
We always ask to see the originals of all certificates when interviewing at work.
I would take in the certificates and hope they don't notice, if there is no reason to query it, she could get away with it. If they do notice, I would plead a typo and apologise.
Of course it's highly unlikely this would end in prosecution! BUT by perpetuating the lie, she is deceiving the employer and tbh if I were the employer it would make me wonder what else she might be lying/ exaggerating about.
I also think to go into work every day knowing that she has lied about something which actually could have been the deal breaker between her and other candidates, will be incredibly stressful.
It's tempting to Try to gloss over it and feel well the employer must have liked her etc, but think about it from the perspective of other applicants. This woman has cheated. Some employers bin applicants with lower than a certain class of degree so she may not have got an interview if she'd been honest.
I also don't think playing the surprised 'oh must be a typo' looks good because as an employer id think, bloody hell, someone who makes careless mistakes on something as important as a job application could be pretty careless and slapdash in the job. If you don't proofread a cv fgs then what level of care are you going to apply to other documents?
Tbh I know it's going to be terribly hard but I can't see any option but to come clean and hope that they liked enough about her to feel that they don't want to repeat the whole recruitment process
I also think its so transparent to try to claim that the only 'typo' on an otherwise perfect cv happens to be the class of degree the candidate got! Honestly I am really surprised anyone can think this is a sensible strategy to try.
I think her coming clean is best, with the wording from sister being excellent. Changing the certificate is bloody idiotic.
Im amazed people are advising to blag it. Most of us think were brilliant actors, but were not the manager will likely see through the it was a typo line. And as for forgetting what mark you got for your degree yes thats likely .
Of course, they may not look at the classification when they look at the certificate but theres a small chance theyd find out in the future. Is it really worth the stress?
I honestly wouldnt take the chance, not in this job market thats weighed heavily in favour of the employer, with there being so many graduates around.
Personally I would withdraw the application and chalk this up to experience. As the employer is a college they will take an extremely dim view of lying about qualifications and I would not want to go and work there with my manager knowing that I had lied about something like that. How could he/she trust you?
At least she knows now that she is hireable and she should have the confidence in herself to tell the truth on her CV in future.
Ps the idea that it could be explained away as a typo is laughable, sorry
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