A Top Job Candidate Self-Reported an Offense but Understated the Severity

A Kantola Learning Minute

An HR manager says an applicant self-reported an offense on a job application but understated its severity. Our application states these are grounds for terminating the process, but he's the best applicant. What can we do? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources®.

Hi, Les Rosen here with a pretty interesting question from a viewer. And this question says, "An applicant self-reported an offense on an application form, but he really understated the severity of the incident. Now, our application includes that standard text 'lying or material omission in the application are grounds to terminate the hiring process', but this guy seems like the best applicant. What do I do?"

Well, several things come to mind. First of all, make sure that it was even legal to ask that question on the application. If you are in a "Ban the Box" judisdiction, you probably should not be asking a criminal about a criminal question until at or after the interview, or until there is a qualified job offer. In fact, the national trend is not to ask about criminal questions too soon.

But, if you get to the point where you ask the question and you think the person might have lied, well, you really need to make sure that the person actually lied instead of just being confused, because sometimes criminal court proceedings can be pretty complicated. But if you determine that the person actually and deliberately and knowingly lied, there's just no mistake about it, the person lied, well, there's the old adage that says the person gets a job in a way that's dishonest they could well be dishonest once they're in the job, and for most employers dishonesty is a barrier to employment.

I hope that helps. Thank you.

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