Acme Co. screens and places candidates at other companies including those fictionally-named Bravo and Tec2.

Candidate J. Doe applies for a role with Bravo, including a resume citing a lot of experience on a project at Tec2.

Acme learns that this is a serious misrepresentation, through a combination of its own knowledge resulting from the partnership with Tec2 and J. Doe's performance on interview questions that should have been easy if the resume was truthful.

Beyond simply declining to hire the candidate, does Acme have any further ethical responsibilities?

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    Ethical responsibilities to whom? – paparazzo Oct 27 '17 at 17:00
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    @ DarkCygnus Yes, J. Doe lied on the resume, and not just a typo or innocent mistake. @Paparazzi Anybody, including but not limited to the applicant and/or other prospective employers who may not be as well positioned to quickly identify the misrepresentation. – WBT Oct 27 '17 at 17:08
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    You might want to check with your lawyer before you decide to warn prospective employers. – paparazzo Oct 27 '17 at 17:11
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    The close reason does not apply to this question. I'm not asking a question about the specific policies of any one company which should be directed to that company's HR department. I'm also not asking about legal obligations, but more about ethics & professionalism. I think the question is on-topic for this site but appear to be in the minority with that view. – WBT Oct 27 '17 at 19:29
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this a question of business policy not about navigating the work place – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 28 '17 at 0:34

Literally any employer could find this out by

  • contacting Tec2 to verify references (even start and end date, which is all some companies do, would presumably expose the lies)
  • asking the same sort of questions you asked in the interview

You don't appear to have needed or relied on your relationship with Tec2 to discover this person is a fraud. Any company out there that does even minimal screening would make the same discovery. And any that doesn't (sure, they exist) would not be hooked into whatever mechanism or backchannel you're thinking of using to spread the word about an exaggerated, inflated, or even entirely fictional resume.

People do this. That's why interviewers check. And interviewers who check don't hire people who do this. You don't have a part to play in this beyond protecting your own agency from hiring or placing this person, which you did.

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Beyond simply declining to hire the candidate, does Acme have any further ethical responsibilities?

Besides not placing the candidate, I don't think there is anything further for you to do from an ethical or just plain ole professional point of view. You definitely can not spread the word, so to speak, about J. Doe being a bad candidate.

Something you could do is share the feedback you received with J. Doe in an attempt to help them grow or perhaps refine their resume.

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    I'd only speak to the candidate if there's a chance of a misunderstanding or jumping to conclusions. If they feel the need to falsify their experience, I'd argue that they're not the best person to be trying to help. – Bernhard Barker Oct 27 '17 at 18:10
  • "You definitely can not spread the word" - why not? That seems like a reasonable and civic-minded thing to do, to me. (Assuming you can prove the lie, of course - otherwise you're creating a legal risk.) – Mark Amery Dec 25 '17 at 15:03

I would say: it depends.

In general, you wouldn't hunt people with misrepresentation on their resume. That could even bounce back to you. And cost a lot of money in litigation.

However, if for instance the fraud is that someone claims he's a doctor and you find out that he isn't. And you later find out he's working somewhere else as a doctor. I would inform that company.

So my answer is: 90% of the times, just let it go, but there are situations where you actually have to. It depends on the actual fraud.

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Beyond simply declining to hire the candidate, does Acme have any further ethical responsibilities?

None at all including hiring the chap despite the dodginess. Businesses do not have clear cut ethical responsibilities. They have legal obligations.

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  • This question and most others on this site would not exist if legal obligations were all that mattered. – WBT Oct 28 '17 at 13:04
  • @WBT as far as business goes, they are all that matters. If the OP has asked on behalf of a person that would be different. But as a business ethics have no real part, and indeed legalities are just obstacles to accruing profit. – Kilisi Oct 29 '17 at 5:28
  • If the strict compliance with the law and only that are all that matter in the workplace, this site should be shut down and all relevant questions moved over to Law.SE. Alternatively, continue browsing and you might find some questions about professionalism and ethics that go beyond the law's requirements, even questions you yourself have asked. E.g. "Is there a good ratio of HR to staff?" According to legal obligations, it's probably 0 or 1 per 100% of staff. Is that the kind of answer you'd like? – WBT Oct 29 '17 at 18:55
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    @WBT I have no idea what you're on about, I'm talking about business not workplace. Obviously it's a subset rather than the whole thing. – Kilisi Oct 29 '17 at 20:03
  • If businesses do not have ethical responsibilities, people should have no ethical responsibilities to the business. We do have ethical responsibilities to each other, but not to a business. However, this "lie" is nothing personal, and entirely to the company. Thus, the chap did nothing unethical by lying on his resume. – Daniel Grover Oct 31 '17 at 16:08

From a professional perspective, doing anything more than weeding out the candidate of your own recruitment process would be unethical.

Reason is simple: The purpose of any for-profit company is to maximize its (financial) success. It is unethical to abuse it´s resources for other goals.

Volunteering Information to third parties takes your and their resources, and does not serve this goal from your perspective. Apart from that, it is possibly opening you up to all sorts of legal and data-protection issues the could pose a risk to your organisation.

You are offering to volunteer a service nobody ordered and nobody pays for!

Note: This answer would be different, if you where, for example, part of a network of entrepreneurs who mutually join forces to screen for bad candidates.

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