Selecting the best employee becomes more difficult every year. A person’s right to privacy is admirable and must be preserved, but it can be misused to give unfair advantage to dishonest, or unreliable, applicants. There are many applicants who would rather be truthful with employers, but they are conditioned to lie in order to succeed. For example, in the military a group of men is told to raise their hands if they have ever smoked marijuana. Those who are honest enough to raise their hands are told they will not get the opportunity to serve, and are told they can now leave. The ones who did not raise their hands, many of them liars, get the jobs.
People who have taken written honesty tests have learned they will pass if they deny everything. Just say you never stole, say you never knew anyone who did steal, say you think anyone who might steal should be punished in the worst way, and you pass. It is increasingly clear that applicants are taught to lie by the mechanisms employers design to measure integrity. Many applicants think that to be successful they have to look the employer right in the eye and lie. This reverse effect of screening out truthful people, and screening in sociopathic behavior sometimes appears to be unavoidable in today’s environment. So much information is now outside the realm of access to employers (sometimes even to the police) that a “clean record” means less and less.
At Western Security Consultants, we have gone to great lengths to turn the whole system upside down in order to reward truthfulness. We ask the applicant to explain what he has done, how it happened, and why he did it. If applicants are allowed to say they are just real people who have made real mistakes – then employers can say, “I can deal with that as long as I know the truth” – there should always be an opportunity to start a job honestly. For the past thirty years we have been doing that very successfully at Western Security. Here, applicants who say they have never done anything wrong in their whole lives go to the far end of the line.
For applicants we have two reports:
A. What you see is what you get and I will put my reputation behind what this person says.
B. This person may be truthful, but if it turns out there is more to the story, don’t call me.