[IPAC-List] applicants misrepresenting their experience

Johnson, Thomas H. johnsont at CityofRochester.gov
Fri Sep 12 13:56:22 EDT 2014

Hi Natasha.

We do not have procedures that reliably catch inconsistencies across applications but we do identify them from time to time.  Usually, it is an appointing authority who calls into question information provided by a candidate.

Different answers to the same question do not automatically mean there has been a lie.  If you ask me about an experience leading a team, I could describe many of them.  I might vary it from application to application based on the job I am applying for.  I may vary it in hopes of improving my test score.

We have been known, though, to contact candidates to alert them that there are apparent inconsistencies, conflicting information, or doubts raised about the reported experiences.  Under our rules, it is the candidate's responsibility to demonstrate qualifications to the satisfaction of our Civil Service Commission.  We invite the candidate to submit additional verification, meet with us to review information, or to otherwise appeal.  Sometimes we resolve the questions in favor of the candidate, but, if necessary, we pursue disqualification.  Our rules require that candidates be provided with opportunity to "submit facts and explanation to oppose disqualification" before a final decision is made.

These situations can be time-consuming to deal with, as well as potentially contentious, so we do not initiate these steps often or without a good reason.

We expect candidates to report accurately and clearly.  However, candidates try to respond --- in their own best interest and with the guidance of career counselors --- by putting the best possible spin on experiences, using current buzzwords and ambiguous descriptions, etc.  Often, they do not actually lie but, instead, stretch the truth as far as possible.

The challenge is to craft questions that constrain the ability to spin.

Thomas Johnson, HR Coordinator
City of Rochester
Department of Human Resource Management
30 Church Street (Room 103A)
Rochester NY 14614

Phone (585) 428-7242
Fax (585) 428-6651

From: Natasha K. Riley [mailto:Natasha.Riley at omes.ok.gov]
Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2014 10:05 AM
To: ipac-list at ipacweb.org
Subject: [IPAC-List] applicants misrepresenting their experience

IPAC List:

We have begun using experience-based questionnaires to rank candidates for clerical and entry level jobs where we had used multiple-choice tests before.  The questionnaire is part of each application submitted, and a separate application is required for each posted vacancy for which the applicant wants to be considered.  For those of you using these types of questionnaires, I'm wondering what you do when you see a candidate with applications for several vacancies in the same job and the answers they give are not consistent from application to application.  So, it appears that the applicant is misrepresenting his experience by giving different answers to the same questions.  Do you have procedures in place to catch this?  What do you do with the applications when you find this?  Do you remove the candidate from the lists?  If so, do they have appeal rights?

Thanks in advance for weighing in on this!

Natasha Riley
Director of Assessment and Testing Services
State of Oklahoma
Human Capital Management
Office of Management and Enterprise Services
natasha.riley at omes.ok.gov<mailto:natasha.riley at osf.ok.gov>

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