Lying on your resume is never a good idea, but the temptation is too great for some job applicants to resist. A perfect deception is a very hard thing to pull off, though, which is why you’ll periodically hear about someone getting caught not having the credentials they said they did and having to face the proverbial/professional music.
In the latest such case, a city employee in Kobe was dismissed from his position last Friday. An investigation discovered that the man, a 48-year-old employee with the municipal waterworks bureau, has a four-year university degree, but had claimed differently when applying for, and obtaining, a job with the department back in 1996.
So if he concealed the truth that he’d graduated from a four-year program, then a post-graduate degree, maybe even a doctorate, must have been a pre-requisite for the job, right? Nope. As it turns out, the employee was fired not for being secretly underqualified for the job, but secretly overqualified. The position he applied for specifically stated that it was for applicants whose highest level of education was high school or below (in Japan, compulsory education stops after junior high).
The man claims that at the time he applied for the job, he wasn’t aware that his higher education level would be an issue. However, following a 2006 incident in which a number of Kobe city employees were found to have given false information regarding their education, the man once again gave his as “high school graduate” when asked to reconfirm his resume contents. In March, though, city officials received an anonymous tip regarding the man’s university education, and the resulting investigation led to his dismissal.
Ending the 24-year career of someone who was apparently good enough at his job to be retained for all that time over having too much education definitely feels like backwards logic in many ways, but it’s likely the situation isn’t quite that simple. For starters, “I didn’t tell the truth, but it’s OK because I’m good at my job” is never an attitude that’s going to win you many points with the HR department. There may also be an issue that’s just as big, if not bigger, stemming from the position having a maximum education level to begin with. From a hirer’s standpoint, education is usually a the-more-the-better asset, so the presence of a cap suggests that the position the man applied for may have been specifically earmarked to help those with lower education levels, and by correlation less privileged family backgrounds, earn a living as a public employee.
In any case, the man is now out of a job, and ostensibly the department will be looking to hire a replacement, and so candidates will want to be completely forthright on their applications.
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