Investigating the legal risks relating to giving employment references and the issue of social responsibility. Practical guidelines for employers.
If you want to minimise your legal risks around the recruitment and appointment process, there are things you need to do as an employer, as well as things that you should definitely not do. One thing you should do, even if using a recruitment agency, is to use a properly drafted Application Form for your short-listed candidates, and not just rely on a CV. By doing this, you can pre-empt many potential issues and also ensure that you are legally covered as it pertains to doing background checks and the disclosure of personal information. It is not enough for employers to rely on the CV of an applicant for employment, even when using a recruitment agency. Every short-listed candidate should be required to fill out a properly drafted application form to prevent legal come-backs and to ensure the employer complies with the law on the Protection of Personal Information.
Over the years, there have been various media reports on high-profile employees (particularly politicians) who misrepresent their qualifications to their employer. In fact, for the 2017/18 financial year, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) uncovered 982 fraudulent qualifications including instances where qualifications were embellished or overstated and where employees have been dishonest in their job applications about their qualifications.
I am seeing this question a lot when debriefing clients post-interview. Here is what to AVOID: 1. Lying. 2. Being self-deprecating. 3. Being self-inflating. Two scenarios: A) If you didn’t/don’t get on with previous or current boss, explain that you HOPE she/he would call you professional, reliable, punctual, hard-working. Do NOT make it personal. B) If your previous/current boss thinks very highly of you, keep it to professional terminology too. “Awesome” is not a good way to describe YOURSELF! Above all, don’t lie! The person you are referring to, may be a reference who gets called if you are offered the job! Ultimately, we are not mind-readers! Answer the question professionally and unemotionally, and keep it BRIEF! Hiring Managers are testing your personality, first and foremost, with this question, NOT pre-checking references!
An update to South Africa's National Qualifications Framework has introduced criminal offences for the first time, and a false claim of a tertiary education can now be a very big deal – whether or not it gets you a job.
An offer of employment that is made and accepted in principle, even without agreement on all the terms or without formal documents signed, could legally mean that an employment relationship exist and ‘withdrawal’ of that offer would then constitute a dismissal. There are ways to ensure that this situation is avoided before recruitment negotiations have been finalised and final approvals obtained. Here’s how. By Judith Griessel