Background checks | Woman accused of lying about criminal convictions in school job application

Woman accused of lying about criminal convictions in school job application

A woman has been accused of lying in a job application to an Oxford primary school about her previous convictions, highlighting the need for thorough background checking.

Oxford Mail reports that Iria Suarez-Gonzales is facing court over one count of fraud by false representation. It is alleged that she stated in a job application to West Oxford Primary School that she had no previous convictions – but this was a lie.

This case highlights how important background checks are when placing candidates. 2017 stats from CareerBuilder revealed that 56% of employers have found a lie on a CV – but there are some ways that recruiters can double check they aren’t being duped.

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  • Check qualifications with the institute that they were obtained. You could ring universities or schools to ensure your candidate really got the grades they claim to have.

  • Test your candidates. If they are required to have a certain technical skill, a quick test at the interview stage can quickly determine if they are being truthful.

  • Always follow-up on references.

  • Ask the candidate about any gaps in employment. While most career gaps are absolutely fine and shouldn’t stand in the way of the applicant getting a job, it might save you discovering something unpleasant at a later date.

While rules for working in schools obviously need to be strictly observed, some organisations are arguing that forcing people to disclose crimes that they committed a long time ago will prevent them from getting a job, that could help them move away from a future in crime.

‘Ban the Box,’ for example, is a campaign started by Unlock, a charity which aims to scrap the mandatory tick-box application forcing people with convictions to disclose a criminal past.

Last year, Bristol City Council became the first local authority in the UK to use job applications that will not ask candidates about their criminal records. Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, believes the move will improve pathways into work for those with convictions.

He said: “Everyone applying for a job at the council should be given the same encouragement and opportunity irrespective of their background.

“Bristol is a place where the opportunities to share in the city’s success are not evenly distributed and barriers exist that prevent some from fulfilling their potential.

“Our aim is to remove one of those barriers and send a message that we’re interested in getting to know the person applying for the job first and begin our conversation there.”

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