Study: Honesty in workplace (and life) is lacking

Our newspaper’s attempts to hire good, qualified employees seems to be a never-ending process. It doesn’t matter if it’s news reporters, newspaper carriers or ad sales people, we have a need that likely needs filled.

And just like most businesses around the country, the hiring process these days has become even more challenging.

Perhaps most exasperating is when applicants take the time to send a resume applying for an advertised position, but then, inexplicably opt to ignore hiring managers’ phone calls and emails. It’s a phenomenon commonly known these days as “ghosting.”

As a young college graduate seeking employment, I never would have considered such disrespect of a potential employer. Now, to be sure, I participated in interviews for jobs I didn’t particularly want. Still, I went with the intent of hearing out the employer while also honing my interview skills. Yes, some might say that wasn’t completely honest, but at least I always made sure to respond to follow-up telephone messages left on my home landline. (I didn’t own a personal cellphone, and we didn’t email in the dinosaur age.) Of course, I don’t need to tell you, dear reader, how much things have changed.

Along with a basic courtesy of responding to messages, honesty is something that also might be falling by the wayside in the workplace — and generally, in life, I suspect.

A recent study of 6,100 Americans released by

bonusfinder.com determined that Ohioans rank ninth out of the 50 states in calling off sick from work when they aren’t really sick.

According to the study, 37.3 percent of Ohio’s workers admit to doing that. (The dubious first place title goes to Louisiana, where 45.3 percent of workers say they’ve called off sick when they weren’t ill.)

On the brighter side, Ohio did not rank high in the bonusfinder.com ranking of “the most dishonest states in America.” In fact, Ohio ranked 41 out of 50 states, with only 18.43 percent of Ohioans surveyed saying they lied often.

According to the study, Ohioans lied most to their friends, and lied most on the topic of their education.

The study indicated that, by far, the most common lie told in America is related to education. Whether it’s embellishing their degree, boosting their grades or even diminishing their schooling accolades, a whopping 32 states said they most often lie about this.

And getting back to the topic of hiring, the study indicates the second most common lie happens on Americans’ resumes or during job interviews. Slipping in a few fabrications when trying to get a new job is the most common lie in 22 U.S. states, including New Jersey, Indiana and Arizona.

That’s particularly concerning in my business where excellent credibility is a must for reporters.

Nearby Pennsylvania ranked 21st of 50 states in dishonesty. About 23 percent of people surveyed in the commonwealth admitted they lied often.

Rhode Island reported the highest rate of dishonesty at 40 percent. Least dishonest was Montana, at 10 percent. That tells me residents there are either very honest — or they just lie to survey takers asking about their honesty.

For the sake of honest disclosure, North Dakota actually ranked 50th in the study, but since the percentage of surveyed people who said they lied often was zero, I’ll presume there was some sort of accounting error. Additionally, an astounding 14.29 percent of surveyed North Dakotans boldly said they don’t lie at all.

Really? Let’s be realistic. No one is that honest.

And, just for fun, I perused whether lying is a more common trait among men or women.

The study said 26.15 percent of women admitted to regularly lying, while just 18.62 percent of men said they did — for a difference of 7.53 percent.

About 5.2 percent of men said they never, ever lie. (C’mon. Does anyone really believe that?) About 3.2 percent of women answered the same. (As a woman, I can say that’s much more believable!)

OK, enough of this fun. It’s time I get back to the task of hiring. I hope the applicants didn’t lie on their resumes.

And if they don’t answer my call, I sure hope they return my message.


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