Qualifications: James Bond?

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009 - cv security, Employment, Job Application, job search, Legal, Professional CV, professionalism, Qualifications

Qualifications: James Bond?

Daniel Craig

The world of spying and that of employment rarely cross, but it occurs to me that today many spies are far more exposed thanks to the ease of verifying qualifications. When to do so successfully now definitively needs the power and authority of a national government, why do a number of job seekers and job applicants persist in falsifying qualifications?


I watched on Sunday the UK network premier of the Steven Spielberg film Munich, a film based on a book written by a supposed Israeli secret service Mossad agent. The book and film story tell how the Israeli Government authorised the assassination of the leadership of then Palestinian militant group Black September, after the massacre of 11 Israeli coaches and competitors at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Of the 11 Black September leaders, the group according to the book and film successfully tracked down eight in three years, but never managed to get the leader Ali Hassan Salameh, a Palestinian playboy who married a former Miss Universe.

What I have since read reveals that after five failures, Mossad used a supposed British national Erika Chambers, who having worked with refugee Palestinain charities in the UK was invited to Beirut in late 1978. With a back story of a degree from Southampton University and a 1975 British passport, in 1979 she took an apartment on a road frequently used by Salameh, and having engineered a meeting and getting close to him, played a part in the detonation of 100Kgs of explosive on January 23rd, 1979 which killed him. Chambers and at least 14 other Mossad agents then left Lebanon.

Verifying Qualifications

What intrigued me about the story, was that of background. Spies are only as effective in the field as defined by the credibility of their back story, and their field operations training. To have an effective back story, one which is credible with the target audience, they need the right paperwork, which includes supporting qualifications. Think about it, even things as far back as primary school would be needed to create an effective deep back story, and most posing as trading business professionals would need a degree level qualification or two from a suitable institute.

Now, accepting passports are difficult to verify, the ease of confirming an education thanks to modern internet based tools becomes far easier. For the sum of £25, the National Curriculum Authority will verify any UK qualification; for around £50, they will provide a complete educational history!

I don’t deal in the world of spies or spying, but I do deal in the world of employment, where credible qualifications are often high on most professional employers job description requirements. So, if a job applicant applies for a post, and a full background check costs less than £100, do you think that the fact you falsified the odd O Level, let alone a degree or a professional qualification, won’t come to light?

The problem actually with such errors is that not only are you excluded from job, you have probably excluded yourself from that employment agency, recruiter, head hunter, and employer. Many now share information in professional groups, so that is the minimum of damage to your future employment prospects.

When today employers operating insurance depends on their people having the right qualifications, do you think yours won’t get checked? You can be sacked instantly without notice period or compensation from any job after lying in your job application, and placed in jail in some instances.

So, when considering creatively improving your job application, think again. If even James Bond would be challenged to create a credible back story to save Queen and country, and be willing to lay down his life; are you prepared to sacrifice your future career for a qualification lie?

Good Luck!


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