What’s the point of getting a job if you cheat your way into it?

Students who use fraud in the job-hunting process might get informal offers from companies, only to realize they are a poor fit for the position. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this,” they may lament. It is unfortunate for both students and companies.

The Metropolitan Police Department has arrested Nobuto Tanaka, an employee of Kansai Electric Power Co., on suspicion of illegal creation and usage of private electromagnetic records. He allegedly impersonated a job-hunting female university student and took an online corporate test to assess job applicants’ aptitude, which was conducted by a company based in Tokyo, in her place.

Tanaka is suspected of having taken the test on his computer at the request of the student by using her ID and password. She passed the test, but withdrew from the screening process when the incident was revealed. The police then sent papers to prosecutors concerning the student.

Online job recruitment tests assess an applicant’s character as well as their math and reading comprehension abilities. Students have to clear this hurdle to get to the interview stage. Although it has been strongly suspected that phony online test-taking is rampant, this is believed to be the first time that a case has been uncovered.

The recruitment process is an opportunity for companies to find the talent they are looking for, and for students to find jobs that suit them. Proxy test-taking can only be called an act that destroys the relationship of mutual trust between companies and students, and is unacceptable.

Tanaka allegedly advertised himself as a graduate of Kyoto University’s graduate school on social media, and took online tests in place of job seekers for several thousand yen per case. He was quoted as saying that he had been involved in at least 4,000 cases so far, and police believe he raked in about ¥10 million.

The female student reportedly asked Tanaka to take tests for her for more than 20 companies.

An increasing number of companies are conducting online aptitude tests. Being able to take the tests at home has advantages such as preventing students from gathering at one place during the coronavirus pandemic and making it easier for students in rural areas and overseas to take the tests.

Meanwhile, in a survey of 1,200 students conducted by a job information provider, nearly 10% of respondents said they had “experience with cheating” in online recruitment tests.

Students and other job seekers may take it lightly, thinking that “everyone around me is doing it too.” But they should be aware that committing wrongdoing in job-hunting activities can lead to criminal charges. Companies also need to focus on preventive steps against such irregularities.

This year, a cheating incident hit a common test for university admissions when a test-taker asked outside parties for answers using a smartphone.

If people in younger generations are feeling less guilty about wrongdoing, it is a serious situation. This may be because advances in information technology have made it easier to find collaborators in fraudulent acts.

University entrance exams and job hunting are important opportunities for students to think about what they want to do in the future. It is hoped that focusing solely on which universities they can get into or which companies they can enter will not make them lose sight of what they really want to do in life.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 1, 2022)