For the latest updates on Screening during COVID-19 – click here

Know For Sure - Is That CV Fact or Fiction…

When it comes to writing your CV, it is essential to try to make yourself stand-out, and it may be tempting to bend the truth a little. In recent research by Savoy Stewart, 39% of respondents admitted to lying on their CV, with 94% saying they would do it again. Out of those who lied, 79% got the job they had applied for, proving that employers need to be more serious about spotting lies on a resume.

There are many key areas where candidates can lie on their CV, from the basics such as their name and age, through to the details of their experience and qualifications. Here are the top 2 most common topics lied about on CV’s, and what to look for in a resume so that you can tell the fact from the fiction.

Education and Qualifications

The most common CV lie, YouGov finds that 40% of respondents who admitted to lying in some way on their CV admitted to falsifying or exaggerating their education and qualification results. This kind of lie is actually illegal and could be classed as ‘fraud by false representation’, which carries a maximum 10-year jail sentence.

YouGov also found that 63% of senior business decision makers view this as a ‘Very Serious’ lie, with a further 29% seeing this as ‘Quite Serious’. This is hardly surprising as often qualifications are essential in ensuring a worker possesses the correct knowledge to carry out their role, and a lie here will often mean the employee may not be effective in their role, or even not capable. There are also some industries where qualifications are essential, and a lack of compliance can land you as an employer in hot water, for example, chartered accountancy or teaching.

This is where education and qualification checking comes in. Conducting comprehensive checking is a critical safeguard against what is a very common vector of fraud. A Highest Education check verifies a candidates highest education, even if it isn’t relevant to the role, to ensure they are not trying to get the role under false pretences and have obtained the skills and experience they claim. Professional Registration checks are also crucial for regulated professions such as chartered accounting as we mentioned before, with these checks seeking to confirm the candidate’s registration with their fields governing body or regulator. Individuals who try to fake these specific qualifications may be doing so with malicious intent, and therefore pose a higher fraud risk to companies; A vital check, this allows employers in regulated industries catch those who seek to do harm.

References and Experience

Another common CV lie, altering or making up details relating to previous experience and roles can be done in many ways. For example, candidates may add role duties that were someone else’s, or even create roles that never existed with big name companies to impress potential employers. The most common form of this however, is when a candidate alters their start or end date of employment with a previous employer. Sometimes this can be done with the intent of making themselves seem more experienced, with YouGov finding that 35% of those who admitted to lying, did so by extending their employment in a previous role on paper.

It is worth noting however, that sometimes this can be done by mistake, for example adding a specific date to the end of your employment when you in fact just remember the general month. This may seem like a harmless thing to do as a candidate, however if a potential employer requests a reference from the role and there is a different end date, this can seem suspicious. It is therefore better to avoid putting a specific date if you don’t remember, and employers may choose to overlook slight discrepancies in dates for this reason.

Regardless of the intent, it is never a good idea to claim to have experience in roles, know how to use specific technology, or possess certain skills if it isn’t true. A very common background check, referencing is a process used to catch out any lies. With two core elements, referencing serves to verify your employment with a previous employer by confirming the candidate’s previous role and dates of employment, as well as substantive referencing to gain insight into their conduct and competence. Employers may choose to only conduct the former, however should consider both to gain a full picture of their potential new starter.

How can we help?

Keeping your business safe from dishonest candidates and compliant with all rules and regulations is paramount, and that's why we have a wide range of screening checks available to put your candidate to the test. Whether you are a small business with under 10 employees, or a fast-growing team of over 100, we build pre-employment screening solutions around you. Find more about the screening we offer and discuss your needs with one of our friendly experts today, or jump right in with our pay-per-candidate screening packages designed to give you the confidence you’re making the right hiring decision.