One in five Britons applying for jobs lies on their resume or CV, with some adding false qualifications, difficulties with previous jobs and even overlooking the fact they have a criminal record.
An annual survey by employee screening specialists The Risk Advisory Group of more 3,700 CVs submitted this year found discrepancies on candidates' CVs were becoming more serious than simple mistakes.
The number of CVs that contained discrepancies was on the increase, with more than half of those screened containing one or more inaccuracy.
Sal Remtulla, TRAG head of employee screening, said: "This year's results have yet again brought to our attention how unscrupulous candidates can be when applying for jobs, and highlight their apparent lack of conscience towards potential new employers.
"The serious nature of these discrepancies emphasises the need for heightened attention during the recruitment process," he added. Examples of resume lies included one financial services candidate claimed he had worked for three months in Japan before resigning to return to the UK.
A reference said the candidate had "left in traumatic circumstances". When questioned further, the referee told TRAG that the candidate was arrested and charged with shoplifting and assaulting a shop assistant, for which he was fined and returned to the UK.
In another case, a potential recruit for an Financial Services Authority-registered position was found to have been the subject of an internal investigation by her previous employer, which revealed that she had been divulging sensitive information to a competitor.
The results of this investigation were reported to the authority. The company further advised that the candidate resigned as a consequence, as there had been a breakdown in the relationship between employer and employee.
A candidate for a manufacturing company declared he had been dismissed by one of his former employers, which was subsequently confirmed.
This was not, however, the only occasion that the candidate's employment had been terminated.
The candidate's most recent employer was only prepared to confirm his dates of employment, although there were other comments to be made.
Yet another previous employer confirmed he had been fired because of his bad attitude, poor work and poor timekeeping although this was not what the candidate had stated as his reason for leaving.
One candidate for an American investment bank stated he attended a prestigious UK university on undergraduate and postgraduate courses and provided copies of his graduation certificates to the HR department.
The university's student records department advised TRAG that the candidate was never a registered student at the University at any time and had never been awarded any qualification.
The candidate's certificates were forgeries and had not been not issued by the university. A new university in the same city was contacted and confirmed that the candidate actually attended their university for four years but left without graduating.
Credit checks conducted on a potential recruit of an investment bank revealed that the candidate had five county court judgements registered against his name, for a total amount of £3,330, at an undeclared address.