Lies, damn lies and CVs . . .

Feb 17 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Eight out of ten job applicants admit to lying on their CV to secure a vacancy, with a similar proportion lying during a job interview, research has found.

A survey by law firm Peninsula and Portfolio Payroll also found that almost half of employees lied on their CV to get their current job, with two-thirds saying that they felt their ‘creativity’ had helped them land the role.

Candidates most commonly lied about their qualifications, closely followed by their skills and experience. And almost seven out of ten used a friend as a reference. Almost two-thirds of applicants got outside help to compile their CVs.

A 2002 survey by the Risk Advisory Group found that the proportion of job applicants with discrepancies had risen 15 per cent on the previous year. The worst offenders during 2002 were women in their late twenties and men in their late thirties, with two-thirds of applicants in each group having some form of discrepancy on their CVs.

IT contractors, were particularly liable to lies or omissions, with seven out of ten CVs proving less than truthful.

Portfolio Payroll’s Peter Done said that this situation was made worse by the fact that nearly half of companies do not carry out checks on the accuracy of CVs to uncover untruthful applicants.

Companies put in place policies to verify easily-checkable information such as qualifications and previous experience, he added.

"The employment of a recruitment team that scrutinises job applicants will help to avoid these hiring mistakes.

"I know that appointing a dedicated member of staff to handle recruitment issues is beyond the means of smaller firms - a simple call to an ex-employer will give you an idea of the personality and work-rate of the prospective employee.

"Managers are running scared as the amount of employment legislation increases and feel it is getting increasingly difficult to get rid of bad staff, making the original decision more important.

"Perhaps it is wise for companies to impose a probationary period on successful job applicants that will act as a trial.

"This will mean that the company has no obligation to employ the candidate long-term and gives them a chance to see if the selection was a wise one,” he said