63% of CVs contain lies, SME owners warned

Businesses warned to step up checks on new employees as extent of CV lies is revealed – Gen Y are worst offenders and job title inflation is on the rise.

The Risk Advisory Group is warning employers to be extra vigilant when recruiting new staff as the number of people being inaccurate or telling lies on their CVs – and the sophistication of the lies they are telling – reaches new heights. Analysis of 3,000 CVs by employee screening experts at The Risk Advisory Group has found that despite us revealing more about ourselves online than ever before, 63% of CVs contain discrepancies – a rise of 15% in the last decade.

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And although men and women were equally likely to lie on their CV, it seems that 25 – 32 year olds are the worst offenders. 35% of discrepancies came from this age group, suggesting that the ambition of #Gen Y’ may be driving them to bend the truth.

26% of all the CVs analysed contained mistakes relating to academic background, with 35% containing discrepancies about employment history. The analysis also identified a growing trend for candidates to embellish their job positions, with 12% inflating their job titles in an attempt to climb the career ladder and many replacing words such as ‘graduate’ or ‘intern’ with ‘manager’ or ‘supervisor’.

Candidates have not just been economical with the truth but continue to fabricate entire stories in order to get ahead or hide an unsavoury past, including:

  • A senior compliance applicant creating a fictional employment history to cover up past misdemeanours involving time served in prison for stealing client money
  • A candidate building a website for a fictional school and arranging for a virtual office to answer calls acting as the school; all to create an inflated academic background in a desperate bid to secure a work experience placement with a leading bank
  • A candidate creating a work history overseas to cover up the time he spent in prison for drug offences
  • Candidates forging degree certificates
  • Candidates presenting degrees from bogus universities in India, Pakistan and, increasingly, the UAE

Commenting on the findings, Michael Whittington, Head of Employee Screening at The Risk Advisory Group, says, “In today’s digital world we share more information about ourselves online than ever before – yet our analysis shows that this is not stopping people being economical with the truth when they are hunting for jobs. Recruiting from an increasingly global talent pool just exacerbates the problem by making it even more difficult to get the information you need to verify a candidate’s background, with a lot of data not readily available.”

“Making a bad hire can be a costly mistake for any business. According to estimates from The CIPD, recruiting the wrong person can cost as much as £12,000 for senior managers or directors. It also wastes time and can be damaging to the business’ reputation. That’s why we urge companies to balance the need to hire quickly with the need to validate the credentials of who they are hiring. Too much automation in employee screening process can mean that critical details and discrepancies are missed. There really is no substitute for human insight and analysis to check that candidates’ CVs match the reality.”

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