Would you lie on your CV?

Have you ever sat outside the interview room palms sweating with that dull ache at...

Have you ever sat outside the interview room palms sweating with that dull ache at the bottom of your stomach as you internally beg the interviewers not to ask you about that specific project or show them that particular skill? Is that because what you wrote wasn’t quite the truth?

You have to be the best version of yourself going in to that interview but being a fake or fabricated version of yourself is never going to put you in the right frame of mind. We understand how tempting it can be to stretch the truth when it comes to your qualifications or that particular technical skill they are really looking for, but we advise doing so with caution. There is a fine line between manipulating facts and creating fiction. A line that can be destructive if crossed.

New research suggested that almost three quarters of employers surveyed claimed to have spotted a lie on an applicant’s CV. The outcome? 41% will instantly disregard the CV and 52% said their course of action would depend on what the candidate lied about. Unfortunately when this happens there is little we can do to convince them otherwise.

The researchers found that most commonly, lies told in job applications relate to the following:

  • Salary history
  • Your responsibilities/experience or length of time at an employer
  • Past firings or ‘forced’ resignations
  • Using friends or relatives ‘secretly’ as references.

The first three in particular are easily uncovered as part of a verification process.  Whilst it is undoubtedly important to do what you can to put your best foot forward, we wonder if it is really worth it? If you lie on your CV or in an interview and the truth is uncovered later down the line it can result in dismissal without a reference and at worst could lead to more severe consequences depending on the situation/company.

Word spreads quickly in many industries and getting caught lying in an interview could adversely affect your opportunities with other employers. Furthermore, as hard as we try, it is not easy for us to sell a candidate that has black mark against their name.

Of course you need to come across as well as you possibly can but try to find a middle ground, moulding the truth slightly to make it more in line with the role is fine, relating your skills and experience in a way that is relevant and enthusiastic is encouraged but big whoppers are to be avoided at all costs.

Some candidates we find use the same CV for each position, but a great point to note is that many enjoy great success by tailoring it for specific roles.  If the spec asks for a certain skill, which you have used but not thought to put on the CV, make sure you get it on there and explain the context in which it was used.  Often just writing the “skill” on the CV is also not sufficient, clients much prefer reading about how it has been used/implemented on a specific project for example.

As specialist recruiters it is our job to put the best candidates in front of our clients, if you weren’t a strong candidate then you wouldn’t be there, so try to keep that in mind if you are ever tempted to bend the truth.  Just go in and be the best you can be!

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”

Mark Twain