Embellishing the contents of a CV and stretching the truth on an application
form have long been considered standard behaviour for jobseekers. But new
research shows that British candidates are among the worst exaggerators in the
HR managers in the UK believe that candidates exaggerate the reality of
their previous job, bend the truth about skills, underplay their weaknesses and
lie about why they left their last post.
In fact, Irish and British interviewees are the most likely to exaggerate
the content of their previous roles, with 50 per cent and 49 per cent
respectively happy to fib at a job interview.
UK candidates are also joint world leaders in lying about the level of their
management skills, with 29 per cent perceived to be economical with the truth.
The Accountemps poll also illustrated the reluctance of candidates to be
drawn on their previous roles, with two-thirds failing to identify the reason
behind their downfall, and 22 per cent not fully communicating why they left
their last post.
The survey of more than 1,500 HR professionals across the globe looked at
the prevalence of interview exaggeration in some of the world’s leading
According to HR managers, the best way to leave a lasting impression with
the interviewer is to ask lots of relevant questions (38 per cent) and have a
good knowledge of the company (23 per cent).
In the rest of Europe, the Germans are most likely to overstate their
management skills (29 per cent) and exaggerate their levels of education (16
The French have a prevalence for over-emphasising their knowledge of other
languages (23 per cent), along with the Belgians (18 per cent) and Germans (11
do interviewees exaggerate?
skills (%) The real content of their
former job (%)
Australia 22 33
Belgium 14 28
France 16 29
Germany 29 24
Holland 29 24
Ireland 21 50
New Zealand 24 33
UK 29 49
By Ross Wigham