Job applicants turn CVs into a work of fiction

Job seekers
in the UK like to stretch the truth on their CVs, according to research conducted
by MORI.

The survey of
over 1,000 staff for CVvalidation shows that more than a quarter have misled
potential employers.

The most common untruths concern personal skills and
qualities. Nearly 15 per cent of staff didn’t believe it is wrong to exaggerate
previous experiences when applying for a job in order to stand out from other

But the research shows that employers are becoming
increasingly vigilant, with half of employers performing checks on the background
of applicants. Most contact referees (83 per cent) or previous employers (75
per cent).

The other half of the 345 managers surveyed indicate that
their organisations rely on the honesty of applicants or do not have the time
or understanding to undertake checks.

Less than a third of employers contact the relevant
educational institutions. One in ten of these organisations already employ the
services of a specialist checking firm, with a fifth of managers saying that
their organisation would employ a company to check CVs if they had been aware
of their existence.

Employees were questioned about whether they had lied about:
salary, work experience, roles and responsibilities, qualifications, leisure
interests and demographics such as their age and driving licence.

The key findings include one third admit to lying on their
CVs while applying for jobs; 18 per cent think that it is often necessary to
exaggerate on their CV in order to stand out favourably from other applicants; one
in five think that failing to mention jobs/roles that didn’t work out when
applying for a job isn’t lying, it is just not drawing attention to them; nearly
a fifth of workers believe that employers don’t check up on what is written or
said when they apply for a job; 6 per cent say that if an employer discovered
that they had been untruthful to them they would say that they had made a
mistake/typing error in their application; and 5 per cent have lied about their
educational history.

More than a third of organisations state that untruths and exaggerations
had cost their firm significant time and money.

Both men and those aged under 34 are most likely to have
been untruthful, with more than a third of male workers having lied while
applying for jobs, compared to a quarter of women.

By Karen Higginbottom

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