Aussie employees fudging their CVs: The six most common lies

Have you ever told a little white lie, slightly exaggerated or completely made up your CV to help you get a job? If you haven’t, your colleague has and possibly your boss too.

A new survey from job matchmaking site OneShift has found 56.7% of employers have come across job candidates who have lied on their CV.

The survey was sent to 23,000 businesses, but each question received a differing number of respondents, with most attracting a couple of hundred respondents.

OneShift chief executive Gen George told SmartCompany the result was higher than expected.

“It’s not something you think so many businesses would have encountered; however, the lies ranged from people fluffing up a role or exaggerating a job title to people making up references,” she says.

“It’s interesting how people still feel the need to lie, except employers said employees were still making mistakes on their CVs.”

The six most common areas to lie about on a CV were experience, references, communication or language skills, work-specific skills, age and criminal history.

Other topics which fell into the “other” category included education and salary.

Of the respondents, almost 40% reported having employees lie about their experience.

Whether it’s making up a fancy job title, extending the date of your employment or pretending you were a miracle worker at your previous job, it seems many of us are guilty of stretching the truth to try and secure a new job.

George says some workers also lie about their education, pretending they went to a more esteemed university.

“When applying for a role you might feel like there is a stigma toward people needing to have completed a university degree or needing to have attended a top university rather than gone to TAFE,” she says.

“As for salary, employees see this as a way to try and get more money. They inflate their previous salary and then ask for 10% more, but when you start prodding as to what they actually did in their role, it’s often clear if they’ve lied.”

Despite all the lies, 32.08% of employers found job applicants’ CVs were not appropriately tailored to the role.

More than 20% of respondents also found job seekers’ resumes contained irrelevant detail and 12.08% said CVs were too long.

Some people also need to spend more time proofreading, with 9.81% of employers reporting finding spelling mistakes in CVs.

George says employers now need to do some digging to ensure potential employees aren’t lying on their CVs.

“With the internet, you can google these things quite easily. Look at people’s LinkedIn profiles, see if they’re listed as an employee on the company website and even check their job history on Facebook,” she says.

“A job seeker can say they’ve been employed for the past 12 months, but their Facebook profile might show they’ve been travelling overseas.”

George says when it comes to references, employers need to make sure they don’t just trust the numbers supplied on a person’s resume.

“They could put down their mum as a reference. You should google the business, call its landline and ask to speak to the person listed to find out if they actually work at the company,” she says.

“I actually request job applicants provide a landline number, not a mobile, otherwise I could just be calling their aunty,” she says.

“Something I also do is make all job applicants write a 90 day plan during the interview of what they want to achieve in the role. Putting something together as simple as that you’ll be able to tell if they have the right skill set to do the job, especially if you then get them to talk through it.”


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