Recruitment & Hiring

Creative CVs: The most common lies told by job seekers in their resumes

Martin Kovacs /

Almost one fifth of job seekers in the Asia Pacific region admit to having lied on their CV or resume when applying for a job, while a large majority of Australian hiring managers say they’ve ruled out job candidates after discovering false of exaggerated information on their CV.

These findings come from two separate pieces of research into how creative job applicants are getting with their CVs, and how likely they are to be caught out by employers.

Research from YouGov has found that 18% of Asia Pacific residents admit to having lied on their CV, while 5% would “prefer not to say” if they’ve ever lied to tried to get a job.

The research surveyed more than 9000 job residents of Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to the research, experience is the most likely area of embellishment (44%), with personal interests (32%), how long respondents had spent in a job (30%) and education or qualifications (30%) also among common CV lies.

While younger generations are more likely to have lied on their CV overall (20% of those aged under 45, compared to 14% of those aged over 45), older job seekers were found to be more likely to tell more lies.

Older job seekers are more likely to lie about their age (26% compared to 16%), the length of time they spent in a job (37% compared to 29%) and their current salary (28% compared to 21%).

Read more: How to pick a shonky resume

Meanwhile, a survey of 460 general hiring managers, commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half, the research, found 68% of managers had ruled a job candidate out of consideration after discovering dishonest or exaggerated information on their CV.

According to these managers, applicants most commonly included dishonest or exaggerated information related to work experience (60%), education/degrees/qualifications (48%) and technical skills (48%).

Language skills (30%), duties performed in previous roles (30%), internships (25%), leadership skills (21%) and project management skills (18%) were also found to be common areas of dishonesty or exaggeration.

“Many businesses take background checks very seriously, which is made even easier thanks to increased online transparency and social media,” Andrew Morris, Robert Half Australia director, stated.

“Once untruthfulness has been discovered, candidates’ professional credibility has been damaged, and their chances of landing the job will be very slim to none, even though they might be ideal for the role.”

Even minor embellishments are being picked up on by prospective employers, with Morris noting that the consequences could “come back to haunt professionals throughout their career”, resulting not only in loss of employment but also damage to reputation.

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Martin Kovacs

Martin Kovacs is a journalist with experience covering the IT, consumer electronics, retail, finance and energy sectors.

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