CVs are supposed to provide a potential employer with an accurate, relevant summary of our qualifications and work history.
CVs are essential in filtering relevant candidates. But what happens when the perfect applicant turns out not to have a BA Hons or a PhD? What if they didn’t work for that major brand two years ago, despite claims to the contrary?
Both of the major areas of a CV, prior work history and education, seem to suffer from the “creative” malaise.
In a study of 900 CVs by the Risk Advisory Group, it was discovered that a worrying 54 per cent of the documents were disingenuous to a greater or lesser extent. Compared with past numbers, this study suggests an increase of 20 per cent of people garnishing their CVs with inaccurate or even fabricated employment details.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, 86 per cent decided to falsify their academic qualifications.
Time to name and shame. The guiltiest offenders are men in their early 30s. Statistics show that this group are 70 per cent more likely to “tweak” a little here and there in order to create an outstanding CV. This results in woeful inaccuracy and simple untruths, many of which may slip through the application process undetected.
The Risk Advisory’s Andrew Fisher has explained why this tendency towards inaccuracy is on the rise. Current concerns about the economy, the prolonged recession and slow recovery are just some of the factors behind doctored CVs.
Omitting roles from which the candidate has been fired or made redundant is commonplace. In a similar vein, the risk of poor references is mitigated by failing to mention certain employers. As for academic histories, it is all too common to discover that a degree was never undertaken or those A-levels grades are not as claimed.
One case study involved a lie on a CV about an MBA allegedly undertaken 15 years previously. This was given prominence on the applicant’s CV only to be subsequently discovered to be an untruth.
In fairness, the vast majority of these inaccuracies are the result of genuine error. It can be difficult to keep track of every academic award and qualification and it’s easy to leave out irrelevant past employments. After all, we are only human.
Nevertheless, deliberate untruths on a CV in order to meet the criteria for a specific role are becoming an increasing area of concern, with recruiters and client firms alike becoming ever more vigilant.
In an alarming and rather extreme case, a simple change of address meant that one applicant disguised the fact that his home had previously been searched by anti-terrorist services not once, but twice. It revealed nothing of any weaponry that may have been found at the location.
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