A study, published by The Risk Advisory Group, examined 3,700 CVs submitted by job applicants in 2006. It revealed that not only do one-fifth of applicants lie on their CVs, but that the majority of these discrepancies are quite serious and not just simple mistakes.
Many people omitted information such as County Court judgements, not declaring directorships and disclosing inaccurate academic qualifications.
Other screened-for inaccuracies include discrepancies in employment and academic dates, bankruptcy and other credit infringements. The results showed that more than half of all CVs contain at least one mistake.
Sal Remtulla, head of employee screening for The Risk Advisory Group, says: “This year’s results have yet again brought to our attention how unscrupulous candidates can be when applying for jobs.”
Often employers are put off checking CVs because of the cost factor involved. However, the cost of hiring unsuitable candidates can be enormous – with the case of Nick Leeson, who brought down 233-year-old Barings Bank, being one of the most high-profile examples.
In hindsight it seems that the bank missed a number of discrepancies during Leeson’s application process. He lied on his CV about a number of County Court judgements and his educational qualifications but this didn’t stop the Queen’s personal bank from hiring him to trade in Singapore.
A further example is the case of a financial services candidate who claimed that he had worked for three years in Japan. A reference said that the candidate had “left in traumatic circumstances”.
When questioned further, the referee revealed that the candidate was arrested and charged with shoplifting and assaulting a shop assistant, for which he was returned to the UK.
“The serious nature of discrepancies emphasizes the need for heightened attention during the recruitment process,” Remtulla says.