True or false: are you who you say you are on your CV?

July 28, 2016 Geoffroy De Lestrange


Is it ever a good idea to lie on your CV? The CV is still essential and with only a piece of paper to get across a wealth of experience and skills, employers can easily fail to spot a false statement. According to an analysis of 3,000 CV’s by the Risk Advisory Group, 63% of CV’s contain lies and this has risen 15% in the last decade.


Failing to spot these false discrepancies such as mistakes in academic background, and employment history during recruitment can amount to the wrong hiring decisions being made, which is ultimately costly in both time and money to organisations.


So how can you make sure you make the right hire?


  1. Focus on four areas - Education, employment dates, job titles and skills. These core competencies should be discussed at the first stage and then further in depth during face-to-face interviews. Before offering the candidate the job, companies can screen applicants and contact the applicant’s existing employer via LinkedIn to re-check credentials.
  2. Achievements and rewards – A candidate will be keen to express that they have reached a target, been given a promotion, or worked as part of a team to complete a project. Check for self-acclamations and question these by asking for more details about them, or use the candidate’s cover letter and address the statements made during the interview. It may also be appropriate in some industries to ask for a copy of certifications, such as bachelor degrees and industry-specific qualifications to ensure the candidate is qualified for the role.
  3. Covering up – When asking questions, it’s important to address previous positions especially if they relate to, or are within the same industry as the job role the candidate has applied for. Ask direct questions about previous roles. Why did you leave your previous role? If made redundant, what was the reason? 
  4. References – These are essential when recruiting, and references  should be provided by the line manager of the candidate. When interviewing the candidate, it is a good idea to ask for the company email and phone number of their current and past line manager so you can obtain a valid reference yourself. Be sure to verify things like the candidate’s job titles and accomplishments referenced in their CV to be sure the facts are correct. It may also be useful to contact another previous employer of the candidate to be certain. Sites such as LinkedIn can also be useful for checking the candidate (and the candidate’s references) are who they say they are.


Although recruiting top talent isn’t a simple task, companies should balance the need to rush the hiring process. Using the internet or social recruitment software can help recruiters reach targeted talent directly, and improve the recruiting strategy. Recruiters will find this makes it easier to manage assessments and is an open source for background checks.


Finally, you want to remember to search for inconsistencies, and compare and question what is on a CV against what you ask a candidate. Some companies even hire background check providers who provide a screening process on applications and check that all critical details and discrepancies aren’t missed. 


About the Author

Geoffroy De Lestrange

Product Marketing & Communication Director EMEA at Cornerstone OnDemand

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