Lying on CV? Dave’s Suit says Yes!

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 - Blog, CV Advice, CV Tips, Lying on CV

Lying on CV? Dave’s Suit says Yes!

NB: this blog and the law say strongly, NO!

To coincide with tonights launch on UK television channel Dave of the hit US drama Suits, the channel decide to investigate the amount of lying that typical UK Job Seekers think or deem necessary in the present job market to get employed.

In background, the summary of Suits is as follows:

Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) is a brilliant college dropout. Mike’s childhood dreams of becoming a lawyer are derailed after unforeseen circumstances, including having to care for his beloved grandmother. Naturally intelligent and with an eidetic memory, Mike makes a living taking tests for other people. Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) is one of New York City’s top attorneys who has recently been promoted to senior partner at his firm, and is forced by company policy to hire an associate. After an accidental interview with Mike, Harvey is impressed by the younger man’s quick wits, his encyclopedic knowledge of the law, and his genuine desire to be an attorney, and hires him. Due to the fact that Mike lacks a law degree, and because the firm prefers Harvard alumni, they both pretend that Mike is a Harvard graduate.

So, what’s does Dave’s survey of 2000 current job seekers reveal? Some quite interesting statistics:

  • 60% are happy to lie during an interview
  • 33% apply for jobs despite knowing they are unqualified for the role
  • 25% embellish their CVs to increase their chances
  • 40% said being able to blag their way into a job was more important than the right qualifications.
  • 17% have lied about the breadth/depth of their previous responsibilities. Closely followed about lies about: age; having a degree; marital status; and even having children!
  • 10% have made up a reference, often using family members if called on by a potential employer to actually speak to that referee

Spokesman for Dave Steve North said: “It’s a tough time and job hunters are going to great lengths to bag a job.”

What are my thoughts? I have always been quite open about the fact that I have learnt a lot from CV Liars, often as much as learning from successful job seekers and those who are less successful. In fact, one of my biggest lessons was learnt from CV Liars: successful job search is not all about CV’s, qualifications and experience. It is as much about human connection and creating rapport throughout your job applications, as everything else.

But here’s the bottom line, particularly in a career choice as the character in Suits makes. Lying on your CV is not illegal, but lying on the employers job application is. You can be instantly sacked, without compensation, and sued when you are found out.

When are you likely to be found out? Most are successfully ejected either at the interview stage, or at the pre-employment checking stage. Qualifications are easy to check these days, and cost a few pounds compared to the thousands of pounds that a bad hire or a not-qualified hire would cost a company. References and relationships between people can also easily be checked, almost for free these days.

So do I condone lying on a CV? Taking into account the risks and costs that you take in doing so, and that being honest up front can get you where you want to – “Look, I don’t have the required qualifications or experiences, but I would really like to work for your company” – that’s a complete NO!

If you like the look of a job and a company, make a connection and ask. They might so no to that opportunity, they probably won’t say no to you. Plus you’ll never get frog-marched out of the premises and get sued for being honest.

Good Luck!


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