Would I Lie to You?

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 - CV Help, CV Tips, CV Writing, Job Advert, Job Application, job hunting, job search, Qualifications

Would I Lie to You?

Often I find in our InBox and Postbag, as well as on the forums we contribute to, that some of the most commonly asked questions from Job Seekers are about how far they can in their Job Search actually lie on your CV or lie on your job application?

In part, this activity has been increased by the recession: comedian Ian Lee investigated for the BBC’s One Show in February 2009.

Questions start out with a simple “Could I increase my exam grade” or “should I extend a period of employment” to cover up or reduce a period of unemployment; and the understandable “should I miss out a period of employment” because I fell out with an employer? After that they extend to “should I add a period of employment” or “should I add an experience” to get more job offers?

They then extend into the down right dangerous of “should I add an exam or qualification?” Now, with some we are talking about adding a qualification they do not yet have, such as an RSA typing certificate. But I have seen questions on forums – Yahoo! Groups is the worst – where often what seem to be poorly educated school leavers think that adding a driving qualification or even a medical qualification is “OK, and just part of the process for applying for jobs: everyone does it!”

Lying, stealing, cheating!

I will come back to lying in a moment, but if you think here that I am exaggerating the problem, then let us step up the grade of crime for a moment and consider stealing.

Now, much as though lying may be acceptable to some, I don’t know how anyone can justify stealing. But apparently, 80% of employees think stealing from an employer is acceptable. Further, in the case of lay-offs and redundancies, a February 2009 survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute showed that 60% of employees stole company data when they left their job in 2008. Commenting on the studies findings, Mike Spinney told BBC News: “They (employees) are making these judgements based out of fear and anxiety. People are worried about their jobs and want to hedge their bets. Our study showed that 59% of people will say ‘I’m going to take something of value with me when I go’.”

What is the cost of lying?

So, if most of your existing employees consider it OK to steal from your company, the cost of lying on a CV or Job Application must be considered by Job Applicants low then. But what is the actual cost?

Depends really, but the legal reality of lying on a Job Application is that you can be sacked instantly: no rights, no pay, just out the door. If you lied in certain job applications, then you could also be sued, and jailed – getting a bit more serious now, is it not?

But what is your risk of lying on a job application? So you are unemployed now, get a few weeks/months/years of work, and then get kicked out the door. At least you got paid in between, and that pays for a few beers or pair of shoes and food on the table. Plus most employers don’t check such things any way, if they like you, you are employed.

The cost of checking an employees entire background now is: £100. For the average worker, that is less than a days gross wage. The cost of wrong hire is estimated at three times annual salary.

That’s the cold call script that every employer in the UK is presently receiving form a Checkwell Decision Corporation of Canada, who’s UK operational base is in Swansea, which claims to be “one of the world’s largest providers of Human Resources Interviewing Services, specifically through its background checking and employee engagement brands.” Statistic’s from their UK employee background checking website include the following:

  • Reference Interviews: checking what you say your background is, actually is: 10% of job applicants have a red flag concern
  • Employment Verification: checking your employment history – 30% have a red flag
  • Criminal Records Check: court records of major convictions – 5% have a red flag (in line with general UK resident data of criminal convictions)
  • Employment and Credentials: checking your qualifications – 10% have a red flag
  • DVLA Driving License check: 35% of job applicants have a red flag

So, would a job applicant lie to you? I think it is safe to assume that yes, they would – and those that don’t will think its OK to steal from you once employed. When background checks are now so easily available from a number of suppliers, and even a simple GoogleCV check will bring up much information about a candidate, it still amazes me that more employers don’t make more use of these services. Secondly, as a job applicant, the definitive answer is becoming: Don’t Lie on Your CV and specifically your Job Application.

Good Luck!


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