Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Recruiters beware: this man is dangerous!

The man above is Trevor. Trevor works for a financial services organisation in Bristol in the South West of England.

He may look innocent, but in fact he's the most dishonest man in the world. If you are in any way involved in the recruitment sector, you need to be very, very wary of him.

Let me tell you why.

A number of separate research projects have revealed some disturbing facts about the truthfulness of candidates' CV. Here are the chilling results of these surveys:
  • In a recent study of 3700 CVs by the Risk Advisory Group, 20% were found to contain significant untruths concerning matters such as experience and academic qualifications.
  • The same study revealed over 50% of CVs included one or more accuracy, such as the real reason for leaving the most recent job.
  • A separate survey (by Powerchex) found that UK job applicants were three times more likely to lie on their CVs than those from the rest of the world.
  • This survey also found that 22% of British applicants' CVs contained either falsehoods or embellishments
  • In contrast only 4% of CVs from Asian candidates contained dodgy information.
  • The worst discrepancy rate was in the financial services sector in the South West of England where 25% of CVs were found to have at least one discrepancy.
  • The most honest applicants came from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • A further study by Experian revealed that 12% of men, but only 7% of women admit to lying on their CVs
  • According to the CIPD, 20% of British workers are prepared to get a parent or friend to pose as a referee.
So you can see why Trevor is to be feared. He's male. He's From the UK. He's from the South West. He works in financial services.

The public are warned. Do not approach this man. He is thought to be armed with a deadly weapon.

His CV.

Further frightening reading from the dungeons of HR Case Studies: Always tell the truth. That way, you don't have to remember what you said (Mark Twain)


  1. Interesting!

    So for me the instant question is; what's wrong with recruitment in the UK? Is it too focused on grades and degrees? Do employers need to stop sending out the message that those who do not fall into a rigid set of measurements, Need Not Apply?

    Are people being forced to lie just to gain consideration? Or is this just what happens in a competitive market?

  2. My company is very stringent about where degrees come from and what scores they got on their A Levels. But we don't just hire blindly, people come in and are subjected to both a logic test (if a developer) or a first and second interview (usually a presentation) if they are working in a management facility, sales, or marketing. When I moved here from overseas I had no idea that I needed to put my GPA, honors recognitions, or that the UK can require separate qualifications on top of a degree (Which can also be very specific in what is requested, and not many ask for a Classics major.). I don't know if this is "overkill" in the market, or if just that overtime recruitment has had to get tough to avoid avalanche applications.

    Surely seeing that the UK is a major financial hub, and considering that finance is under major review because of banks failing, etc., security has to get tougher. I have noticed a burgoning middle business now in checking applications - as I'm sure that companies do not want to fall victim to fraud. It's a shame that the trust is gone, but at the same time too many people (aka 20%) have gone and lied.

    Man, I hate it when the 20% ruin for the 80%.

  3. Sam and Blogging Insite

    I guess I'll have to partly come clean and say that I'm rather suspicious about stats such as those above!

    They do often tend to be produced by organisations with a vested interest in painting a bleak picture so that we might avail ourselves of their CV checking service, and I think that two of the organisations mentioned above fall into that category.

    Having said that, the link in this post to the earlier "Always tell the truth" article takes you to a item about an HRD known to me who openly advocated lying on CVs. And having encountered at least one other member of the HR profession whose CV could have been entered for the Booker Prize for fiction, I have an uneasy feeling that embellishing the truth may be more widespread than we care to admit!