The Three Most Common Lies Told By Job Applicants

Job applicants often fudge dates on their applications to cover up gaps in employment. Many also exaggerate their skills and experience and falsely claim qualifications on their job applications. Even if a candidate’s embellished application does not constitute actual fraud, reliance on inaccurate or inflated information may result in a poor recruitment decision. How do you uncover dishonest or exaggerated applications? By carrying out comprehensive background checks on each applicant you are considering offering a job to!

I find that whilst job applicants consider reference checking to be common practice in large organisations, they assume smaller companies won’t bother and that they’ll get away with what they see as a little white lie.

My recruitment service includes comprehensive background screening as standard and I regularly uncover applicants who have submitted false information when applying for a job.

Here are the Three most common lies told by job applicants:

  1. Exaggerating dates of past employment
    Sometimes discrepancies are an honest mistake, but candidates often stretch the truth to cover gaps in their work history that they may not want to explain. References are an important method of verifing the dates employed in previous jobs.

    This could be to hide a spell in prison or just a period of unemployment. Always cross reference dates of employment provided in references against those provided by the candidate, and ask questions where they don’t compare.

  2. Falsifying qualifications earned
    A candidate will sometimes claim that they earned a particular professional qualification, when in practice they studied the course but didn’t take the final exams. They also might exaggerate the grade they achieved, for instance from a fail to a pass, so they appear more qualified for the job. Other candidates forge diplomas, claim degrees earned by family members, or purchase degrees from diploma mills. The latter can be very difficult to identify, but knowledgeable background checkers compile detailed databases so frauds can be identified.

    If a candidate has lied about possessing a qualification and that qualification is essential to your requirements, such as a driving licence for a delivery driver, then you must check as there is no room for manouvre. However if a qualification is desirable and a candidate exaggerates to appear more qualified than other candidates then you should question their integrity and trustworthiness.

  3. Inflating job title and salary
    It’s hardly surprising that a candidate might exaggerate these important facts to get a better job or a higher salary. That’s why companies typically contact previous employers to verify positions held by the candidate.

    I had one candidate who applied for a position of Deputy Marketing Manager. Her CV described her current role as Team Leader in a large marketing department with a salary of £28k. She was offered the job. My backgrounds checks found she was actually the secretary to the Marketing Director on a salary of £17k. The job offer was withdrawn as the employer felt they could not trust her.

  4. It’s tremendously important to take the time to check your ideal candidate has been honest with you!

    Download the Template Reference Request Form Now!

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The Three Most Common Lies Told By Job Applicants