The shocking consequences of lying on your CV

Have you ever lied on your CV? (Picture: Getty)

Ever been tempted to lie on your CV?

You’re not alone. In fact one in ten Brits has lied on their CV, according to research by YouGov.

But what are the consequences of telling a porkie to get a job? What is the difference between saying you worked somewhere for slightly longer than you really did and completely making up a job?

The topic features in the latest episode of Yahoo’s new podcast Britain Is a Nation Of… which looks at people’s attitudes when it comes to work. 

Listen to the full episode of Britain is a Nation of… below

What are the consequences of lying on your CV?

You might not think it’s a big deal, but lying on your CV could technically see you end up behind bars.

According to Remziye Ozcan, employment lawyer at Slater & Gordon, lying on a CV technically amounts to fraud, which is a criminal offence and can carry a prison sentence.

Even if you don’t end up behind bars, if you’re in a regulated profession such as medicine, lying on a CV could get you struck off, says Remziye.

Additionally, if you’ve been offered a job based on an inaccurate CV, that offer can be withdrawn, and even if you think you’re home and dry, it can be grounds for dismissal if people find out later that you lied on a CV.

In the most extreme cases lying on your CV could land you in jail (Getty Images)

There are also the issues of trust between you and your employer, says Lianna Brinded, Head of Finance at Yahoo Finance UK.

“With any relationship, whether it’s a professional relationship, a personal relationship, the number one thing is trust,” she said.

“You want the person that’s going to be in your life – whether again a personal or professional relationship – that you’re going to spend lots of time with, that you can trust them, that they are who they say they are, what their talents are, any of that kind of stuff.

“And if they have lied, it opens up the door of, ‘what else aren’t you telling me, what aren’t you qualified for, actually whose ideas have you taken?'”

Is lying on a CV really that common?

In 2017, YouGov Omnibus research found that 10% of Brits admitted to having lied on their CV.

Education and qualifications are the most likely areas where people will tell fibs, with 40% of those who admitted lying on a CV saying this is where they didn’t tell the truth. 

Other common CV lies included how long Brits had spent in a job (35%) and their level of experience (30%).

The “personal interests” section isn’t immune to a bit of doctoring, the research found, with three in ten (29%) CV liars admitting to making up hobbies.

Is it ever okay to lie on your CV?

It’s clear it’s not really a good idea, but are there any situations where it’s okay to slightly embellish your CV?

“It really depends what we deem is a lie,” says Lianna. “Of course to me there shouldn’t be any excuse to lie. You shouldn’t ever lie about your qualifications and your experience.”

But it might be slightly different when it comes to time gaps in your CV, she admits.

“Let’s say you were made redundant or fired or maybe something didn’t work out. You shouldn’t shy away from missing those gaps out or missing out that term of employment because at the end of the day managers are humans as well and have probably gone through similar things that you have done.

“It’s your opportunity to put out there exactly what happened and actually be honest about it, be honest that maybe you didn’t fit in somewhere but you had these great ideas, or maybe that this is what you achieved but it wasn’t the right place for you.

“That is absolutely fine. That is also much better than either having gaps in your CV or massaging dates.”

The same goes for job titles, she thinks, where slightly massaging the title can often be harmless.

“Obviously saying you’re CEO when you’re someone getting tea, that’s a bit weird,” she says. “But when it comes to research intern or researcher, you are still a researcher.

“And as we all know, sometimes you end up taking a lot more work than your job title would deem you for.”

To hear more unpacking of statistics about British people, listen to the full episode above, or download it on Apple Podcasts, Acast, or Spotifyto listen while on the go.