The Truth About Hiring: When Qualified Employees Lie on Their CV

Last Updated: 

June 26, 2024

Organisations strive to hire only the best talent, but when candidates lie on their CVs it can become challenging to identify true contenders for employment. When this occurs should companies overlook minor embellishments or adhere to truthfulness as policy?

Key Takeaways on Handling CV Fraud

  1. Rising CV Fraud: As job competition intensifies, more candidates are tempted to falsify their CVs to appear more qualified, blurring the line between minor embellishment and outright deception.
  2. Consequences of CV Lies: Undetected lies can result in hires who fail under pressure, leading to financial losses and damaging team morale and organisational reputation.
  3. Financial Repercussions: Bad hires incur recruitment fees, training costs, and lost productivity, with potential client and stakeholder backlash further compounding financial damage.
  4. Morale and Trust Issues: Unqualified employees can undermine team trust, leading to disillusionment and lower motivation among hardworking colleagues, making trust rebuilding challenging.
  5. Spotting Deception: Employers should scrutinise CV details for inconsistencies, conduct thorough reference checks, and use professional networks to verify candidate information.
  6. Legal Considerations: Terminating deceitful employees requires adherence to employment laws and gathering documented proof to avoid wrongful termination lawsuits and reputational damage.
  7. Commitment to Truthfulness: Adopting careful recruitment practices and fostering an honest culture ensures long-term organisational success by prioritising truthfulness in hiring.
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The Rise of CV Fraud

As more job candidates compete for limited roles, competition for talent increases and so too does the temptation to falsify CVs in order to appear more qualified. According to research from CIPD, job hunters admitted falsifying parts of their CVs in order to appear more qualified. Even though minor tweaks might seem harmless enough, there can be a fine line between mild embellishment and outright deception.

Impact of CV Lies

When lies slip through recruitment nets, their consequences can be serious. A seemingly ideal hire may crumble under pressure and lead to financial loss as well as decreased team morale. Furthermore, discovering that one of your trusted employees has been telling lies could cause irreparable harm to an organisation's culture and reputation.

Financial Implications

Hiring the wrong employee can have serious financial repercussions. Between recruitment fees, training costs and lost productivity due to bad hires, these costs could add up rapidly. Before considering client and stakeholder retaliation in case their incompetence becomes known to others.

Morale and Trust Issues 

Beyond financial costs, an unqualified employee can also undermine team trust. Colleagues who worked hard for their positions may become disillusioned, leading to lower motivation and engagement levels across the company. Once trust has been breached, rebuilding it becomes extremely challenging, this ripple effect can quickly spread throughout.

How Can Employers Spot Deception

Employers need strategies in place for detecting deceit in CVs that seem appealing, yet are actually false. Here are some tried and true techniques:

Thoroughly Evaluate CV Details

Pay close attention to the specifics. Dates, job titles, and responsibilities should all align. Any inconsistencies or vague descriptions could be red flags which necessitate further investigation.

Conduct Thorough Reference Checks

Before hiring any candidate, always contact their former employers, particularly those directly managing them, to obtain references for them. Ask about performance, responsibilities, reasons for leaving, genuine references can provide invaluable insight. You may want to consider using an Vetting Process for Employment software solution as this can verify both work history and qualifications more effectively than traditional references could.

Use Professional Networks 

Leverage platforms like LinkedIn to cross-verify candidate information and search for mutual connections who might provide additional background details. Professional networks may often help uncover any discrepancies hidden by CVs.

Legal Implications

Firing an employee for deception is never straightforward. Companies must adhere to all relevant employment laws and contractual obligations when terminating employees who engage in deception, while protecting themselves against costly wrongful termination lawsuits that can damage a company's reputation. Therefore, companies should gather documented proof of any deceitful candidate and follow an impartial and fair procedure before taking any decisive steps. Any sharing of information on employee dishonest behaviour with other parties should also be avoided to minimise potential legal risks that can occur from sharing such behaviour between businesses. Taking an informed approach can help businesses avoid potential legal pitfalls in this respect.


Although embellished CVs may tempt employers, the long-term risks far outweigh any short-term gains. Careful recruitment practices and an honest culture will protect both you and your organisation while simultaneously creating sustainable success through trust building. Remember: truthfulness should always take precedence in the search for top talent.

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