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How to Spot a Dishonest CV

Published December 18, 2018 (last updated on May 15, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Copywriter and Content Creator


How to spot a dishonest CV

As an employer when you need new staff, it can be challenging finding the right person for the job. What can make it even more difficult is when potential employees give misleading or false information about themselves to gain a role beyond their capabilities.

Dishonest CVs can be a chronic headache for small business recruitment. But with the right information and a keen eye, you can learn the tell-tale signs of a dodgy job application.

What makes a dishonest CV?

This can be difficult to define, but there are a few particulars that you should look for that can help you weed out the dishonest prospects. Unfortunately, it is more likely you won’t find out that someone was dishonest in their application until they start working for you. That’s when you will notice inconsistencies in their work.

The four most popular items people exaggerate on a resume or a CV are education, employment history, previous salary details, and skills.

Common dodgy elements can include things like writing a far better sounding job title than the job actually entailed. Another common exaggeration is listing a bachelor’s degree, yet they may only have a Diploma or certificate, rather than the degree.

Three main things to look for are:

  • Unexplained employment gaps

  • Excessive career changes or jobs with unusual titles

  • An unwillingness to explain their reason for leaving a role

Although not in all cases, your prospect is more likely to exaggerate the truth rather than outright lie. This can come in many forms. It can happen in the way of exaggerated dates of employment to cover gaps between jobs, and it can come in the exaggeration of job descriptions. Candidates might claim to have completed certain duties within their role. But in reality, they may have performed this job just once, not actually gaining the necessary experience to take ownership of the task.

How to approach discrepancies in a CV

The best way to save a bit of time during the recruitment time is to make a quick phone call to each prospect. Ask them about their CV and see if there are inconsistencies when you speak to them on the phone.

Another way to do this is to run background checks. As an employer, you want to be sure the person you employ is going to be able to perform the role to your expectations. Inconsistencies on a CV can be cleared up in one phone call to previous employers or asking for copies of certificates or academic transcript.

If your background research uncovers any problems, you can then approach the prospect to clarify.

How do you weed out dishonesty before an interview?

The best way is to be upfront about what might be involved during the recruitment process. Let the prospects know that any licenses, certificates, qualifications, or anything related to the job will be required as part of the process. And inform them you will be contacting relevant previous employers for confirmation of role requirements.

Being upfront about what is required for the role is part of your duty from the moment the job is advertised. This will attract serious contenders, rather than the dishonest ones. Mistakes do happen, so always give the candidate a chance to respond to the discrepancies. Follow up as many of the references and previous roles as you can, to ensure you are hiring someone who can fit the position and perform it to your expectations.

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