The Risks and Repercussions of Lying on Your CV

What often begins as an innocent exaggeration of your experience to match the requirements in a job posting, can quickly turn into an embarrassing situation that has a long-term effect on your job prospects and career.

“An employer views your CV as a truthful representation of your qualifications,” explained, Ilinca Mardarescu, senior employment solicitor and head of employment for law firm, Aston Bond. “Lying counts as fraud and you can be dismissed for gross misconduct, fined or even sent to prison if the authorities choose to make an example of you.”

Even if you manage to avoid criminal prosecution, future employers may see your transgressions laid bare for years to come.

“If you are terminated for fraud or false representation, your employer can enter your name into the Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System (Cifas) internal fraud database,” according to Simon Dukes, chief executive of the fraud prevention service.

Is lying on your CV really worth the risk? Here are 6 reasons why you may want to think twice before stretching the truth.

The Odds of Being Caught Are High

If you think you won’t get caught, guess again. In this new area of “talent analytics,” many recruiters use browser extenders or web scraping tools to extract and save data on a particular candidate from websites, social media and even projects on GitHub or Stack Overflow.

A comprehensive search of the web makes it easy to spot discrepancies in employment dates, inflated job titles or inconsistent descriptions of skills and accomplishments.

Even if you make it through the initial screening process, an increasing number of employers are using online technical assessment tools like HackerRank and Codility and background investigations to verify the information provided by applicants. The odds of getting caught in a lie during the hiring process are very high.

“Yes a CV is a marketing document that should present your career in a positive light, but providing deceiving information or lying crosses the line,” Dukes noted.


Getting Caught is Embarrassing

Getting through a job interview can be nerve-racking enough but trying to cover up a lie can lead to extreme anxiety and humiliation if you get caught.

First of all, keeping all of your lies straight is harder than it sounds, especially when you’re under pressure. Second, recruiters are trained to spot liars and they often ask questions that are designed trip you up. Being escorted off the property or having an offer withdrawn can destroy your confidence. As Dukes pointed out: “Being truthful takes a lot less effort.”


You Could Get Sacked

If you do get hired for a job that’s over your head, your boss and teammates are bound to notice your poor performance. If they start digging into your background and find that you’ve misrepresented your qualifications, they have the perfect reason to fire you. Even if you perform your duties satisfactorily, you are at constant risk of being found out and dismissed at any time.

Worse, your mistake will continue to haunt you. You’ll have to deal with questions about why you were let go for a very long time and you’ll need to prove to employers that you’ve changed your ways to get another chance.


Honesty is Essential

Since tech pros often have access to confidential data and they are expected to protect the enterprise against breaches and risk, employers tend to view honesty and integrity as must-have traits.

Remember Volkswagen’s emissions scandal? The fallout from the incident demonstrates how the reputations of tech employees and employers are intertwined. If a hiring manager uncovers a poor credit history or undisclosed conviction during a reference check, criminal records search or Internet hunt, he will assume that you can’t be trusted.


You May Alienate Your References

If a potential employer were to call your former boss and co-workers from three jobs ago, what would they say? Your old boss may refuse to provide a reference if he is asked to confirm skills, project experience, certifications or education you don’t have. No one likes being put on the spot, especially when they are expected to say good things about you.


You Will Damage Your Reputation

By the way, calls to previous employers and references aren’t the only verification checks employers perform. The hiring manager may run your name or CV by current employees to see if they’re familiar with your work and know your former colleagues. Taking full credit for a group project or claiming expertise that you don’t possess can alienate your current and future teammates and damage your credibility. All of the hard work you’ve put into building your brand and reputation can be wiped out in an instant.

Mardarescu summed it up this way: “If you are terminated for lying on your CV, everyone is going to know about it, especially in today’s social world.”

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