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6 most common lies job seekers tell

June 05, 2014 10:11 IST

6 most common lies job seekers tell

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Devika Arora

To land up a job many candidates fib on their CV. Employers beware!

In this technology-driven age where organisations and their databases hold sensitive data, it is vital for companies to carefully decide who gets access inside the office premises to lay hands on company information, confidential or not. Even though s/he may not intend on harming the organisation, an employee does have the potential to affect a company's performance, culture and image.

Appointing the wrong person can cost the company up to five times the salary of that individual. This is why companies must avoid hiring wrong candidates as one incorrect decision can make them pay heavily.

The following are the most common lies told by applicants to seek employment. Recruiters beware!

As a recruiter, you will come across several job applicants who exaggerate and fib about their credentials by falsifying their resume. Make sure you dodge such candidates for your own good. They may fabricate or stretch the truth by doing the following:

1. Extending dates of employment

Desperate times may call for desperate measures in a brutal job market, but some job seekers go overboard when they lie about their work history and the tenure for which they held a position.

It is acceptable to be a little fussy on dates, but there are those who fill in long gaps by showing prolonged employment with a company.

With this, they hide gaps and portray durability to enhance their appeal in front of potential employers. Recruiters can find out the truth by running a reference check on such applicants.

Devika Arora is a professional writer and blogger with special focus on career building and job search. She is currently working with Naukrigulf.com, a job search portal addressing employment needs in the Middle East.

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Photographs: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

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2. Faking employment with a ghost company or self-owned business

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In another attempt to hide gaps in their work history, job seekers often falsify a stint or two by making up fictitious organisations and citing them as past employers.

They may even cook up stories about working for an organisation that has now gone out of business or actually belongs to a relative or friend.

Candidates refrain from telling the truth about their sabbatical as they feel the employer will doubt their competence, will become overpowering or will be able to flip the salary negotiation in the company’s favour.

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Photographs: Jo Yong hak/Reuters
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3. Being dishonest about the job title

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It is funny how CVs magically give promotions more frequently than employers themselves. An altered job title often goes hand-in-hand with an inflated salary on their job applications.

Did you know a woman named Rhiannon Mackay was imprisoned in 2010 for lying on her resume?

Mackay is the first woman to go behind bars for CV falsification. She was jailed for six months because she lied to land a job as Capital Projects Administrator at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust by faking the letter of recommendation, apart from lying about her work level.

While potential employees do fib about their job titles, companies must be cautious of such fraudulent workers as when they are assumed to have higher levels of authority and experience, the company trusts them with big tasks that may go wrong if the person does not have real experience on the job.  

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Photographs: Fred Prouser/Reuters

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4. Exaggerating the salary package

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Most of the times confidentiality issues prevent companies from divulging information related to the pay package of the employee.

Sneaky job applicants exploit this opportunity to inflate their salaries and hence boost their bargaining position.

Such unethical practices must be stopped instantly.

If the candidates feel they were underpaid in their former organisation, they should gather information as proof about the salary they should have received in accordance to the nature and magnitude of work done by them. 

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5. Concealing criminal records

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Job seekers understandably fear that their applications will be instantly rejected once recruiters find out that they have a criminal record.

The fear of getting rejected without being given a chance makes an applicant with a criminal history lie, regardless of how trivial or serious her/his crime was.

Candidates should refrain from doing so as this is the age of technology and nothing goes unnoticed nor can it be completely hidden.

The Internet is a powerful tool that can bring up past information about a person. Only the person’s name and birth date are enough to dig out a potential employee’s past.

Also, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter reveal too much about a candidate’s past. Recruiters can easily find out about such frauds by conducting a criminal background check.

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Photographs: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters
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6. Lying about qualification and/or professional license

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When companies post job openings, they also provide job descriptions and basic requirements (degree, experience and skill) that the applicants must have.

To fulfill the eligibility criteria, job aspirants forge academic degrees and lie in their CVs.

This forgery is not limited to academic qualifications; even certifications and technical skills are feigned to seek jobs.

Make sure you don’t hire a dishonest candidate who hitches unearned titles to her/his name. This is an egregious lie because employers can be legally liable and may suffer financial penalty for incorrectly passing off employees as credentialed.

The given scenarios should serve as a warning for employers who are seeking to hire professionals. Applicants should also consider them carefully as opportunistic behaviour will only take them a short distance and they can face serious repercussions if caught lying to land a job.


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