Job application fibs revealed

Job application fibs revealed

Almost 100,000 job applicants have lied about their qualifications in the past three years – according to a study by AXELOS. 

Compounding this is the fact that almost half (48%) of HR professionals in the UK do not rigorously check the validity of an applicant’s qualifications. This means that a deceptive job applicant has a 50:50 chance of getting away with their lie – whether it’s a small white one or a Moby Dick sized whopper. 

So, whose responsibility is it to spot this deceit – HR’s or the recruiter’s? The truth is that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. 

In the meantime, until more rigorous screening processes are implemented, we have a collection of job application fibs, courtesy of The Guardian, below.   

CJ, clinical research – late-night drag show ABBA 

“When asked about my time management skills, I said that in a previous role I had a late night and early morning teleconference on a Thursday evening and that I scheduled work that required low amounts of thinking the following day. It was true that I did schedule brain-dead tasks for a Friday; what was not true is that I had a late-night meeting. Instead, I attended a late-night Abba drag show at the famous Imperial Hotel in Sydney [Australia] (where they filmed The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert), which was a lot more fun. 

“Karma came back to bite me, though – in a subsequent job, I ended up running a teleconference, at 2 o’clock in the morning every Friday.”

Mike, Software Developer – educational embellishment 

Mike decided he wanted to become a Software Developer whilst studying for his degree. As he didn’t want to restart an entire degree he decided to embellish what he was already studying…

“When I was invited to my first interview, I was worried that I would be brought up on my relevant experience. As it turned out, the interviewer was vastly more interested in my experience as a Delivery Driver at a restaurant he liked. After swapping several stories about it, there was little time to go over any relevant experience I had. I went on to get the job. To this day I have no idea whether it was the lie or the truth that got me hired.” 

Anonymous, Civil Servant – the non-existent degree 

When a chance of a promotion arose, this anonymous civil servant lied on their CV about having a BA in Political Science. They were also economical with the truth regarding their age to cover up the gaps. 

“I’m not sorry; I work hard, have made management, and [as a result], have been able to invest and save. It does get hard sometimes to keep up with the lies. But I’ve learned to avoid certain people in my life over the years. You could probably call me a sociopath, but you need to be to survive.” 

DontMessWithMimi, unknown – blurred lines 

“Interviewing depends a lot on stories: ‘Tell me about a time when you showed leadership’… ‘Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult decision’. 

“So, a few years ago, I sat down and wrote out about 20 to 30 stories, one for each potential question I could be asked. Not many of them were outright lies – the majority were mostly truthful, just embellished in a few places to give a better outcome or to highlight my role more. I then started telling those stories in every interview I’ve had since. It’s proved very successful. 

“The weird thing is, I can no longer remember which of the stories are true and which ones aren’t. They’ve become so ingrained, and I’ve told them so many times, that I’ve started to think they did happen the way I’ve constructed them.” 


Picture courtesy of Frankie Fouganthin.

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