CV fraudster

A survey conducted in 2015 discovered that 56% of hiring managers have caught candidates lying on their CVs. The most common truth-stretching endeavour was the practice of embellishing capabilities and skills with 54% of those surveyed revealing they’d witnessed applicants being somewhat frugal with the truth.

Unfortunately, it seems that not everyone takes the time to follow best practices for creating truthful, engaging CVs.

So, we know that potential employees have a high chance of lying on their CV, but how on earth do you spot them before it’s too late?

If you’ve ever been involved in recruitment, you’ll know all too well that it is rather easy to fall into the trap of employing someone based on an impressive CV only to find that the person behind the mask simply doesn’t live up to expectations when placed at their desk.

In this post, I’ve got 6 ways to spot a fake CV. Keep them with you whenever you go on a recruiting spree!

1. Date discrepancies

Fraudsters aren’t always that smart. An impressive list of qualifications and corporate experiences can quickly lose all gravitas if the dates don’t stack up.

Take a close look at the years quoted for each educational milestone and job appointment. Could candidate A really have jumped straight into that team leader job following his degree if he also took a year off to work with remote tribes in Africa?

2. Defunct qualifications

Do a quick spot check on any qualifications listed. Are they still current or were they discontinued before the date of accomplishment stated on the CV?

3. Unexplained unemployment gaps

What happened during 2009-2011? If there is a sizeable gap of non-employment which isn’t explained, either the candidate has been rather neglectful in his proofreading or he’s not telling you something.

4. SEO-friendly, fake qualifications

People are now more inclined to hunt for jobs online and the prospect of creating search engine-friendly CVs can be a rather tempting for a fraudster. In order to gain more interviews, they may list qualifications commonly searched for by employees. Again, do your due diligence and dig into this at the interview.

5. At the interview

Unfortunately, the fact remains that you could follow all four tips above and still fall victim to a fraudster. You’re only human, after all. This is why the interview is so important and represents your penultimate chance to uncover the lie.

If the interviewee appears ill at ease when pushed on questions related to past achievement or, worse still, they seemingly forget the degree they claim to have, you can snag them there and then. There’s no need for confrontation, but it would be sensible to mentally cross them off the list.

6. References

This is your last chance to catch CV fraudsters. Make a habit of calling every reference provided. If the referee has no recollection of the person – you’ve caught them red handed. If it turns out they were indeed employed by the referee, run by them some of the qualifications stated and gauge their response. If the applicant is telling the truth, their story should align with that of their previous employer.


If truth be told, the sneakiest of CV fraudsters will always slip through the net, but if you follow the tips above, you’ll limit the number of employees you bring on board who aren’t as advertised.

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