Is telling fibs on your CV really such a big deal? Most of us know someone who has done it or have even done it ourselves. There is no harm in inflating a couple of school grades, or exaggerating your previous work experience a little, right? Repeated surveys show that CV fraud is rife, and that as much as 62% of CVs contain errors. Being charitable, it is possible that genuine mistakes can happen, and that the person was not deliberately trying to deceive. However, the same study revealed that 37% of CVs have five mistakes, and 4% have over 20 mistakes.

Lying on a CV can carry severe consequences for both employees and employers. In the most serious situations, being caught out lying on you CV can be classed as fraud by false representation under the Fraud Act 2006, resulting in criminal charges. This is why identity checking and checks into someone’s employment and education history are becoming commonplace across a wide range of industry sectors.


Can My Employer Sue Me?

The most common consequence for someone who is discovered to be lying on their CV is instant dismissal. Most companies do not want the hassle or expense of going through a legal case against a former employee, especially if they were employed in a junior position. It might make it a bit more difficult to move on to another position without a reference from that particular employer, but that is as far as it goes. If the person however is hired into a senior position, or the employer feels that their lack of experience or qualifications causes financial harm to the business, they may choose to sue their previous worker for damages. In addition, the applicant could face criminal charges.

Employers are also allowed to retract offers if the lies are found out before the employee starts work. A common clause in a job offer is about any offer being conditional on satisfactory references or proof of qualifications where possible.


Consequences for Employees

Even if you get a position with inaccuracies or downright lies on your CV, life could become difficult in your new job. Employees who lie about qualifications may struggle to perform their duties adequately, because they are out of their depth. Many employees in this position will fail their probationary period and be out of a job in a few months. Others who do manage to get through probation will soon come up against performance management and potential dismissal, even if their lies are never found out.

CV lies can affect the content of employment references. There is a common misconception that it is illegal to give a bad reference, but this isn’t true. What is true is that a reference must be factual, and that the employer can provide evidence to back it up. If you are discovered to have bee lying on a CV and the employer can prove you didn’t have the qualifications or experience claimed, this can be mentioned on a reference.