Many surveys confirm it – about 40% of the population have lied on their CV. A diploma that wasn’t completed, an exaggerated internship, software not mastered… candidates often inflate their skills to gain access to the coveted position. But once hired and unmasked, how serious are these lies?
“A false cv is never good, but I would say it depends on the lie,” says Zineb El-Alami, employment consultant and career coach. “If it’s a lie of ethics or that makes out to being a member of a professional order, it’s immediate dismissal.” The same goes for a hidden criminal record, related to the position held.
False CV: some lies are less serious than others
On the other hand, many people add months of experience to their CV, which can be tolerated once the cat is out of the bag. “If you say you worked for two years instead of 9 months, but in the meanwhile you have had time to prove your performance within the team, it might be allowed to pass,” the employment consultant says. Nonetheless, during the probationary period, companies are often less forgiving. Of course this is less likely if the candidate is an irreplaceable gem in a very narrow niche!
What about a lie to do with training? Here again, there are nuances. So there is a difference between a bachelor’s degree that is missing a few courses and a university degree that is completely invented.
At the end of the day, what would be the more “acceptable” type of lie in the eyes of a potential employer? “Let’s say that if it’s a more or less innocuous lie, made with the goal of improving the chances of being hired, companies will be more lenient when it’s discovered,” Zineb El-Alami believes. For example, a gap in a CV following a period of absence due to depression will often be hidden by more or less fictitious experience as a volunteer.
“One thing is certain, when I do my workshops, I always tell candidates, ‘I don’t encourage you to lie, but if you do, you are responsible. It’s a small world and a lot of people know each other’,” the consultant concludes.