Embellished resumes’ are common in South Africa as applicants look to stand out in the job market, says Rudi Kruger, general manager at LexisNexis Data Services.

“Candidates want to have a standout CV that grabs the attention of potential employers and many are willing to add embellishments, misrepresent facts or even blatantly lie to get to the top of the pile.

“Adding to it is the stressful economic environment, which could even compel generally honest individuals to exaggerate in their applications in a bid to appear more employable,” said Kruger.

He said that the most serious CV embellishments include:

  • Fake qualifications;
  • Fake identities;
  • Misrepresented criminal records;
  • Fraudulent work permits;
  • Inflated job titles;
  • Fabricated experience;
  • Incorrect reasons for leaving previous jobs.

While these gross misinterpretations may help the candidate appear more qualified for the job, it is only after they are hired that their inability to perform can become a serious problem for the employer.

“This is why recruiters and hiring personnel should never accept the information on CVs at face value and no applicant should be trusted blindly. You always want to qualify a candidate by validating the claims and statements on a CV to avoid great risk.”

“Claims around experience, job titles and reasons for leaving may be challenged at the interviews or through referrals,” Kruger said.

“Be sure to make that call to past employers for more information and their opinions, as this will help inform your decision. However, bear in mind that it is also common for managers to impose bias based on personal experience of their referral, whether positive or negative,’ said Kruger.

“Psychometric testing is very useful in determining whether a candidate’s skill level, maturity and intelligence match what they have claimed in their application.”

Read: 50 of the most common questions you should be prepared to answer at your next job interview