What may sound like harmless white lies to you actually makes employers see red. It’s pretty easy to get away with lies on your CV, but as we’ve learned with the recent CV scandals that have come to light, it can tarnish your image. And no one wants that, right? We’ve spoken to some experts to get the low-down on some things you should look out for.
1. Don’t lie about your qualification
Qualification fraud is rife in South Africa. Two famous examples are that of the SABC’s Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the now-former ANC MP Pallo Jordan. When you are caught out, you are red-flagged and if you went through a recruitment agency, they’ll notify their sister companies of you and your deceitful ways.
2. Don’t buy a driver’s licence
Please don’t be a cheapskate and buy your licence on the street corner. Rather go the genuine route to avoid trouble and embarrassment. Should you have a fake driver’s licence and you cause an accident, not only do you look like a liar – which of course you are – you make it quite difficult for employers to trust you when they look up your now existing criminal record. Which brings us to our next point…
3. Don’t lie about your criminal record
Saying “I don’t have a criminal record” when you actually do, can for obvious reasons cost you that job you so desperately need right now. If you’re not sure whether your criminal record still stands as you were convicted of a minor thing like shoplifting, rather be honest about it.
“Should an employer find out about false claims,” explains Sonya Skipp of background screening company iFacts, “the employer can lay a criminal charge of fraud”. Yes, background screening companies do exist. Also, should you be found guilty of deliberately lying, your name will appear on fraud databases like the South African Fraud Prevention Services. Feeling nervous yet?
4. Don’t lie about your reason for leaving your previous job
Thinking of crediting your reason for leaving a particular company as “personal” when in fact you were fired? “That is serious as we cannot forward or recommend that candidate to any of our clients unless they were unfairly dismissed and have gone to the CCMA to take it further,” says Lucinda Stoffels of recruitment agency Kelly. “If you can lie about one thing, what else can you lie about? So therefore we don’t deal with candidates who lie at all,” she warns.
5. Employment history
Every company has their own severity scale on what’s a serious lie and what’s not. So saying you’ve worked at Company X for six years when you’ve actually been there for six days could have you in hot water with some employers and not others. And as Lucinda explained above, if you can lie about little things, employers can only imagine you are capable of lying about bigger things.
Your CV is your marketing campaign. If you portray a false image of yourself, how can you expect others to take you seriously? It’s like falling for Prince Charming only to later find out he’s nothing but a frog with bad skin. So don’t be a Motsoeneng or Jordan and protect your reputation.