How to spot a lie on a CV

Here are five of the best ways to spot a CV bluff. 

Many employers expect an exaggeration or two on a CV, but being able to spot an outright lie can be crucial to hiring the right candidate or a spoofer. Below are a few tips on how to spot a lie on a CV.

Go online and search social

The most obvious way to check if a candidate is bluffing on his or her CV is to go online and have a look around. A glance at someone’s social media profile can be very revealing, but your search shouldn’t be limited to Facebook. If they claim to have worked for a particular company, do their connections on their LinkedIn page reflect this? Furthermore, do the details on their CV match with what they have on their LinkedIn page? Likewise, a candidate might claim to hold a particular position in their current company, but a visit to that company’s website’s ‘Meet the team’ page may reveal something entirely different. 

“A 2.2 can become a 2.1, and some fishy schools can masquerade as legitimate academic institutions.”

Meet them in person 

It’s easy to lie on paper or from behind a keyboard, but get someone in person and it’s much easier to separate fact from fiction. Simple things like body language or a verbal tick might reveal the truth, otherwise asking specific questions about past roles should quickly catch a liar out. 

A competency-based test during the interview will also be useful in verifying if a candidate has the skills and know-how they profess to have. If a role has a specific language requirement, there is no better test than getting the applicant in front of you and seeing exactly how fluent they are. 

how to tell a lie on a CV

Ask to see the certs

Depending on the role, there are a lot of employers out there who won’t seek proof of a candidate’s educational qualifications, and some candidates will take advantage of this oversight. A 2.2 can become a 2.1, and some fishy schools can masquerade as legitimate academic institutions. Where the role requires certain minimum educational achievements, ask the candidate to furnish you with copies of their college transcripts and eliminate any doubts. 

Don’t call the number provided 

Putting down a fake reference is the oldest trick in the book, and it can be difficult sometimes to discern if a referee is who they say they are. 

The person you are calling could be the applicant’s friend or family member, or indeed a colleague who does not hold a managerial position. Where possible, or if you are slightly suspicious, just call the company and ask to speak to the person named. This will ensure the person you’re talking to is who they say they are.

Fill the gaps

Finding out a candidate’s reasons for leaving a previous job is important, but sometimes applicants may not be entirely honest with you on this point, especially if they’ve been let go in acrimonious circumstances. 

Therefore, it’s important to read between the lines with a CV and try and identify gaps that may seem a bit odd. 

RELATED: How to hire a dream team. 

Article by Peter Flanagan.

Images from Shutterstock.