Pressured to lie!

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We’ve all seen the ideal job advertised and been tempted to apply, even if our skills or experience aren’t quite up to scratch. But how many of us feel pressure to lie about our capability on an application? John Watkins, Director of Employability describes the findings of a survey by The University of Law.

New research from The University of Law has explored attitudes to exaggerating on CVs to secure a role, revealing that over half of working Brits (51%) have felt the pressure to lie, but only one in 10 (10%) have done so and gone on to land the job. ULaw found that despite the high numbers of people who admit to embellishing their CV, only one in ten actually managed to land a job by doing this.

When asked why they would exaggerate on their application, nearly one in five (17%) said they’re concerned their experience won’t be enough to land the job. Similarly, 14% said they would lie to ensure their CV stood out.

The study also looked into the areas of a CV people feel the most pressure to embellish with nearly a third (30%) saying the previous experience section, while one in four (24%) claimed it’s the skills section they feel the need to boost. Other areas Brits feel the need to exaggerate include education history (13%) and interests outside the workplace (12%). More than one in 10 (12%) men admitted to feeling pressure to lie about their age, in comparison to only 7% of women.

While experience topped the charts as the most pressured element of our CVs, it was also named the section we’re most comfortable to lie in by respondents (27%). One in five (22%) however, said their hobbies and interests would be where they’d feel most comfortable lying, and 19% said it was their skills.

For those who wouldn’t lie on their CV however, half (53%) said it is because they don’t feel comfortable lying, while 51% said it just felt too dishonest. Nearly a third (29%) put it down to being scared the employer would find out during the application/interview process, but for 32%, confidence in their own skills and experience reassured them no lying was necessary. Overall, women appear to be the most honest when it comes to their CVs with two thirds (64%) saying no matter the pressure, they wouldn’t actually go through with it, while only half (54%) of their male counterparts agreed.

Recent data from The University of Law Business School however, shows that past experience was only prioritised in 3% of job applications and it was actually skills such as communication skills (90%), relationship building (83%) and organisation skills (63%) that took the lead in terms of importance.

Commenting on the findings, John Watkins, Director of Employability at The University of Law said, “We understand the pressure felt when applying for jobs and the increasing trend identified in this research. It reinforces the value of our mantra at The University of Law to help each individual fulfil their potential, contextualised on the reality of their current circumstances. This starts with interaction well before students arrive at the University with encouragement to hone in on how they can proactively address areas of development.

Once enrolled this is even more explicit to ensure that there is no doubt about the importance of accuracy in all documents used as part of the recruitment process. The ethical and legal dimensions are readily understood, and we emphasise that even if someone should reach the point of securing a role by exaggerating, there is every chance that they will either be ‘caught’ at a later date and/or are likely to struggle to meet employer expectations on the job. Therefore it simply isn’t worth it!’”