Why so many people lie about their training history

by L&D07 Dec 2015
It's relatively common for workers to lie about their training history when they are applying for a job, according to a new survey.

In fact, 54% of respondents admitted that they had been dishonest to a potential employer when they were applying for a job.

The survey was put together by the training software firm Enterprise Study and involved the input of 2,613 Britons aged 18 and over.

“Many of us have no doubt experienced job interviews where we panic and think we’re not good enough for a position, and then resort to exaggerating the truth in order to make ourselves look and sound better,” Shona Fletcher, CEO of Enterprise Study, was quoted as saying by The Training Journal.

“Having said that, outright lies are a different thing. If you’re going to lie about your training and qualifications, be prepared if someone asks you for the proof, or asks you to carry out tasks that demonstrate your abilities.”

Fletcher said it’s particularly dangerous for some specific jobs, such as those in utilities or health and safety roles. However, he said it’s a huge risk no matter what job you are applying for.  

“Besides, it’s better to get the job on merit rather than lies – at least you’ll know you deserved the job and were genuinely the best candidate,” Fletcher said.

The top five topics that people were dishonest about are as follows:

1. My training experience and qualifications gained – 37%
2. The reasons I left my previous job(s)- 32%
3. My future goals and future aspirations – 30%
4. Employee references – 25%
5. Relationship status – 21%
 
The most common reason for lying was that the respondents were worried about the lack of knowledge needed, so they “exaggerated” their previous experience.
 
The top five reasons for lying are listed below:
 
1. Was worried that I lacked the knowledge needed, so I exaggerated my previous experience – 41%
2. Wanted to ensure I was favoured over the other candidates applying – 39%
3. I know I can do the job, I just don’t have the actual qualifications to say I can – 36%
4. Didn’t think they’d ever find out the truth – 32%
5. I panicked and thought it was the best way to get the job – 21%
 
The poll also indicated that 61% of respondents who lied admitted that they had on their CV. This was compared to the 25% who admitted to lying face-to-face and 14% who said they lied via both ways.

Furthermore, 24% admitted they had been caught out for lying by potential employers.


 

COMMENTS

  • by Rupert 7/12/2015 2:42:37 PM

    I told the truth in an interview which made me look worse that I might have otherwise but I am sure telling the truth got me the job.
    At an interview for my first position as a graduate the manager congratulated me on getting a Distinction for Maths. I had to admit that the "D" on my transcript was not for a "Distinction" but for "Done that don't have to do it again"

    The manager was I am fairly sure setting a "trap" for me to fall into. If I had said that it was a Distinction I am sure he would have known that it was a lie and that I would not have been successful in getting the job.

    The reason he was able to so easily set this trap was that 1/2 my transcript had P, C, D HD, and the other 1/2 of the transcript was makes using A,B,C,D,E,F which allowed him to have possibly been genuinely confused but close reading would have shown that the D was in that case not a Distinction.

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