When asked if they have lied on their CV, 51 percent of UK adults said yes. 

Interestingly, men were more likely to lie than women with 61 percent of men admitting to including false information, compared with 43 percent of women. 

Millennials are also more likely to lie than any other age, with 59 percent of respondents aged 25-44 saying that this is the case.

As the job market starts settling down, and more businesses start hiring, many are taking to refreshing CVs and checking job sites for new opportunities. New research from DBS Check Provider, CareCheck, has revealed that a surprisingly high number of UK adults lie on their CV even when applying for senior-level roles.

What are the most common CV lies?

  1. Exaggerating previous responsibilities: 41%
  2. Lying about hobbies/interests: 34%
  3. Falsely increased GCSE grades: 27%
  4. Falsely increased A-Level grades: 20%
  5. Falsely increased University Qualification: 8%
  6. Lied about having GCSEs/A levels/Degree: 5%
  7. Stated I am younger than I really am: 5%
  8. Stated I am older than I really am: 4%
  9. Lied about having a Masters’s Degree: 3%

When asked what false information they have included on a CV, the top answer was ‘exaggerating previous responsibilities’. 

This may be okay if you are just telling white lies about your excel capabilities, but pretending to know a key skill such as a second language or specific training could get you into very hot water once you start the role.

Interestingly, the second most popular lie was about hobbies and interests. While many might see this section of the CV as relatively unimportant, and can tell you a little about a candidate’s character. 

Binge-watching Netflix and ordering pizza may be most people’s ideal Friday night – but it doe not make you sound very professional or hard-working. 

Lies about qualifications

Also, 27 percent of respondents admitted that they lied about their GCSEs, which may not be a big deal for some employers. 

However, one in five lied about their A-Level results, and 8 percent even lied about their university degree. For roles that require certain qualifications, this can be a really risky move as you can easily end up in over your head.

When asked what roles they were applying for with false CV information, the majority said it was entry-level positions. However, a shockingly high number of respondents admitted that they had lied when applying for management and director positions.

What Level of Role Did You Apply For With False Information?

  1. Entry Level 44%
  2. Management Level 40%
  3. Senior Management 20%
  4. Director 5%
  5. C-Suite 2%

Men were more likely to apply for Director and C-Suite level roles with a false CV, with 9 percent of men admitting to this, compared with just 4 percent of women.

A spokesperson for CareCheck said in response to the research, “All of us have told a few white lies when trying to get hired, but usually once you have your foot firmly on the rung of the career ladder you can remove those extra flourishes and let your real experience speak for itself.

“It’s a little worrying that people are applying for higher-level positions without being truthful about their qualifications or experience, as this can easily lead to badly managed teams and businesses. 

“Rather than over-facing yourself with a role you may not be fully qualified for, it may be smarter to look at what fibs you are telling and put plans into action to make them come true. 

“If you’re missing out on opportunities as you lack certain skills, see if you can gain a qualification while you’re working so that the next job you apply for will be 100% manageable.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.