"Creative" CVs - what can employers do?


CVs are intended to present a candidate in the most favourable light possible and it's not all that unusual for them to be a little economical with the truth: a supermarket Sauvignon and Netflix habit gets rebranded as "fine wine and theatre" in the "interests" section, for example.   But the Conservative party leadership race has thrust a trickier problem into the limelight: what about a CV which exaggerates qualifications, job titles or responsibilities (something Andrea Leadsom denies doing)?

First, if particular academic or professional qualifications are essential for the job, the offer letter and employment contract should specify this and provide that failing to have such qualifications is grounds for withdrawal of the offer/summary dismissal.  The same goes for regulatory approval (which may be withdrawn anyway if an individual has misrepresented their qualifications). 

If a misrepresentation is discovered before the individual begins their employment, the offer can generally be withdrawn, although it's worth documenting the reason in case the candidate alleges discrimination.

If such a misrepresentation comes to light after the employee starts work, it will often be grounds for dismissal, although where the employee has 2 years' service and thus the right to claim unfair dismissal, employers should consider carefully whether dismissal is justified.   If the employee is performing competently nothwithstanding that they upgraded their 20 year-old A-level result, dismissal may be harder to justify. 

In any case, prevention is always the best option, so businesses should take steps to verify qualifications, previous job titles and dates of employment  before employment begins. 

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Mrs Leadsom's team has published a summary of her CV, after it was claimed - including by a former colleague - that her previous jobs were not as she had described them. "I have not changed my CV," she told the BBC as MPs voted in their final ballot of the leadership contest.
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