The study polled a total of 1,932 UK adults who had actively looked for a job within the last 18 months. Of those polled, 26 per cent were University graduates, whilst a further 48 per cent had successfully completed A-levels or equivalent qualifications.
Participants were firstly asked if they had ever lied or exaggerated the truth on their CV. 63 per cent admitted that they had done so, with 16 per cent of respondents specifically stating that they had incorrectly claimed to potential employers that they could converse in a foreign language; which they had either limited or no ability to speak.
Other common fibs included the range of computer skills they were able to use such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, the fact they regularly participated in unusual or impressive hobbies, and their GCSE/A-level grades.
When questioned further, the 16 per cent of the respondents who had lied about their foreign language abilities had almost all applied for jobs where they were sure that their exaggerated language skills would not be needed, with 88 per cent explaining that this was the case. The languages most commonly fibbed about were French, German, Spanish and Italian.
Of the relevant participants who lied about being bilingual, 28 per cent believed that their false claims were the reason that they had secured their current employment. However, 41 per cent, of the fibbing respondents claimed to have since correctly amended their CVs after their dishonesty was ‘uncovered by an employer’.
Richard Michie, Marketing and Technology Director at Global Lingo, made the following comments regarding the results of the study: “Although the team here would never condone dishonesty on a CV, the indication that over a quarter of those who lied about being bilingual believe they wouldn’t have been offered their job otherwise just goes to highlight the importance that employers put on languages when recruiting for new positions. Perhaps those who admit to fibbing should put as much effort into learning a new language as they do their CV- that way, they won’t have to worry about their lies being caught out!”