IT contractors axed over CV lies

Contractors in the computer jobs market are being warned to stick to the truth, as four senior IT freelancers have had their contracts pulled for lying on their CVs.

The four contractors, who all supplied financial services, were instantly let go after they were unable to prove claims on their CVs about their IT qualifications.

Yet rather than being exposed at application stage, each of the freelancers was caught out during a screening of an existing IT contract which they were renegotiating at contract renewal.

Such end-of-contract 'fact-checks' on IT freelancers' skills and qualifications are increasingly common, according to Powerchex, which screened the contractors.

Explaining the growing trend, founder Alexandra Kelly said financial clients were keen to demonstrate best practice when vetting new and existing temporary IT staff.

Outsourcing such checks not only offers the client a potential cost or time saving, but also hands them the tools to detect "CV embellishments" and "outright fabrications."

"A lot of IT contractors are being screened for the first time for qualifications", she added. "A few were caught lying about degrees and other qualifications.

"In every case they lost their contracts, even though they had been with the client for a long time and they were screened as part of renegotiating an existing contract."

In a downturn, or competitive jobs market, applicants often get frustrated from a lack of feedback, making it more likely they will lie to get ahead, explains Jenrick IT.

Length of contract, and sometimes responsibilities/achievements, is the typical section on a CV for contractors to manipulate, says managing director Philip Fanthom.

"The gaps in particular are gaining prevalence as contract candidates try to shorten periods of being without work," agreed Kelly.

"My advice, is to not lie. Clients understand that times are tough and people are being made redundant, but they are ruthless with the lies."

There is no single section on their CV which an agency, or screener, can look at to deduce if an IT contractor is bending the truth, said Xtra-IT.

Instead, the overall message of their CV is more telling, according to Estevao Pape, the firm's contract IT recruitment manager for South Europe.

"IT consultants who want to make a better CV…try to put down everything their project involved and not only their part.

"IT contractors are specialised and can't do everything or have a good experience in everything" and, he hinted, shouldn't use their CV to make claims to the contrary.

Fanthom reflected: "The problem with…'creative editing' is that [it] will be uncovered when the agent takes references and conducts security and financial checks, providing that the agent is doing their job properly."

Further reading: IT contractor CV template guide here and Content and example contractor CV here

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