UK prime ministerial candidate embroiled in false CV claims

by Miklos Bolza11 Jul 2016
Andrea Leadsom, who is in the running to be the UK’s next prime minister, has come under criticism after a CV was published that allegedly exaggerated some of her previous roles.

This is yet another instance of a high profile public figure coming under scrutiny for possible CV embellishments, serving as a warning to HR to properly screen all candidates during the recruitment process.
 
An updated version of the resume was published by her staff on Wednesday (6 July), containing amendments such as downgrading her seniority in one position.
 
While prior CVs listed Leadsom as working as a financial institutions director at Barclays, the new version says her role was deputy financial institutions director.
 
Her spokesperson said the discrepancies arose because she had held two “contemporaneous roles” within the bank.
 
She has often spoken of her 25 years of experience in the finance sector and told the BBC that she had “run enormous teams, small teams, start-up businesses”.
 
However, former colleagues at both Barclays and Invesco Perpetual have said she has overblown the importance of her past roles in these organisations. Some former executives said they did not even remember her, despite her claim to have been the bank’s youngest ever director.
 
“I think some of the claims about her seniority are somewhat fanciful,” one told the Financial Times.
 
The revised CV also listed Leadsom as working as managing director at De Putron Fund Management after she left Barclays in 1997. However, the annual report for the firm filed in 1999 lists her in the more junior role of marketing director.
 
“You have to be very careful with job titles that make people look very important — titles like ‘managing director’, ‘head of’, ‘chief of’,” Nick Hedley, founder of recruitment firm Hedley May, told the Financial Times.
 
“They can hide somewhat what the real role is. I think in general there is a lot of grade inflation of titles that goes on in the relatively flat structure of financial services.”
 
This case serves as a warning to HR that even people in society’s higher echelons can possibly alter their resumes, putting a real onus on firms to conduct background checks on all applicants.
 
In fact, the 2016 HireRight APAC Employment Screening Benchmark Report found that 59% of companies surveyed located discrepancies throughout the employee screening process.

Image: Andrea Leadsom MP / CC-BY-2.0
 
Related stories:
 
Detecting CV fraud without breaking the law
 
Red flags and background checks unearth resume lies
 
How to catch a liar at the office

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