John passed all the interviews and accepted the financial offer. “Fantastic”, they thought in the human resources department. “We have found the perfect candidate.” And then something weird happened. This John who started in the company was not the John who had done the interview. He had different hair and now he wore glasses.
Turns out that was a fraud. One increasingly widespread now that the hiring of employees is carried out through interviews via videoconference. The problem is also affecting both parties: There are companies with employees who are not who they say they are, but also professionals who end up being scammed by fake companies that steal their personal data.
Who are you and what have you done with the person I hired
The pandemic caused a paradigm shift in the professional field. Telework and hybrid work were imposed in many sectors, but this change also caused others in the professional field.
For example, the one that affected job interviews, which before were almost always face-to-face and which are now managed much more with calls and video conferences.
This has caused worrying situations such as the one who narrated Alison Green, whose husband works at a technology company in the United States. His company was looking for candidates for a vacant position, and after several interviews the chosen one, called John, accepted the financial offer.
When John got to work”he was not the John my husband remembered“. He has different hair and now he wears glasses, her husband said. “He talks a lot about how he worked in a garage because his wife and three children are at home. In the interview he made comments about being single and working an indoor desk.”
The interviewee and John were two different people. The John at work was shy, the one at the interviews talkative and confident. Something didn’t fit. The company started an investigation before speaking with him, and after verifying several inconsistencies, they ended up speaking with him on the phone from the human resources department. Before they could tell him anything, John said “I resign.”, and since then it has been impossible to locate him.
video conferencing cheats
What happened to this company is not an isolated case. The phenomenon of fake interviews has become something surprisingly common especially in the technological field, which is in great demand in markets such as the United States.
The techniques to detect a fraud of this type are varied. It is possible to check if the candidate has exaggerated skills in the curriculum vitae —a classic—, but it is also possible to contrast that curriculum with their activity in social networks.
In the case of videoconference interviews, even those responsible for LinkedIn published a series of tips to detect possible fraud. Observe the candidate’s eyes or mouth and body language, but also note if the candidate is wearing headphones with earpiece only on one side: it may be that a professional is “blowing” the answers on the other hand.
In fact, a unique market of “professional interviewees” has emerged, people who have experience with selection processes in the area we are looking for, with confidence and security, and who they supplant us in those processes.
The problem it is aggravated when the unemployment rate is very low: The demand for professionals is very high, and that makes finding a candidate especially difficult. Daniel Zubairi, who works at a cybersecurity company, explained how in his area that is a palpable reality: one of the employees of his firm got hired thanks to a fake interview – over the phone, yes – and worked there for nine months before being caught and fired.
Things have not been easy with the automation of selection processes. Ben Zhao, a professor at the University of Chicago who studies online job markets, highlighted how those who are dedicated to finding candidates for companies take advantage of these tools for a simple reason: they earn money when they find the candidate and the company hires him. They are, Zhao explained, “middlemen who can make significant profits by Represent Fraudulent Formula Clients“.
cases too have been varied for example in an Indian technology company. They had hired a new programmer who had successfully completed interviews conducted via video conference. When he started to work refused to appear in new video conferences. Pandemic restrictions allowed employees to telecommute, but when employees were able to return to the office, they realized the fraud: that programmer had not been the one they had met (and selected) during interviews.
The selection processes have also wanted to be renewed with the use of artificial intelligence systems. A study from Harvard Business Review reveals that up to 86% of employers use some interview technology, and one of the most widespread is the automated video interview.
Those interviews make the candidate answers automatic questions that are recorded and that must be answered in a limited time. The answers are analyzed in an artificial intelligence platform and combined with the analysis of their gestures, their language or their way of behaving (smiles, is serious, etc). In their conclusions, those responsible highlighted how artificial intelligence “has been glorified” for these processes and these processes can be improved in many ways.
The Other Side of the Coin: Scammers Preying on Job Seekers
In addition to these frauds, there are others that are equally worrying. It’s about the scams deceive job seekers. These end up offering a lot of personal data that scammers use to impersonate your identity and thus, for example, steal money.
Happened to him to a programmer received an email from an alleged “recruiter” who had seen his professional profile and had an offer from the well-known video game developer Riot Games. After a process of interviews in email and Discord, the economic offer was sent.
Everything seemed legit: the papers had the Riot logo on them, and the process certainly seemed reasonable. Then something strange happened: the employer asked for money — which they would later reimburse — for an iPad Pro that he would have to use at work. Shortly after, he realized that everything had been a scam. He didn’t have a job at Riot Games, and someone had walked away with his money.
The practice is becoming frequent, as explained at ProPublica: Social platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn serve as a means for scammers to contact those who make it clear that they are looking for work. They pose as human resources managers or employment agency intermediaries, but the objective is always the same. Steal money or personal data from candidates that they can then use in other crimes.
As always, there are tips to try to detect those fraudulent job offers: that the recruiter says that he has found you through your online CV —something that can certainly happen— may be a first symptom if it is too insistent when it comes to providing a lot of personal data.
Too the alarms should go off if the position is offered without further ado, without having requested it and without previous interviews. Extremely high pay, too flexible hours, vague job description are also important clues. And if you also ask for a payment for a first interview or for accepting the job and perhaps buying some equipment for that job, it is also likely that it is all a scam. As with other frauds, in this case it is important to think everything through, try to verify that the offer is legitimate and not get carried away by these deceptions.
Image | LinkedIn