Remote hiring? Look out for the fraudulent candidate!


While almost everyone has adjusted to remote work by now, there continue to be some hiccups employers need to look out for.

And one recent story brings to light a worry that hiring managers might not have even thought of — the fraudulent candidate!

Take a look at this crazy hiring tale, as discussed on the Ask A Manager blog.

Strange discrepancies

One company was looking to hire a new employee for its IT department. The interviews were all conducted virtually, and an offer was extended to a promising candidate.

But things took a weird turn when the new hire showed up for work.

Those on the interview panel began noticing some discrepancies. For one, the new hire wore glasses (which he didn’t during the interview process) and had different hair.

Other concerning red flags began to pop up. During the interview, the candidate mentioned being single. However, the new hire made references to his wife and three children. He also seemed unable to answer job-related questions he breezed through in the interview.

When the new hire “reintroduced” himself to a colleague he’d already met during his interviews, the company decided to investigate. The hiring committee confirmed the correct candidate was offered the job — there was no mix-up on their end.

This meant that, most likely, the person who showed up for the job was not the same person they interviewed.

The company consulted with legal counsel and prepared to confront the new hire. However, when they called him to discuss the issue, he promptly quit and hung up.

5 strategies to help

So, what can employers take away from this bizarre and concerning story? Employment law attorney Evan Conder of the firm Shawe Rosenthal LLP says it just means a bit more work on the hiring committee’s end to ensure they’re getting the person being advertised.

Here are Conder’s tips to avoid an incident like the one above.

  1. Use video. Don’t hire someone until you’ve seen their face! This will help make sure the person you’ve interviewed is the same one who shows up for work. It’s also a good idea to take some notes on their appearance (but avoid taking notes on protected characteristics like race and age).
  2. Ask for a photo ID during the interview. This is a very easy way to ensure the person you’re talking to has the name they’ve submitted on their application.
  3. Don’t brush off technical difficulties. Does your Zoom interview with the candidate keep glitching and buffering? This could actually be a malicious strategy. There are some software programs that create lags intentionally, allowing the candidate time to look up the correct response or get fed answers by someone else.
  4. Watch the candidate’s eyes. Do they keep glancing off-screen? This could mean they are using a cheat sheet, or have someone else in the room helping them.
  5. Ask the candidate to share their screen. Is the person giving off the red flags mentioned above? Ask them to share their screen. This will allow you to see if they are chatting with someone during the interview.

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