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Video job interviews are the best way to weed out fake candidates and avoid phone interview fraud, says former recruiter Jeff Altman.
For many years, phone interviews have been the norm for many forms of initial screening by recruiters, both corporate and third party, as well as hiring managers.
A recent video appeared on YouTube of a job hunter being interviewed over Skype for a consulting assignment and being exposed as a fraud:
The job hunter’s attempt to lip-sync answers to interview questions looks like old Italian Hercules movies being dubbed into English, while over his microphone you can hear the person off-camera who was actually answering the questions.
Thinking back to my time in search [Jacob: as a recruiter] before transitioning into career coaching, I remember several second and third conversations with job applicants who originally sounded a little like the one above during our first calls together. I am a pretty bright guy and attributed it to a memory lapse. Now it seems like early instances of fake candidates doing exactly what “Hercules” did in this video.
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You may think this is as an outlier occurrence. It isn’t.
I was once contacted by a senior technologist who was approached for remote work which was in fact ghost work, i.e. logging in remotely to the computer of someone who was unable to perform the job and doing a few hours of work for them that they would otherwise not be able to perform.
As I mentioned in a comment on the YouTube video, the technologist wrote:
“I wanted to share a few recent activities that are happening post clearing fake interviews.
The candidates that clear the interviews after joining the respective organizations are indeed unable to work. They contact the consultancy who helped them get the fake interview and then these consultancies also get ghost workers for these candidates.
These ghost workers are the people sitting somewhere out of the US and for little money would help these candidates clear their regular tasks. Basically, the candidates share their desktop (no NDA signed here) and let the offshore ghost worker handle their regular assignments for an hour or two and somehow get safe from being caught…
Some consultancy recently contacted me to be a ghost worker for an employee. I rejected the contract but I then got to know from a few friends that this is a big scam already going on. I was contacted by the consultancy on pretext of getting a remote job.”
How do you feel about someone logging in remotely to do work for an employee or consultant?
You might think this is only a risk for people hired for consulting roles. As I reflect back, it occurred many times during my own career in search.
For example, someone posing as the candidate would do the initial phone screen and the initial phone interview with me prior to being invited for in-person interviews with my client. I remember receiving feedback about a candidate's poor oral communications when my conversations with “them” had been clear as a bell, or failing to answer questions in person that had already been discussed over the phone initially.
In order to head off such phone interview fraud, it is now time to make a shift from phone to video during initial rounds of interviews. Even if you dismiss the risk as one that can be caught during the in-person interview, time has been wasted on the part of your screener and the first level interview.
Job hunters have also been adversely affected by this. After all, you are competing with ringers: experts whose words and voice are used to fool employers. It is certainly possible to lose out on positions you have really wanted because the fake candidate has better skills than you. Video interviews will prevent these phonies from defeating you.
These days, there are many different tools available for conducting video interviews that are inexpensive and easy to work with. Let's make the change now.
Question of the article
As a recruiter, do you feel that video interviews will solve the fake candidate issue once and for all?
As a job seeker, would you insist on a video interview when a recruiter asks for a phone interview?
More on fake candidates
About the author
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice,” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn, then message him to schedule an initial complimentary session. If you are outside the US, Jeff will only accept your connection request if you mention this article.
Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.
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