Can You Spot A Fake Candidate? – Part 2

Can You Spot A Fake Candidate? – Part 2

Posted By: Suneetha Menon | October 10, 2017

As we saw in our last blog post on How to Spot a Fake Candidate, gaming the recruitment process often begins with a falsified resume, tailored to the specific position. If that resume results in an interview, the game must immediately get more sophisticated, and so must the recruiting officer’s detective skills.

The second clue – a candidate is unable – or unwilling – to participate in a face-to-face interview.

Because a critical part of today’s recruitment process relies on face-to-face interviews, often conducted via Facetime or Webex or a similar electronic communications tool, any candidate who is unwilling – or pleads that he’s just “too busy” – to take part in a face-to-face interview should be rejected immediately.

The third clue – possible cheating during a face-to-face interview.

The fact that a candidate is willing to participate in a face-to-face interview does not yet prove that the candidate is honest. In fact, this type of interview increasingly lends itself to cheating in several ways. During a live interview, here’s what to watch out for:

  • The sound of typing in the background – the candidate could be receiving answers from a more knowledgeable person just out of camera range.
  • The candidate often looks off to one side and pauses before answering – another way to receive visual answers from someone else.
  • The candidate wears an earpiece and pauses before answering – yet another way to receive answers.

What if a candidate is “too busy” for a face-to-face interview during work hours but is more than happy to do a telephone interview at some other time of day, say, on the way to or from work? Fine, but don’t assume he will not have help near at hand.

How do you test whether or not his interest and honesty are genuine?

Conduct the telephone interview as scheduled, but later contact the candidate a second time without warning and ask for some further clarification. Repeat several of the questions you previously asked and compare those answers to the original ones given.

The fourth clue – the person who shows up for the job is not the same person who interviewed for it.

Assuming that you have spoken with several candidates for the position and will not recall exactly what the selected candidate sounds like or even looks like, some recruiters have even been known to provide one person for an interview, and a different person to claim the position.

This is a warning sign that the candidate you are working with, may be a fake candidate. To guard against this type of deception, I take a photograph of each candidate who interviews via Facetime or Webex, as well as take notes of any distinctive qualities of their voice.

Though the precautions I recommend may seem extreme to some, it is good to remember that a recruiter’s reputation is her most important calling card, and that dishonesty in the hiring process continues to grow each year. That is why it is important that Hiring Managers be aware of this dishonesty and take the proper safeguards to avoid deception. 

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About the Author


Suneetha Menon
Vice President, Professional Services

With an in-depth background in technology, Suneetha Menon started her career at IBM as a Programmer and later moved into project management and consulting roles at other Fortune 500 companies. As Vice President of Professional Services, Suneetha is in charge of delivering custom IT Managed Services and Managed Staffing.

Suneetha is active in her community, often participating in STEM and sports programs and a current member of WITI (Women in Technology International). She holds a Master of Engineering degree from Syracuse University, New York.

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