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Home » Talent Acquisition » Ghosted by Candidates – or Did You Interview a ‘Ghost Candidate’? | A Guide to Spotting Candidate Fraud
Ghosted by Candidates – or Did You Interview a ‘Ghost Candidate’? | A Guide to Spotting Candidate Fraud

Candidate fraud is growing alarmingly, whether misrepresenting skills or experiences on a resume to professional interviewers interviewing for someone else. Glider AI discovered a 92% increase in candidate fraud between the end of 2020 and early 2021.

Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work and work-from-home gigs have risen in demand. This has dramatically shifted how work occurs and the entire recruitment process. Remote work has many fantastic benefits, like more flexible hours, a more engaged, productive team, and reduced costs. Remote recruitment is also much easier and faster than doing in-person interviews. However, not seeing your employees in person for interviews has created a hiring environment where it is easier for candidates to fake who they are or what experience they may have.

What Does Candidate Fraud Look Like?

Candidate fraud comes in many forms. Because of remote hiring and remote work environments, it is now easier for candidates to:

  • Fake their expertise, claiming they have experience, credentials, or certificates that they don’t have.
  • Have a more seasoned and confident person interview for them–meaning a different person will show up for the job!
  • Have someone feed them answers to interview questions via lip-syncing or a headset.
  • Plagiarize interview screening responses, resumes, or employment tests.
  • Cheat on interview screenings, employment tests, or other typed/written prompts using virtual access, a remote desktop, or by using Google to look up the answers.

How Can I Tell if Fraud is Happening?

During the remote recruitment process, it’s essential to look out for and be aware of subtle indications that a candidate you’re interviewing might be cheating in their interview process. While most of your candidates may be trustworthy, looking for suspicious activity is vital to ensure you don’t hire someone who may not be who they say they are.

Here are some signs that a candidate may be cheating that you can keep an eye out for:

  • A Zoom or remote desktop icon at the bottom of the screen
  • Two cursors while the candidate is taking a test
  • Strange body language–sweating, nervousness, coughing, throat-clearing, or frequently looking away
  • Suspicious background noises
  • Suspicious lighting–they may be hiding something or someone
  • Echoing voices–indicates multiple computers or speakers
  • Grainy video or low bandwidth due to the use of remote desktop access
  • Delayed answers to questions
  • Eye, hand, shoulder, and cursor movements are not in sync while typing or using the mouse

How Can I Prevent Candidate Fraud?

The best way to prevent candidate fraud is to simply interview candidates in person, where it’s much easier to ask them questions and receive verbal answers. It’s much easier to tell if someone lies in person, and you know they won’t have any external help. While they can still lie on their resume (and you should always double-check someone’s experience as written on them), interviewing in person removes the risk of someone cheating digitally, which is much harder to look out for.

That being said, if in-person interviewing is difficult or impossible for the job, there are ways to prevent candidate fraud digitally. Here are some suggestions to use in your remote hiring process:

  • Have a video prescreening instead of a call
  • Ask for a headshot during the video call
  • Ask for further explanation of a question or a detailed technical explanation
  • Use an online proctoring system that monitors their tabs or keeps an eye on the full screen
  • Have the screening test be a learning experience as well as a test so they feel more inclined to complete it truthfully
  • Tell the candidate you have anti-cheating measures in place
  • Cycle questions so that no two candidates are asked the same questions
  • Have a time or word limit for answers
  • Have the candidate use two cameras–one of their face, and one of their immediate area