The COVID-19 pandemic plunged the job market into uncertainty and chaos. While the short-term effects included large-scale layoffs, the long-term impact was the shift to remote work culture

Hiring managers are tapping into the fast-growing market for technological solutions such as video conferencing tools that make remote hiring easier. This is evident from the sector’s growth: it was valued at $2.55 billion in 2021 and is expected to become U$3.85 billion by 2028.

However, this increase in remote working and virtual hiring is creating a new challenge; how to accurately vet potential candidates you’ve never met and prevent hiring fraud?

From tweaking existing job titles to adding years of experience, there are many ways in which recruitment fraud can occur. Employment certificate fraud rates have jumped by 30% during the pandemic. While background checks are the traditional way to address the issue, the rise in remote working and advances in technology have brought in new risks.

The best way to prevent hiring fraudulent candidates is to filter them out during the interview stage by watching out for practices like lip-syncing during an online session.

This article will help you understand one such type of recruitment malpractice: interview fraud. Read on to learn how it takes place and what steps you can take to protect your organization.

Rise of Interview Fraud

Is your candidate really who you think he is?

What is causing the increase in interview fraud?

While the recent rise in interview fraud can be attributed to remote work, other reasons are contributing to the increase in such illegal practices. They include:

What is causing the increase in interview fraud

  • A lack of qualified workers

There is an extreme gap in the demand and supply of skilled labor. Over 85 million jobs could go unfilled by 2030 because there aren’t enough skilled workers to take them. This would cause a loss of $8.5 trillion globally.

The labor shortage, particularly for specialized roles such as data engineers, puts a lot of pressure on businesses. 46% of organizations have experienced delays in project deadlines due to a lack of job-ready talent. 

The increased strain on recruiters and the need for expedited hiring create more opportunities for scammers. “There’s a lot of demand out there for (a) relatively few people,” said Ben Zhao, a computer science professor at the University of Chicago. He adds that the imbalance in the market may result in risky hires, making businesses “more susceptible to misrepresentation or fraud.”

  • Stringent immigration policies

Strict US immigration laws and a decrease in skilled American workers are worsening the supply gap. Overseas engineers who want to move to the US can feel they have to use dishonest interview practices to secure a job and an H1B visa.

  • Not using technical interviewers

General recruiters don’t always have the skill set needed to hire for technical roles. This makes it more challenging to evaluate candidates for an IT or software engineering position and determine if they possess the required skills.

In contrast, a technical recruiter understands the specific concepts and jargon relating to the role and can critically assess the candidate’s aptitude. FloCareer has a community of over 4000 technical recruiters to help you hire for specialized roles.

What are the types of interview fraud?

Interview fraud occurs when a candidate misrepresents themselves to the potential employer. Here are some ways in which it can happen:

  • Referring to an external source

This is the simplest form of interview fraud. When faced with a difficult question, candidates may be tempted to consult an external source to find the answer. However, the candidate’s darting eyes are usually a giveaway of such activity.

FloCareer’s question bank consists of over 40,000 crowdsourced questions, with scenario-based tasks and coding assessments. These questions are unique and designed to evaluate the candidate’s problem-solving capabilities. Furthermore, they are refreshed on a scheduled basis. Hence, they can’t be cheated with a simple Google search. Within the FloCareer platform, utilization of open tabs for research is identified and not allowed.

  • Proxy representation

Using a proxy during remote interviews is the new-age version of having a friend take an exam for you. Called the “bait-and-switch” method, it takes place when a candidate hires a professional to take the video interview on their behalf. The professional is likely to be an expert in the concerned field and fraudulently helps the candidate get hired.

This type of interview fraud is hard to detect in real-time; the scam will likely be revealed at a later stage when a different person shows up for the first virtual call with a client. It can also be revealed earlier when HR asks for identification documents before making an offer.

  • Lip Syncing

Lip syncing during a remote interview can take place in two ways. In the first method, the candidate gets a skilled friend or hired professional to feed them answers through an earpiece.

In the second scenario, candidates show up for the virtual interview wearing headphones that aren’t attached to the laptop. A second person behind the screen wears the correct headphones and answers the questions while the candidate moves their lips to match.

SHRM recommends the following steps to prevent lip-syncing during virtual interviews. All of these best practices are incorporated into FloCareer’s interview process. Candidates must:

  • Keep their camera on.

  • Agree to have their video evaluation recorded.

  • Not wear any earbuds or headphones.

  • Remove or turn off any filters or artificial backgrounds.

FloCareer’s recruiters are trained to spot common signs of lip syncing, such as candidates turning away from the camera, covering their mouths, or a mismatch between the audio and visuals. Candidates being fed answers may also take unusually long to respond to simple questions and resort to stall tactics like constantly asking, “can you hear me?” 

In addition to the expertise that FloExperts have in spotting common signs of lip syncing, we have built lip syncing detection into the platform. FloCareer Lip-sync feature uses the right combination of Behavioral Science (measurement of peripheral psychological responses), Applied Mathematics and AI Technology to assist recruiters make the right choice.

While fraudulent candidates may blame this on poor connectivity or camera glitches, our experts know when such illegal activity occurs. Moreover, FloCareer’s “no video, no interview” policy makes it difficult for scamsters to succeed.

  • Deepfake Technology

The latest addition to technology-based interview fraud is scammers' use of deepfake technology. Deepfakes technology uses AI-powered programs to create a realistic “copy” of a person. The technology can be used to swap an individual's face onto another body or clone a person’s voice to say anything of your choice.

Deepfake poses a real threat to the recruitment process. The FBI recently released a public service announcement warning organizations of the increasing use of deepfakes and stolen Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to apply for remote and work-from-home roles.

Train your hiring managers to identify real videos from deepfakes. You can use this website developed by MIT to learn about some “tells'' that can help you determine if a clip is phony.

What are the types of interview fraud

What can you do if a fraudulent client passes through your recruitment process?

If you suspect a candidate who has cleared the recruitment process is fraudulent, you can still rectify the situation. Here’s what you can do:

  • Double-check the candidate’s photo ID and ask for multiple legal documents to verify their identity.

  • Test the candidate’s skills by assigning them a short assessment or project. Watch for inaccuracies between the claimed skillset and the project results.

  • Check if the contact information provided is accurate. If a candidate constantly changes their contact information, it can be a red flag.

  • Pair the potentially fraudulent individual with an existing, trusted company employee. Communication between the two parties can help you uncover any fraud.

  • Re-strategize your hiring process and work with recruitment partners like FloCareer to reduce such risks.

Catch and prevent interview fraud with FloCareer

Hiring fraud is not rare; recent threads on social media have highlighted the frequency and severity of the issue. Fraudulent hires not only affect the integrity and security of your business but can also lead to poor productivity as the employee may not have the skills required for the specific role.

So what can you do to mitigate the problem?

FloCareer’s Live Interview Platform has many features to help you counter interview fraud. It helps manage and detect lip syncing, open tabs,  and other fraudulent activities and also provides a recorded video report for your team to examine. By switching to digital interviewing, you can monitor your cost-per-hire and time-to-hire and use this data to improve your recruitment strategy.

Our crowdsourced community of 4,000+ technical experts has conducted over 400,000 interviews and helped market leaders like Mercedes Benz and Deloitte hire the right technical talent. Our interviewers create customized reports for each candidate we assess and make a note if any fraudulent activity is suspected. 

FloCareer’s structured interview solution helps assess candidates for specialized skills using coding assignments and MCQ questions. Moreover, it gives each candidate a point-based score, quickly reducing hiring bias and shortlisting quality talent.

If you want to learn more about this topic, don’t forget to tune in to our webinar on detecting interview fraud in remote interviews on 17th October at 7:00 PM.