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September 27, 2023

Candidate Impersonations in Recruiting


The conversation around how candidates could use ChatGPT to misrepresent themselves is ongoing, but this could go beyond generative AI.

Recently, a number of the heads of TA we work with have flagged candidate impersonations as a burgeoning problem. Though not incredibly widespread and pervasive, the issue has the potential to grow exponentially – and, there are few existing countermeasures at recruiting leaders’ disposals.

Here’s what we’re hearing about candidate impersonations and how we’re seeing organizations respond.

What do we mean by candidate impersonations?

Simply put, companies are seeing isolated instances of candidates getting others to interview in their stead. Then, weeks or months later, a different person shows up for day 1 of the job.

The challenge here is how easy the practice is for candidates. It is trivial for a candidate to send the interview link to someone else. And, very feasible to get away with, as few companies have systematic ways to verify that the candidate interviewing is who they say they are – and that the person who shows up on day 1 is the person who interviewed.

How widespread are candidate impersonations?

Short answer: Not very. Many companies have experienced single-digit instances. But, that low occurrence rate belies three very real challenges:

(1) Detection Rate

Many heads of TA assume that the volume of candidate impersonations they detect is far smaller than the truth. Many could simply be making it through.

(2) Potential for Growth

Further, heads of TA note that there is very little stopping more candidates from using small or large fraudulent tactics to gain an edge.

(3) Detection Mechanisms

Though some prevention strategies do occur, no clean and universally-effective detection mechanism has yet emerged.

 

Candidate impersonations are merely one manifestation of the fraud made easier by the digitization of the recruiting process – the proliferation of generative AI in recruiting produces dozens more.

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