Virtual Interviews Bait and Switch – SHRM | Region & Cash

An unnamed company recently interviewed an applicant to fill a key position as a senior engineer specializing in the open source software Kubernetes. As computer world As the magazine reported, the candidate sailed “with flying colors” through three rounds of interviews.

What happened next might have taken the color off the faces of hiring managers and recruiters everywhere.

“They offered him the job. He accepted, went through onboarding, showed up at his first real virtual meeting — and it wasn’t the same guy.” computer world. “He literally wasn’t the person they interviewed. He didn’t look the same, didn’t speak the same, and most importantly, he didn’t have the professional skills they needed.”

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. As the number of virtual interviews has escalated thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, anecdotal evidence points to the number of bait-and-switch situations like that described by computer world also escalates. In fact, the author is computer world Article shared stories of not one but two bait and switch scenarios.

Dan Bartfield, co-founder of Yello, a provider of talent acquisition software, said his company’s clients have not reported this type of lock-and-switch attitude. But to prevent such a thing from happening, some Yello customers have asked job candidates to show a photo ID or other identifying document to the camera during remote interviews, he said.

It seems that more employers need to take such protective measures. In a survey commissioned by Indeed last year, 82 percent of the 1,100 U.S. employers surveyed said they had introduced virtual interviewing because of the pandemic, and nearly all (93 percent) expected they would continue to use virtual interviewing in the future.

However, remote interviewing makes employers more vulnerable to being duped by bait-and-switch antics, according to Mark Kluger, a Fairfield, NJ, labor and employment attorney

“But at the end of the day, I don’t really understand what the long game is because the person who shows up probably doesn’t have the technical ability,” he said.

Kluger said his informal online research suggests this type of job fraud is common in tech companies.

“A lot of people exaggerate the testimonies or experiences they’ve had, but … that’s a whole different thing,” he said.

So how can you prevent a bait and switch situation? Kluger recommends conducting several virtual interviews in front of the camera with a job applicant and, if possible, linking virtual interviews with personal interviews. Additionally, as part of the reference checking process, an employer should ask previous employers about a candidate’s technical skills and then interview the candidate about those skills before making a final offer, he said.

Of course, these matters can get more complicated when the person is a remote worker who doesn’t come to a physical office.

Another recommendation: look online for photos of the applicant to see if these photos match the virtual screen image of the interviewee.

Kluger also recommends being wary of rushing to hire someone without the proper due diligence to fill a vacancy in a tight job market.

“Perhaps one of the reality checks here for employers is not seeing what you want to see,” Kluger explained. “That could be part of the problem, that it’s easier to keep these scams going in a market where it’s difficult to find qualified people. If someone can talk, an employer may fall in love quicker than usual in a market that’s a little more swamped with qualified candidates.”

Now what should you do if the person you interviewed and virtually hired isn’t the same person who shows up for work?

Aside from terminating the worker, an employer might consider filing a fraud lawsuit against that person to recover any wages paid, Kluger said. However, he wonders if those wages could be reclaimed if the person who showed up actually worked and is therefore legally entitled to a paycheck.

“Someone who just exaggerates their skills is unlikely to be susceptible to allegations of cheating,” he said. “But someone who, for example, knowingly substitutes someone else for the interview to answer the technical questions and then shows up and starts collecting a paycheck — that’s clearly fraud.”

If such a case goes to court, an employer may not be able to recover wages, according to Kluger, but may be able to recover damages related to recruitment fees and other costs incurred by an employer in hiring the scammer.

Despite this possibility, Kluger doubts that many defrauded employers would go to court in such situations. Why? “Because I bet employers are too embarrassed to bring these lawsuits,” he said.

John Egan is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas.

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