How do ‘bait-and-switch’ job interviews happen?

How do ‘bait-and-switch' job interviews happen
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Job interviews are a crucial part of any organization. It lets candidates convey their value better than on a résumé and allows managers to determine how a person will fit on their team.

However, the rise of online interviews during the pandemic and the hiring frenzy amid the Great Resignation brought the rise of candidates trying to cheat into the system. 

The scheme goes by various names: bait and switch, proxy interviewing, the fake-candidate scam, and job-interview fraud. 

It entails a job candidate hiring a person to pretend to be them, sit through the job interviews, and land them the position. Then, on the first day of work, the actual candidate shows up in place of the stand-in.

In many cases, candidates who pull a bait-and-switch are underqualified — or flat out unqualified — for the job they’re applying for. By hiring a stand-in, they can land a job they would otherwise have no chance at.

How to fake an interview

Bait-and-switch interviews appear particularly widespread in IT fields, resulting in unqualified hires having access to critical infrastructure. Other positions targeted by proxy scams tend to be nonmanagerial and noncreative.

Recruitment experts said that phone interviews are the easiest to fake. Applicants would only have to find someone who sounds similar to them as a stand-in.

On-camera interviews, meanwhile, can be faked by simply claiming that the webcam is broken, sticking a tape to partially obscure the view of the camera lens, or digital blurring.

With more and more companies conducting job interviews via video chat and hiring employees who are permitted to work remotely, experts say it’s easier than ever to pull off a bait and switch. 

“It has definitely increased because of the work-from-home culture, as well as the increase in hiring overseas,” Aamil Karimi, a principal intelligence analyst with the cybersecurity firm Optiv, said.

The worse thing about this issue? Companies and recruiters are often embarrassed to admit when they’ve been tricked. 

An article by Insider added that there’s no obligation to report ‘bait-and-switch’ interviews to law enforcement or the government. 

That is why some recruiters are just letting the fraudsters go, citing their obvious inadequacies, rather than trying to prove the person faked their way into the job.

Bait-and-switch interviews are a big problem — especially for a company that desperately needs capable talent. 

With no end in sight, recruiters are advised to stay vigilant with all their applicants and make sure that their interview process is enough to weed out unqualified applicants to qualified ones.

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