Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

How to spot a fake candidate

Online safety is more essential now than ever.

Cat-fishing, defined as an individual creating a false online profile in an attempt to get people to think they are somebody else, is becoming more and more frequent. By now, most people are aware of the dangers of talking to people online and the ease with which people can hide their identity.

Catfishing is no longer restricted to online dating or being a source of TV entertainment, it would appear online safety precautions now need to extend into the workplace, as many job applications are now filled out via online forms. These forms, which require personal details and a candidate’s working background, give ‘cat-fishers’ the same opportunity to impersonate someone else as dating apps do.

Simon Houlton, CEO of IscreenYouScreen, has seen many occasions of this phenomena occurring during recruitment drives. As a developer of CV screening software, he knows all to well the importance of spotting a fraudulent candidate.

So, how can companies spot a catfish? Being vigilant of cat-fishing in the workplace and improving candidate screening processes will not only avoid identity fraud but stops any other sinister behaviour.

Houlton outlines four quick ways to catch a career catfish:

Request a variety of identification 

Some businesses require a passport style photo to accompany applications or proof of identification is asked to be brought along to an interview. If knowing they must provide a range of identification doesn’t put off a catfish from progressing with their application, then catching them out for having insufficient ID will certainly stop you from allowing them to proceed in the application process.   

Seek expert help

Trawling through large volumes of CVs yourself is labourous and it’s where mistakes are made. Looking at hundreds of similar applications is likely to allow catfishes to slip through the cracks. A screening service will help to pick out suspicious applications right away and chase up applicants for you. If the personal information required isn’t being returned or something on their CV doesn’t add up, you can instantly decrease the number of potential candidates by eliminating the suspicious ones.

Utilise social media 

Thanks to social media, businesses can check their candidates with a quick Google or Facebook search before even conducting any reference checking. If someone’s CV states they have been to a certain school or held a certain position at a company but there’s no trace of this on their social media accounts, then your HR department will pick this up right away. If you can’t find the candidate on social media at all, you might also have reason to be suspicious.

Does it sound like they are lying?

If a CV sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If someone has every skill you require and years of experience, but you can’t find any evidence of this when you do a quick Google search and can’t follow up any references, it’s likely you’ve got a catfish applying. Go with your gut and if something seems fishy, move on to the next candidate.

For more information about streamlining your referencing and recruitiment processes, check out: