During a pandemic, a new challenge for employers - how to know that the person you just had a job interview with online will do the work assigned or perform tasks as well as they presented their competencies during the interview? Equally, potential employees might feel precarious, that the employer who hired them may disappear into thin air. According to Viktoras Kamarevcevas, Chairman of the "Infobalt" eIDAS group Association and Business Manager of the company "SK ID Solutions" in Lithuania, in order not to be fooled, the most important thing is to know how scammers work and what technologies they use.
When most companies are still working remotely, the employee selection process is also mostly done online, and sometimes even after hiring employees, they are not met in person. When communicating virtually with a potential employee, you need to keep in mind the risk of impersonation.
“Abroad, especially in the USA, employers have already introduced themselves to the “deep fake” technology, which, using artificial intelligence, can simulate image and sound so realistically that it is often difficult to recognize it. When there are no physical meetings, it is easy to make another person speak for the candidate during the interview who doesn’t even plan to work for the company. There is a market for writing diplomas for another person, so is the market for such services as well.”
Expert suggests imagining a situation where you hire a person who was pretended by another, much more qualified person during a job interview, and your new employee does not have the competencies required for the job position. The cost that you will experience will be not only the salary paid to the impostor but also lost time hiring him and, eventually, releasing him from the position. Scammers may cause even more significant losses for your company.
Božena Petikonis-Šabanienė, the head of the personnel selection company “Manpower” in Lithuania, states that the mentioned problems are not new – they have simply acquired new technological forms. However, “Manpower” has not yet encountered candidates in Lithuania who have used “deepfake” technology during the employment process.
Quite different are cases of forgery and impersonation in practical assignments – this deception exists.
“For example, a few years ago, we hired store chain staff. Because the project was large and we met several hundred candidates in total, the wording of the practical tasks of this competition spread around the Internet. We found a separate page, “What “Manpower” Asks During a Practical Assignment to a Consultant Position.” It listed the “correct” answers and the recommended actions to be demonstrated during the selection. Thus, some people who attended the interview repeated information from the Internet word for word -” recalls the director of “Manpower” in Lithuania.
However, B. Petikonis-Šabanienė believes that such fraud is more common in lower-skilled and younger candidates, as more mature candidates understand that it will be complicated to hide their incompetence once they start working.
“We always advise our clients that the practical assignments would be as similar as possible to the real job so that the candidate would understand that it is a verification that the nature of this job is right for him and that the person is suitable for the position,” adds the interviewee.
Another scam that businesses need to be aware of is forged documents.
“A remote employee may provide false copies of documents or documents that do not belong to him, such as a passport or higher education diploma, or a document proving that a person is not convicted of financial crimes and the like,” – claimed V. Kamarevcevas.
According to the interviewee, a company can be deceived not only by a person pretending to be another person but also by another company.
“In the USA, there are already cases where behind a hired freelancer there stands another company based in a country with a cheap labor force,” adds a spokesperson for “SK ID Solutions”.
According to V. Kamarevcevas, to avoid hiring an employee pretending to be another person, it should be noted whether the person connects to the systems from the same IP addresses or the same country as during the first remote meeting. It is also worth asking the employee to send hard-to-falsify documents by e-mail – passports, professional diplomas, protected by an electronic signature or electronic seal. Feel free to ask the candidate to identify at least one former employer or colleague who could tell you about their competencies and the projects they have worked with.
“When it comes to “deepfake” technology, it is first and foremost worth noting whether the specialist speaks the native language correctly. Also, the employer cannot be indifferent to unnatural facial expressions, strange distortions of facial features, the discrepancy in skin color and textures, expression and quality of facial elements. Pay attention to unnatural confines and transitions: marginal parts of the face, such as the chin, eyebrows, hair, freckles, and moles on the alternate, can change their location inconsistently, appear, disappear, says the specialist.
The attention should be drawn to individuals who, as soon as they contact the employer’s representatives or the prospective employee, demand advance payments or the disclosure of private information.
People should also be vigilant when choosing a company where they can get a job, as employers can also implement scam operations.
“The first signal to pay attention to is that the conditions offered by the company are too good to be true. Excessive haste to process documents, evasion to talk on the phone or a request to transfer a fee for participation in a competition, recruitment or any other fee can be a cause for concern,” said V. Kamarevcevas. The interviewee suggests that it is enough to search for information about a person or a company on the Internet.
I. Petikonis-Šabanienė emphasizes that “Manpower” Lietuva team members, when looking for suitable employees for companies, always perform a cross-check: discuss the practical assignment with the candidate, check recommendations about him, conduct more than one interview.
It is also worthwhile for businesses to check their social networking accounts from time to time, as it is possible that people have indicated that they work for your company even though you have never heard of them.
“It could be a simple mistake, or these individuals are trying to trick another employer. In any case, incompetent “employees” can damage the company’s reputation or deceive another employer, so it is necessary to report such cases to the responsible authorities and social network managers. Information about impersonators can also be published on social media,” says the specialist.