Save Your Company From Tech Scammers: 6 Helpful Tips to Spot Fake Candidates

Save Your Company From Tech Scammers: 6 Helpful Tips to Spot Fake Candidates

Imagine yourself as a tech hiring manager. It’s pretty tough out there! The tech talent shortage is still going on, making it difficult to find candidates, especially when it comes to specialized roles. As you’re spending countless hours looking through resumes that don’t make the cut and scouring job profiles across the internet, you see it…the perfect candidate on LinkedIn. Skills that fit perfectly with what you need for the role, great experience in a variety of companies and looking for a new opportunity.


Sure, there are a couple of typos, and they say they can only do interviews over the phone, but hey, some people are camera shy, and people don’t have to be Shakespeare to be a C++ Developer. Let’s get this person through, and we can finally fill that role that's been evading us for so long, right?

Unfortunately, what has been happening more and more inside the IT industry is the proliferation of fake candidate profiles trying to scam their way into jobs all across the marketplace. A recent study shows the increase, seeing a 92% increase in candidate fraud since the start of the pandemic. Whether it’s the first step in a cyberattack at a company, job farming multiple roles across different companies or an underskilled worker just lying about their experience, these fake profiles can lead to lost time and money on people that are at best unqualified for the role, and at worst don’t even exist.

So while sites like LinkedIn are attempting to curb such behavior, what can hiring managers do/look out for to make sure that the perfect candidate is actually everything thing they say they are?

Read More: Demand Spiked the Tech Talent Shortage Going into 2022. Here's Why.

Watch Out for LinkedIn Lone Wolves

When looking at a LinkedIn profile, go beyond what their job experience says and see how much they are interacting on the platform. Do they have any endorsements/recommendations? Is there any activity on their feed? Are they actually connected to anyone else? If their profile is bare-bones at best, hiring managers should be more cautious. (NOTE: This is not saying to dismiss candidates that are not active on LinkedIn entirely. Valid reasons such as only having a profile just to apply for jobs along with candidates having security/privacy concerns do come up. In these cases, all concerns can be calmed with a slightly more robust interview process.)

Round Numbers = Red Flags

If a job description is looking for someone with “3-5 years of experience” and an applicant just happens to work at a company with the skills needed for exactly three years and not a day more, make sure to take a deeper dive into that company. Is it easily found with a quick google search? Is that company doing local hiring for their internal teams? If it gets to an interview, can they easily explain what they do and where they’re located?

Resume Issues

When looking at a resume, there are items both large and small you can notice that could possibly help you sniff out an impostor candidate. An email address with multiple random numbers tacked on at the end, a lack of a full name and awkward formatting throughout are tells that the resume might not be on the level. When reviewing further, experience descriptions that just rattle off technologies and skills rather than how they were used in a role can be a sign of someone not being honest.

Read More: How Companies Can Compete for Top Contracting Talent

Experiencing Description Déjà vu

When it comes to job-farming scammers, the name of the game is the law of large numbers. The goal is to throw a bunch of resumes and profiles out there and see if anything sticks. Because unique profiles take far too much time and effort, scammers will use the same titles and descriptions over and over. If you’re looking for tech talent and you are seeing the same explainers word-for-word over and over again, you are probably looking at candidates that are not as they seem.

Relatedly, if they have a major company as part of their experience, scammers will just copy/paste the overview of a business that’s posted in their about section without going into detail on what their specific role was.

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How to Combat the Scammers

Do Due Diligence

While some scams will be more obvious than others, it’s during the interview process that you can get a much better grasp of whether a candidate is on the level or not. During an initial screening call, listen to hear if there is a lot of background noise/a lot of people speaking around the candidate as if they’re in a phone bank with multiple other scammers. Also, be wary of multiple pauses where it feels like the phone is being muted and it appears like they are doing a search for the answer to the question just asked. There is a big difference between a candidate being nervous about a job interview and someone trying to run a scam, so context is always important.

Finally, is a candidate willing to get on a video call? With remote roles becoming more prevalent in tech, in-person interviews are becoming less required. However, during the interview process, discuss that a video call will be needed. Is that something that they can accommodate? If not, it could be a sign of a scam. 

Use a Recruiting Company

With more and more of these scammers popping up, searching for qualified candidates in the IT industry is becoming a bigger challenge than ever. Where recruiting companies can help is using their experience of looking at candidates every day to separate the scammers from the true tech talent and give hiring managers peace of mind that the people they are interviewing and hiring will be the best the industry has to offer.

If you’re looking to hire in the IT industry and want to avoid dealing with job farmers and IT impersonators, contact your local Motion Recruitment office today to connect with a member of our team. With each recruiter specializing in a specific part of the industry, the person working with you will have an in-depth knowledge of the skills needed for candidates to succeed in the roles you’re hiring for.

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