Interview Proxy - So what is an interview proxy? - This is essentially one or more (sometimes organized groups) of fake or manufactured interview candidates. An applicant represents themselves as having a certain body of skills but to substantiate these skills different players complete different parts of the interview process. The applicant is different from the person that shows up for the pre-screen. A different person takes the technical screen or skills test. Yet another different person might even show up for the client interview.
Shadow Proxies are also becoming increasingly common. This is a back up player, either off camera or at a remote location, that is listening in on interviews and providing either audio or text-based guidance to the interviewee.
Needless to say this is a huge problem that is undermining the creditability of the staffing industry as a whole. Not to mention, just plain wrong!
Some of the more organized operations are becoming very sophisticate and it takes a strong, well thought out approach to identify and weed out these players.
- Have clear disclaimers on job posting and in initial appointment setting that “Interview Proxies will not be tolerated”
- Consider language such as “The use of Interview Proxies is considered fraudulent and will render you ineligible for hire both now and any time in the future.”
- Require that formal identification be provided before candidate screening can begin
- Insist on video interaction at every step of the screening process
- Actively compare formal identification with video presence of candidate
- Record all screening calls and ensure candidate is alone during the process
- Open all calls with a restatement of zero tolerance policy for Proxies
- Watch body language from the candidate
- Watch eyes (normal is to look at camera, you, or their own picture)
- Constantly looking back and forth may mean they have notes, or are using Google/others, or there is someone else in the room
- Consider verbal versus non-verbal cues
- If the words, tone, volume, and speed of the verbal language does not match their body language and expressions, this is a red flag
- Watch for over compensation or exaggeration of movements, mannerisms, and expressions (more than just nervousness)
- Look for unusual pauses in the dialog and for indications the candidate might be receiving external input
- Consider headphones as a possible way they are getting fed information
– Not always, but if necessary, ask them to change to built in audio and compare/contrast answers (speed, quality, etc.) before and after change in audio
- During interviews, use appropriate questions which require specific examples of the behavior, experience, or skillset [how, where, when they were used] you are trying to validate
- During technical evaluation or hands-on skills validation observe the applicant’s environment
- If technical evaluation can be on THEIR SCREEN, that is best, then you can see what they are doing in other tabs/IM’s, etc.
- Ask for an experience letter from the current/previous employer(s)
- This letter is not a generic dates of employment and title verification of employment letter.
- This letter would include specific job duties they were completing/tasked with showing he/she/they have the required experience you need/they say they do
- No social media/LinkedIn profile or Linkedin doesn't match resume or interview
- Upon making a formal offer be sure to restate the proxy policy
- At the point of onboarding (especially in our current, mostly remote based workforce), revalidate all visual confirmations that your new employee is in fact the person that was present during the interview process
- In the event of any anomaly being detected first announce that this is the case “Based on our interactions here we believe you might be utilizing an interview proxy.”
- Request the candidate either confirm or deny this statement
**at this point, most candidates will just close the discussion immediately **
- Be sure to flag the candidate, institution and capture any supporting documentation in your system with a Proxy alert as they will likely re-appear at some point.