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Lies, Damned Lies and Interviews

A recent New York Times article details the experience of one company when interviewing (remotely via Zoom, of course) for an IT position. The story depicts a particularly insidious (and also hilarious) example of “interview fraud.”

The candidate on screen had a “partner in crime,” a seasoned tech professional who was voicing the answers to interviewers’ questions. The candidate himself was “lip synching” his cohort’s words. And, initially, the interviewers were impressed with his depth of knowledge of the position’s technical expertise requirements.

Until one savvy participant on the employers’ side noticed that things were not really lining up and spotted the interview fraud.

What are the lessons here?

  1. Zoom interviews are now commonplace, especially today, but should probably be used more as a “meet and greet.”

  2. Your own due diligence in assessing a candidate’s ability is important. It’s essential to call references, do background screenings, conduct skills assessment testing, etc.

  3. People easily can fluff-up their credentials, especially online when they also have access to Internet resources that can give them answers to specific job-related questions.

  4. The candidate selection process, particularly for high-level positions, is a necessarily copious process. Trust it to an experienced firm with a proven track record of successfully delivering truly qualified candidates.

While the above story is an extreme example of “interview fraud,” there are thousands of lesser examples that underscore the point. Anyone can look good on paper and some people are also exceptionally good at representing (or misrepresenting!) themselves in interviews.

Taking the time to understand the person beyond their resume and external persona is important.


Greg Mickelson is a Principal of Standish Executive Search, a New England-based firm that advises business owners, executives and boards who are positioning their companies for accelerated growth, change or succession.

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