Catfished: Yes, It happens to Recruiters

September 22, 2017 Jonathan Kidder No comments exist


Catfishingluring someone with an online, fictional persona. Also a popular MTV television show.

It all starts with a boolean string. Then you start messaging and cold calling applicants. You have a variety of resources to find applicants from LinkedIn, to Indeed, to Dice. You have that pressure and deadline to present a list of interested applicants to the recruiter and hiring manager. Can you trust that the applicants are telling the truth on their resumes? The answer is no. Can recruiters get “catfished”? Yes, and it happens more than you might expect.


The Information Technology space is very competitive. That’s why many companies have turned to finding applicants that may need sponsorship. With a language barrier, the challenge of detecting someone’s misinformation can be difficult. Plus, verifying experience and education levels outside the U.S. can be near impossible. This opens the door to possible catfish scenarios.


A recruiter friend once told me about a candidate who had a perfect LinkedIn profile and a spectacular resume. The recruiter reached out to the applicant and scheduled a call, and the person answered. The recruiter went about having the discussion about the opportunity. Besides dealing with the language barriers the applicant answered the required questions perfectly. The recruiter submitted the applicant directly to the hiring manager and again that interview call went perfectly. So, they decided to fly the applicant in from another state. It did not take long after that to determine that the person who got off the plane and attended the interview was not the applicant. This person had a deeper accent and was not wearing eye-glasses. Yes, this does happen. The recruiting and HR team were dumbfounded regarding the situation. Why would anyone try to do this?


If someone is willing to catfish a company like that, do some people completely lie about their experience on their resumes? Of course.


I heard through a friend about a different situation that happened at a large fortune five hundred company in the Twin Cities. The person was working as a security guard and had not completed his undergrad degree. With help from a family friend who was experienced in IT, he created a resume that made him look highly qualified in the SAP space. He landed a contract through a large staffing firm in the Twin Cities. He was on contract for 6 months with no previous SAP experience. He later said that he learned how to do his job through watching youtube videos. After six months the staffing company put him on another contract at a different company. He is still taking different IT contracts in the Twin Cities area. It’s possible that this guy went so long without being caught because he was getting jobs through a trusted staffing firm. The point here is that applicants that do lie on their resumes.


There is a lesson to learn from these situations. It takes an experienced recruiter / sourcer to see through these types of lies. Hiring an experienced Sourcer who understands the information technology space is very important. They can ask the right short of discerning questions. A background check is essential as well. Furthermore, it’s important to understand that if you work with larger third-party firms, they will sometimes overlook these types of situations because they are focused on just filling the role. I have even heard allegations of third party firms editing and changing the resumes, or submitting applicants without getting their consent.


There are other resources out there that can help with your staffing needs. WizardSourcer can deliver qualified applicants and are in the practice of going the extra mile to verify candidate information. Our team has over a decade of experience in the staffing space and know how important it is to find a trusted partner. It’s important to recognize that we are all vulnerable to being catfished, and to take the extra steps necessary to prevent this from happening. In the end, sourcing high-quality applicants saves everyone time and money.


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