Recruiting · Technical Recruiting

How to prove someone's identity?

Asad Shaikh AWS/NoSQL/Big Data Architect at Capital One

February 11th, 2015

I am working on an idea in the recruitment industry, in order to vet the idea, I have discussed it with several recruiters, I have received good feedback, however, an issue has been brought up several times by the recruiters and appears to be a common issue.

In a nutshell, a typical recruitment process works like this for temporary IT contracts:

1. Recruiter contacts job seeker after reviewing his/her resume online, 
2. After the initial conversation, recruiter sets up a technical screening (usually on the phone) with someone other than recruiter.
3. If initial screening goes well, recruiter's client usually goes for Skype kind of an interview.
4. If all goes well, candidate is offered a job.

There appears to be no issues at all with the above steps, however, what I have been told is that in each step different person is brought in to make sure that candidate succeeds in that step.  In other words, initial conversation happens with person A, screening happens with person B (probably knows the technologies job requires), Skype interview probably happens with person B as well, finally the candidate (usually unqualified) shows up at work if all goes well.

My idea is trying to address some of the steps from the above list and what I am struggling with is how to prove that same person (candidate) is being represented in all the steps.  The process should be generic stuff where it can be applied in the international markets as well.

Rob G

February 11th, 2015

 Asad, if you are literally talking about authenticating the candidate to be sure the candidate on the resume is the same person (candidate) on the phone screen and is again the same individual on the final skype call and is the same person who shows up to perform the work i would say this:

1. the candidate and/or his/her 'handler' (often the company sponsoring the candidate's visa if we are talking about foreign workers being screened and hired for temp IT projects here in the US - please clarify) are crooks and they should be reported to the authorities. 

2. consider starting a service (think "eTrust" for recruiters) or an association of recruiters whereby you and the members can help identify and weed out the unscrupulous agencies/handlers.    I will charge only a small equity fee for the idea :-). 

3. money is the motivator here so the most effective way to protect the customer is via an effective contract that provides for financial penalties for fraud/misrepresentation. 

4. The candidate and his/her handler need to be notified from the start that fraud or dishonesty will not be tolerated. Having the handler provide the candidate's visa photo and visa ID# at the start will put them on notice.

5. Put a financial burden of proof on the candidate's handler.   That could be, for example, the handler is responsible for travel and other expenses and the first 14-30 days wages for the candidate which will be reimbursed to the handler upon confirmation that the person who shows up for work is the correct person. If not then the person is sent back with no financial obligation other than the handler being responsible to pay the candidate's wages, taxes, etc. 

5. I would consider requiring that the handler provide a copy of candidates visa photo and visa ID# with the resume and all subsequent interview steps should be via skype so the interviewer can make a visual confirmation. This doesn't address the use case where the resume does not belong to the person who shows up on camera, but this is addressed in the contractual terms and the tech screener should be able to ferret out any discrepancies.   

6. with the visa ID# any confirmed or suspected fraud can be reported to ICE (immigration and customs enforcement). The handlers are often on visa's themselves and if not they still understand that they can be tracked down as the visa sponsor. 

7. don't forget us little guys when you strike it rich!


February 11th, 2015

I see this all the time, I work with lots of offshore workers, some of them travel to our office and work.

Even with Skype I'm not convinced that they are not being told the answers.

Coding tests are useless if not in person, they will just have someone help them.

There has been 2 occasions where I have hired someone and I'm sure that person is no the person I interviewed. Both times I let them go.

Jesse Tayler App Store Inventor, Startup Entrepreneur

June 19th, 2020

What you want is to prove someone's identity in a way that ensures they are accountable.
There is no magic to tell if someone cheats somewhere along the interview process but since January of 2020, it now is possible to prevent posing or masquerading as someone else, and this effect is very powerful.
TruAnon lets people verify themselves using online stuff they already have, and without using any private or regional information so it works just the same for anyone even if you don’t have any ID at all.
This means you can BAN a person and retain their confirmed identity such that they cannot return with another email or a fraudulent identity.
Once you assure that outcome, fraudulent intent is dishearteningly thwarted to the point where there is just no point in trying to game the system.
If you are operating a gig-economy site, job site or a prestigious networking community such as this one here, you should consider automatic verified identity because it creates a sense of safety, authenticity and quality.
Plus, people just prefer to avoid invasive procedures and risking humiliating loss of privacy so common in background and credit checks we use today.

Daniel McEnnis Researcher Consultant

February 11th, 2015

This one is *very* hard. Any identification mechanism, encryption and signing included, includes the assumption that the key is secret to the person, as the system tracks the key, not the individual.  Especially with collaborative identity theft, this assumption breaks down entirely. Establishing visual contact, especially requiring photos with resumes, mitigates that the interviewee is the same, but preventing a switch at signing and hiring requires sharing pictures with the client and requiring a clause in the contract that requires all information presented to the interviewer be truthful, or the contract is null and void.  The candidate is just sent home on arrival.

I am less familiar with job candidates from India, but everywhere else, this kind of activity is a sure sign of either organized crime involvement or espionage, often both.  If you run into this more than once, it not only possible, but probable that your clients are conspiring with your interviewees, using your hiring agency to mitigate the consequences to them of knowingly hiring an unqualified person to launder the person criminal or intelligence funds.  

Daniel McEnnis
CEO Reseach at Scale

Rob G

February 11th, 2015

Asad, what do you mean when you say "... represented in all steps"?  

Peter Chalkley VCQ Media Ltd - London, UK. Public Relations and Communications social Dating Platform

February 12th, 2015

Asad Shaikh I am bring a piece of software which could be changed to solve this, in the Near future. If you wish, go connect with me on LinkedIn and watch for the launch date and when we have the software live on line then you could licence it from me and together we change it to suit what you want fully,  but the bases of what you want is at the core of it. If I understand what you want to do that is.

Rob G

February 11th, 2015

Asad, i get that recruiters don't want additional work.  I owned a successful IT consulting and recruiting firm for 14 years. i've personally recruited hundreds of software developers, PMs, analysts, etc.  I've had P&L and liability responsibility to deliver on contracts with some very large consumers of IT consulting services (100's of successful projects for Microsoft among others).  I can tell you that recruiters, at least the legitimate ones, also don't want to be spending time and money sending the wrong (or fraudulent) candidates to their customers and the resultant liability and hit to their reputation.  Legitimate recruiters who really want to solve this problem will make this work and it can be done with very little additional effort (via your service).  i am not suggesting withholding pay - if the candidate is not complicit then the candidate should not suffer, but their handler should.  If you configure this right the risk itself will filter out the vast majority of fraud and thus recruiters won't have to withhold payment or report to ICE - if they do your system can make that easy for them.   The point is to put the handlers and candidates on notice that your system will catch them if they break the rules. The game has changed and our model of personally meeting face-to-face with every candidate is unsustainable and being supplanted by the high volume, churn and burn model.   

Chris Keadle Business Development Manager at Covestic

February 11th, 2015

I would throw out there that there is typically more to the interview process than one in person or Skype meeting, not always but that variable should be addressed. Recruiter Tech Screen Submit candidate to client If client likes candidate than move to a phone Interview with client In person interview with client 2nd in person interview with client. I think above would be a more typical sequence

Asad Shaikh AWS/NoSQL/Big Data Architect at Capital One

February 11th, 2015

Thank you Chris for replying.  That is what I thought as well, I have learned that after the screening (strictly for IT contracts) and if screening goes well, client usually does only one Skype interview (sometimes in person) before making an offer.  The process for perm positions is much more involved and does not have the same issues.

Mark Tuttle co founder and CEO at Cryptografx Security Solutions

February 12th, 2015

Asad and Rob,

Interesting discussion.  I agree with robs points, that the liability should be on the handler / recruiter, the ultimate end customer and the candidate are the typical losers when the middle men don't have any skin in the game.  Also their are cultural differences that are actually quite significant, what we call fraud, might be considered normal in some parts of the world  :(

On the Solution side, there are a number of startups that are addressing tech hiring, and so it is likely best to partner up with one of those, if you guys are thinking of creating a solution for the market place. 

I had a company for 3 years located in Bangalore, where we put together dedicated teams for US clients, that worked in our offices in India, we were responsible for the environment, the workers, the work product, the data, ect....  so this way the candidates, and the end customer didn't assume any of the liability you have pointed out.  As it was, 2005 to 2007 we couldn't come up with enough top candidates... so we closed the business. 

Good luck... mark