Generative AI’s impact on sourcing and retaining top talent

As generative AI technology advances, fake applicant scams will continue to threaten businesses. Discover how AI is aiding businesses.

Scams targeting job applicants are becoming more prevalent with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reporting they affect 14 million individuals each year. Many business leaders may not know employers can also become the target of job scams. Scams that may seem far-fetched but occur include an unfamiliar face showing up on the first day of work because the candidate hired someone else to appear in their video interview. These scams also include remote employees paying someone outside of the country to complete most of the job duties in exchange for a portion of the salary. 

Technically gifted scammers can even utilize deepfake AI technology to mimic real people in interviews. Once the scammer gets the job, they then attempt to steal data or install ransomware. As AI technology continues to advance, it is likely fake applicant scams will continue to threaten businesses. 

With job scams on the rise, it is important to remain on high alert, know how to spot the signs of a scam, and prepare to protect your business. 

Know the red flags 

High and low-tech fake-applicant scams usually target remote jobs. Low-tech fake applicants may not be trying to hack your system or steal data. Rather, their focus is on presenting themselves in the best light, albeit misrepresenting their background, skills, and/or immigration status, to land the job.   

Recruiters should learn the clues to help identify low-tech fake applicants. Thorough background checks should identify scammers, but ideally, you want to identify the scam before it gets that far. A few red flags include a resume which seems “perfect” for the job, verbatim repetition of the job description, sparse details on their LinkedIn, and error-filled email communication. Recruiters do not want to assume the worst, but they need to be aware of the signs and prepare to act if they suspect a scam.  

Be aware of deepfake AI

Deepfake AI candidates are hard for recruiters to spot, especially because of the advanced technology that continues to improve rapidly. There are very few people who can easily distinguish a deepfake clip of a political candidate from a real clip or tell the difference between a real or fake applicant. There are a few things to look out for, such as a candidate having a slight disconnect between the way their mouth forms words and their audio. This lack of synchronicity can happen with real people, too, but it is usually addressed by the recruiter and candidate within the conversation, and it tends to correct itself. There are newly developed resources available to teach people to know the difference between AI-generated images and reality like Northwestern University’s “Detect Fakes.”

Complete background checks and call references

Many employers forgo checking references and conducting background checks when the interview process has gone incredibly well. In today’s environment, it is critical to follow through with these steps. Even if you must fill the role quickly, you will save yourself time and resources in the long run, especially if red flags appear during the process. When you do not look into the applicant’s work and education history, you are vulnerable to corrupt applicants.  The cost is too high.

It may seem like a simple step, but reviewing a candidate’s legal documents can pinpoint deepfake AI candidates. When a candidate’s personal information doesn’t align with your research, businesses must dig deeper to determine if it was an unintended oversight or something more sinister. Requiring at least one in-person interview can help verify the candidate’s identity as well. Most real applicants are eager for face-to-face interviews; however, scammers will not likely agree to it, removing themselves from the interview process. Even if you need to cover the cost of a final candidate’s flight to interview them in person, it’s well worth the money if you successfully screen out scammers.  

Intentionally structure interview questions

Open-ended questions are another way to thwart fake applicants. When asking a question such as, “Tell me about a time where you successfully worked on a team and how you approached any roadblocks,” recruiters are better able to tell if the candidate is a real person than when they ask simple “yes” or “no” questions. The 80/20 rule – allowing the applicant to do 80% of the talking while the interviewer only speaks 20% of the time – is good to keep in mind for any interview but critical when trying to weed out a scammer. 

As technology evolves, so will the scams. It is important for recruiters and business owners to stay abreast of scam tactics and remain diligent to identify and address red flags.  Even if you are aware of fake applicants and conscientious about your recruitment and interview practices, it is still possible to fall victim to a well-run scheme. That said, the proper preparation, tools, and resources can help businesses mitigate the risk of such scams. 


Sheryl J. LaPlace is a human resources consultant with Insperity, a leading provider of human resources offering the most comprehensive suite of scalable HR solutions available in the marketplace. For more information about Insperity, call 800-465-3800 or visit    

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