the new hire who showed up is not the same person we interviewed (2023)

A reader writes:

This is a situation currently unfolding at my husband’s office so I’m a very amused bystander and thought I’d get your opinion on this craziness.

My husband works in IT and is on the leadership team at a midsized private company. He was part of a panel that recently interviewed a number of folks for an open position on his team. They are entirely remote. They had a few candidates for a first and second round, and had one make it to a third final round before an offer. “John” accepted the offer and started last week!

Except … it’s not the John my husband remembers. My husband was confused and said the following things were odd:

– John has different hair and now wears glasses.

– John is talking extensively about working in a garage because his three children and wife are home. In the interview, he made references to being single and was visibly in an indoor desk area.

– John can’t answer a number of questions that they previously discussed in the interview, things pretty pivotal to the position.

– Husband describes John as being aloof and pretty timid whereas John was confident and articulate when they interviewed him.

(Video) The New Hire Who Showed Up Was Not The Same Person Interviewed

He is convinced this is not the person they hired. I agreed that all those things taken together make this very odd but each one could have a valid explanation. I told him the most likely explanation is the hiring committee simply mixed up the candidates (or HR did) and the wrong John was offered and accepted. He agreed but said since only one candidate made it to the third round, that is really unlikely (other candidates had already been sent rejections before the third round even occurred). He’s confident they couldn’t have been mixed up.

All of this is a bit moot as my husband is in his notice period and will be moving to a new company in a few weeks … but he feels like he is going crazy. So my question is … is this a thing?! In a now mostly virtual world, are people perhaps paying people to conduct interviews for them?!?

The situation is actively unfolding so I’m sure I’ll have updates. The less mature side of me wants him to start planting fake references to the interview conversations they had to see if John bites, but I digress.

After receiving this letter, I got updates. Many updates (probably because I greeted each one enthusiastically and requested more)! So let’s do those first and then get to the question.

Update 1

11:57 am

A very quick update!

My husband just came out of his office and said he has a text from his boss “Holly” on his personal cell because she didn’t want it on the company network. She wants to know if he thinks John is acting a lot different than the John they hired. He responded and told her all of his suspicions with the caveat that he didn’t want to accuse him of anything but something is very off. She too thinks it’s unlikely candidates were mixed up because she has his resume and John claims all the same work history/credentials as the John they interviewed.

(Video) A Millennial Job Interview

They are on a call with HR as I type this. Unclear if they are working out an error by the hiring committee /HR or unraveling fraud. More to come.

Alas, my planting fake call-backs idea had no time to come to fruition.

Update 2

12:25 pm

Husband just got off a call with Holly, their HR business partner, and the internal recruiter who sent the offer. They confirmed the right candidate was offered a job and agreed many things were odd. (Another oddity revealed on that phone call … John didn’t know who Holly was; she had to reintroduce herself and he asked about her role … Holly was on two of three rounds of interviews and they extensively reviewed their org chart and her role.)

They are currently speaking with their legal team to discuss options and when to bring John into the mix to try to explain.

Update 3

1:43 pm

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It’s definitely been a crazy morning! They are waiting to hear back from legal — I think they are weighing whether they confront John and let him try to explain or let him go anyway. He either lied about his identity or lied about his experience since he’s unable to speak about the basics of the job now so regardless it seems like he will be gone. I will keep you updated on what he learns next!

Husband in a rabbit hole of research now and apparently this fake interviewing is a thing (the job in question is a mulesoft architect). Bizarre!

Update 4

3:13 pm

They heard back from legal … who are less than thrilled about the situation! They approved HR to have a conversation with John regarding what has been reported (more in the vein of “there’s been some concerns about performance and you overselling abilities” and less of the We Think You Are a Liar route).

In the meantime, legal approved security to put a trace on John’s computer to review if there have been outside messages or if his work is being completed with outside help or on a different computer altogether. My husband said the general consensus among the group on the call is that the talk with HR is going to send up a quick red flag and John is likely to resign claiming a poor fit rather than get caught committing or admitting fraud.

Hopefully another fun update soon! My husband is getting sick of me sitting against his office door eavesdropping :)

Update 5

(Video) 7 Important Questions to Ask The Hiring Manager in Your Interview

5:07 pm

I think my last update for a while: as soon as HR got on the call with him, before they could get through their first question, John said the words “I quit” and hung up the calls. He has since been unreachable!!

So good riddance John. Their security teams are trying to discover what all he downloaded, if they’ll be able to get their equipment back, is John really his real name, etc. !!

Incredibly bizarre situation. Hoping it was a failed case of trying to get a job and not trying to steal company info but who knows — they may never!

First, thank you for this saga, which I found highly diverting.

So yeah, in response to whether this is a thing … as your husband found, the internet claims it’s a thing, particularly in IT jobs and largely because of the increase in virtual interviewing. The idea is that one person interviews and another takes the job, or one person interviews while another person feeds them answers. You could short-circuit the first category by having people show I.D. at the start of virtual interviews, but the second category is harder and you’d need to address it by being forthright and direct if the person you hire doesn’t seem to have the skills they appeared to have in the interview … which is something good managers should do regardless, but it’s easy to fall into thinking maybe the person is just still adjusting to the role and then suddenly you’re two months in with someone who was never going to be able to do the job because they Cyrano de Bergerac’d their interview.

Read a final update to this letter here.

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FAQs

What if an interviewer mentions other candidates? ›

Likely, the mention of other candidates is only a request to be patient, or it's just the interviewer's way of ending the conversation. It's normal to be anxious about your chances after an interview , but try to think about the interview experience itself and the signs that you did well.

Are interviewers supposed to be neutral? ›

Interviewer neutrality can be accomplished by training interviewers to gather data in a nonjudgmental manner and to use a normal tone of voice throughout the interview process. It is important that interviewers avoid using words or nonverbal cues that imply criticism, surprise, approval, or disapproval.

Do interviewers have to give you a reason of why they didn't hire you? ›

Employers in the United States do not have to give a reason for not hiring you. Many employers choose to send a standard rejection letter without explaining why you did not receive the job. However, even sending a rejection letter is not a legal requirement.

Do interview questions have to be the same for each candidate? ›

When interviewing it's a good idea to ask each applicant the same questions where possible, to ensure you're treating applicants in the same way. Once all the interviews have taken place, make sure you're fair and treat everyone the same when deciding who should get the job.

How do you know if an interview went badly? ›

15 signs an interview went poorly
  1. The interview length was short. ...
  2. You met with little to no employees. ...
  3. You received very few details about the role or company. ...
  4. Interviewers focused on the negative aspects of the job. ...
  5. Interviewers didn't discuss your future with the company. ...
  6. The interview lacked a connection.

How do you know if you're a top candidate? ›

According to Toronto recruiters, here are the signs that you've identified a top candidate:
  1. They Followed All the Application Instructions. ...
  2. They Ask You Great Questions. ...
  3. They Take a Team First Approach. ...
  4. They Embrace Change. ...
  5. They Are Actively Looking to Grow.
1 Oct 2019

What are the 3 golden rules when one is being interviewed? ›

3 golden interview rules: be prepared, be professional, and most importantly, be yourself. The call you've been waiting for has come. A hiring manager wants to interview you.

What are four common mistakes of interviewers? ›

The 10 Most Common Mistakes Interviewers Make
  • Lack of preparation. Some hiring managers prefer a more “spontaneous” method of interviewing. ...
  • Getting really nervous. ...
  • Acting too nonchalant. ...
  • Being overzealous. ...
  • Intimidating candidates. ...
  • Lying. ...
  • Allowing bias. ...
  • Being over-friendly.

Why do interviewers ghost applicants? ›

Ghosting in the hiring and interview process may happen for a variety of reasons, but it's most likely due to the candidate not being a good fit for the company or not having enough experience in their desired field. The recruiter ghosting is a way of saying "no" without actually saying it.

Why do employers ghost candidates after interview? ›

Here are the most common reasons why you were ghosted after an interview that have nothing to do with you: The company is still interviewing other candidates. They promoted someone already at the company into the job.

How do interviewers decide who gets the job? ›

The hiring manager will usually hold a meeting to review the ideal candidate profile and to charge the committee. Each member of the screening committee will have their preferences for the qualifications and qualities of the candidate, given how they intersect with the position.

Do you interview the strongest candidate first? ›

There is no pattern on whether the first person interviewed succeeded over the last person being interviewed. Our clients don't tend to have a preference and would rarely ask, if at all, for the strongest candidate to be interviewed first so they have a good benchmark for others.

What makes you stand out more than the other candidates? ›

These can be professional skills, areas of expertise, personal qualities, or any relevant experience. Also, consider any impressive accomplishments from your past or career goals that speak to your commitment to the field. Think of ways to out-do the other candidates.

Does the order of interview candidates matter? ›

Does order matter when it comes to interviewing? Yes. Hiring managers are likely to remember candidates they interview first and last while candidates in the middle of the process are more likely to blur into obscurity and be forgotten.

Can you mess up an interview and still get the job? ›

The Takeaway

If you're lucky, they may just look past whatever snafu happened during the interview—big or small—and give you the job anyway. Of course, this is mainly likely to happen despite a less-than-ideal interview, you have relevant experience and the desired qualifications for the job.

Is a 30 minute interview good? ›

If your interview was 30 minutes long, then it was just long enough. Hiring managers will generally schedule about 30 minutes to interview a candidate for most position levels. If you lasted the full 30 minutes, you know that you answered the questions well.

How can you tell a fake candidate? ›

These include:
  1. Pay attention to if a candidate claims to possess a wide variety of different skill sets and experience with top firms. This could be a red flag. ...
  2. Look for an address. Fake candidates may only provide an email or phone number.
  3. Look for errors. ...
  4. Compare the candidate's resume against any online profiles.

How can a strong candidate stand out? ›

7 ways to stand out from the crowd
  1. Add a personal touch. ...
  2. Do your research. ...
  3. Start doing the job already. ...
  4. Make use of your other skills and experience. ...
  5. Show your creativity. ...
  6. Show some grit and resilience. ...
  7. Demonstrate a growth mindset.

How do you know you didn't get the job? ›

18 signs you didn't get the job
  1. The interviewer didn't express any interest. ...
  2. The interview was short. ...
  3. The employer cancels the interview. ...
  4. The recruiter mentions they're still accepting applications. ...
  5. You're unable to meet the requirements of the position. ...
  6. The interviewer doesn't sell you on the position.

What is the golden rule of hiring? ›

Following the Golden Rule applies to everything, including recruiting. It's a simple rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. This especially comes into play when working with potential job candidates.

What is the mirroring technique at interview? ›

Mirroring is an interview technique that can be used by candidates to reflect the behaviours of your interviewer, aiming to build rapport with them.

What is the meaning of Golden Rule in interview? ›

That is, when interviewing someone, you should treat your interviewee like you'd want to be treated if you were the one being interviewed.

What are the top 3 interview mistakes? ›

Top 5 job interview mistakes
  • Being unprepared.
  • Dressing inappropriately.
  • Talking too much or not enough.
  • Criticising previous employers or colleagues.
  • Failing to ask questions.

What is biggest mistake answer in an interview? ›

The best way to answer this question is to talk about a specific example of a time you made a mistake: Briefly explain what the mistake was, but don't dwell on it. Quickly switch over to what you learned or how you improved, after making that mistake.

What are 3 things you should avoid in an interview? ›

15 things you should avoid in a job interview
  • Arriving late. Poor time management decreases your ability to be punctual due to unpredictable delays. ...
  • Unexcused absence. ...
  • Too casual at greeting. ...
  • A lack of interest in the employer. ...
  • Questionable documents? ...
  • Overtired appearance. ...
  • Lack of care. ...
  • Inappropriate clothing.

What day of the week do most job offers? ›

While employers can call with a job offer any day of the week, Tuesday is statistically the most popular day to send out offers, closely followed by Thursday.

How do you tell if you will get the job? ›

14 signs that you got the job after an interview
  1. Body language sometimes gives it away.
  2. You hear "when" and not "if"
  3. Conversation turns casual.
  4. You're introduced to other team members.
  5. They indicate they like what they hear.
  6. There are verbal indicators.
  7. They discuss perks.
  8. They ask about salary expectations.

What is new hire ghosting? ›

“The incidence of so-called ghosting—of accepting offers and then saying that they'll start and not showing up—is at a record high,” Jonas Prising, chairman and CEO of staffing agency ManpowerGroup Inc. told the Wall Street Journal.

How do you respond to being ghosted in an interview? ›

How to react to ghosting
  1. Follow up with the interviewer. ...
  2. Wait a while longer. ...
  3. Reach out using other communication methods. ...
  4. Try contacting another individual. ...
  5. Practise getting interviewed. ...
  6. Focus on the next role.
11 Jul 2022

What the 3 most common reasons for rejecting candidates? ›

Interview Rejection Reasons and Job Rejection Reasons
  • One-Type-Fits-All Resume and Impersonal Application. ...
  • Under or Overqualified, Exaggerating Experience. ...
  • Social Media Behavior. ...
  • Inappropriate or Untidy Appearance. ...
  • Poor Body Language. ...
  • Lack of Good Communication Skills. ...
  • Vague Responses, Avoiding Questions.
8 Nov 2022

Is Ghost interviewer OK? ›

While it can go both ways, with employers ghosting candidates, it's not professional and shouldn't be done either way. Job seekers are not showing for interviews, stop communication with hiring managers and/or recruiters, or accepting a job and not showing on their first day.

Who makes the final decision on hiring? ›

And while the recruiter manages the process, it's the hiring manager who actually closes the deal. So, hiring managers are the decision-makers; they have the final say as to who gets hired and who gets rejected. They own the outcome of the recruiting process.

Is it better to be the last person interviewed? ›

Interviewing last can help keep your name at the top of their mind when the interviewers consider who is the best fit for the position. Interviewing last can also provide a unique advantage if the hiring process lasts longer than usual.

What percentage of interviewed people get the job? ›

Job seekers have a 36.89% chance of receiving a job offer after having one interview.

Is it better to interview in the morning or afternoon? ›

Morning interviews are usually the best choices for job candidates, too. By getting the interview out of the way earlier in the day, the candidate won't have as much time to get nervous or stressed. They'll also have the right amount of energy and shouldn't be as fatigued as they might be later in the day.

What time of day is best for an interview? ›

Avoid scheduling an interview early in the morning

Some optimal times to consider can include mid-morning times and up to an hour before lunch—typically between 10 and 11 a.m.

Which day of the week is best for interview? ›

The best time to interview is late morning or early afternoon, when the interviewer has finished their morning routines, is focused entirely on work, and is not about to leave the office in the late afternoon. The best days of the week to interview are the middle of the week: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

What makes you stand out more? ›

Standing out often comes from hard, consistent work. Attitude. There's no denying that positive people have better relationships. Keeping an upbeat attitude and being pleasant to be around can really make you stand out from everyone around you, especially if you're surrounded by toxic people.

What is your weakness best answer? ›

Answer “what is your greatest weakness” by choosing a skill that is not essential to the job you're applying to and by stressing exactly how you're practically addressing your weakness. Some skills that you can use as weaknesses include impatience, multitasking, self-criticism, and procrastination.

What are the signs that you will be hired after an interview? ›

16 Signs You Will Get the Job After an Interview
  • The conversation turns casual.
  • The interview runs long.
  • The interviewer shows positive nonverbal actions.
  • They introduce you to other team members.
  • They indicate they're impressed.
  • They ask about your availability.
  • The interviewer discusses perks.
1 Jun 2022

How do you know if a hiring manager likes you? ›

  1. The discussion extends beyond what you had anticipated. ...
  2. They're not at all distracted. ...
  3. Your interviewer asks you questions about your long-term objectives. ...
  4. The interviewer speaks specifically about salary and other compensation. ...
  5. At the end of the interview, the hiring manager offers positive information about the next step.
13 Feb 2015

How do you know if interviewer is not selected? ›

Use these steps:
  1. Thank them. ...
  2. Explain that you're pursuing other applicants. ...
  3. Mention the strengths of the other candidate. ...
  4. Let them know that many qualified applicants applied. ...
  5. Encourage strong candidates to apply again. ...
  6. By phone. ...
  7. By email. ...
  8. By phone.

What if interviewer says nice talking to you? ›

Originally Answered: What does it mean when the interviewer says It was pleasure talking to you? Generally this is just a polite way of saying 'Thanks for coming'. It may also indicate that your interview/learning something about you/your background was interesting, but not necessarily relevant to the position.

What things do interviewers say that let you know you won't get an offer? ›

Things that interviewers say that mean you won't get the offer might include "We are interviewing a number of other candidates," or "Competition for this position is very tough," or "We will reach out with next steps when we finish interviewing all other candidates." If the interviewer response is vague or non- ...

How long does it take to get rejected after an interview? ›

There is no hard and fast rule about how long employers will take to get back to you with a job offer (or a job rejection). The hiring process can vary from employer to employer, the type of job you are applying for, and the industry in which you work. You could get an offer in a day or two or it could take weeks.

How long should an interviewee wait? ›

Typically, it's best to give interviewers at least five business days to contact you. That means if you interview on a Thursday, you would wait until the following Thursday to reach out. This could mean you are waiting a week or longer before you get a response from the hiring company, provided they do reply.

How long does it take interviewers to make a decision? ›

In my experience, it takes two to four weeks on average to hear back after your final interview, but there's no standard time. According to a 2019 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the average time from interview to job offer is 23.5 days for recent college graduates.

What are good signs you got the job? ›

14 signs that you got the job after an interview
  • Body language sometimes gives it away.
  • You hear "when" and not "if"
  • Conversation turns casual.
  • You're introduced to other team members.
  • They indicate they like what they hear.
  • There are verbal indicators.
  • They discuss perks.
  • They ask about salary expectations.

What day of the week do job offers come? ›

What days of the week do employers make job offer calls? While employers can call with a job offer any day of the week, Tuesday is statistically the most popular day to send out offers, closely followed by Thursday.

Why you didn't get the job after a great interview? ›

Even if you provide excellent responses to every question in an interview, you may not earn a job offer if the hiring manager doesn't feel that you're a good culture fit for the company. Sometimes your personality or professional values simply don't align with the way the organization functions.

Should you smile at the interviewer? ›

A Strong Smile is a Sign of Confidence

Being confident can definitely get you way ahead of others competing for the same job position. And a smile is the best symbol of confidence. Not only does it create a good impression on the interviewer but it can also make you happy and feel positive during the interview.

What do interviewers say at the end of an interview? ›

"I am grateful for interviewing with you today. You have given me a clear overview of the position. I think my experience and accomplishments can provide value to the organization. Is there anything else you need to confirm if I am the right candidate for this position?"

Is it better to talk more or less in an interview? ›

When it comes to interview chatter, in a lot of cases, less is more. Although you want to show the Hiring Manager you're the perfect person for the role, talking too much could actually ruin your chances of getting a job offer!

What interviewers dont want to hear? ›

"I can't help thinking you might be interviewing somewhere else in a couple years saying the same thing about us." If you have to explain why you left your last job on short notice, put a positive spin on it. Whatever you do, don't gripe. Even if you're justified, it'll just sound like sour grapes.

What is the star method in interviews? ›

The STAR method is a structured manner of responding to a behavioral-based interview question by discussing the specific situation, task, action, and result of the situation you are describing.

Should you immediately say yes to a job offer? ›

Don't feel pressured into replying to a job offer immediately. Aim to make your decision within 24-48 hours. Make sure you express enthusiasm for the role. Don't be afraid to ask the employer questions before accepting an offer.

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