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What's with the Influx of Fake Tech Candidates?

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What's with the Influx of Fake Tech Candidates?

Tech’s talent market has reached an apex of competitiveness. Between the advent of transformative technological advancement and a slowing global economy (although 2024 began more positively than expected), enterprises are in a tough position – growth depends on hiring talent, but the right skill sets are expensive and very difficult to find.

Coupled with a recent influx of fake applicants in areas like Data and Software Engineering, we’re seeing plenty of hiring managers stretched thin and stuck for options when it comes to mission-critical talent. How can employers combat this? And what’s causing it in the first place?

AI-Generated Applications

The maelstrom of AI-generated CVs/Resumés, remote working opportunities, talent shortages, and in some cases, underhanded third parties, has given rise to a wealth of fake applications. It’s not uncommon to see upwards of 2000 applicants when we post a data engineering job, many of them insincere.

As generative AI tools cement their position in the mainstream, the ease by which applications can be faked is astonishing. We see the evolution of AI exacerbating this challenge in 2024.

From cover letters to questionnaires, generative AI can be used to cover the whole process (minus the physical verification, but it could be a matter of time…).

A Lack of Verification

Hiring processes in the tech space haven’t got a stellar reputation – they’ve historically been long-winded, multi-staged, virtual affairs that result in some frustrated candidates. While this has been declining in popularity, many hiring managers have reinstated the multiple task-based interview approach in recent months, largely a result of the influx.

One stumbling block is the lack of verification required to progress through the interview process. Without a dependable verification system, hiring managers risk wasting their time and resources on fake applications.

An introductory phone call might not cut the mustard either, not when the rate of proxy interviews is increasing (often referred to as the bait and switch).

Implications for Genuine Candidates

Not only do fake candidates put pressure on employers and hiring managers, but they obscure and detract from real, qualified, passionate job seekers. Whether it’s missing out on opportunities or struggling to get noticed – searching for a job is hard enough without the extra hoops.

Moreover, there’s a chance that a market saturated with applicants could place downward pressure on salaries, minimising the value of great candidates in the process.

Combatting the Challenge

With leaner budgets, looming project deadlines, and a host of unsuitable applicants, hiring managers are feeling the burnout. Workvivo recently surveyed 520 hiring managers and HR professionals, 98% of whom claimed to have felt burnt out in the last 6 months. It’s clear that for many, the hiring process needs a revamp.


Specialist tech recruitment agencies will likely play a key role in driving industry progression throughout 2024 – their dedicated talent networks, tools, and expert consultants can alleviate the pressure on hiring managers. By outsourcing, businesses can mitigate the need to waste time sifting through incompatible candidates.

This will reduce the time to fill without sacrificing the quality of the candidate – it’s a win-win. Plus, a good recruiter will have a diverse and wide-reaching talent network that expands the available candidate pool, enabling businesses to pinpoint the right person for the job, even in a saturated market.

The longer the process takes, the more money and time is wasted. Projects that fail to get off the ground due to a lack of talent availability can have drastic long-term effects on the resilience of any business, and the fee for outsourcing often pales in comparison.

Spot the Warning Signs

The fake candidate warning signs can be difficult to spot, but not impossible once you’ve got the right measures in place. Some employers are turning to:

  • Utilising a phone number verification service (many fake candidates use VoIP phone numbers so they can’t have their location traced)

  • Request a video call to verify their identities.

  • Check for activity on their LinkedIn feed.

  • Try and spot AI-generated content/language pattern repetition between CVs/Resumés

Support from Trust in SODA

If you’re struggling to identify the real candidates, let alone your ideal ones, the team at Trust in SODA is here to help. Our specialist consultants will take care of the process so you don’t have to waste your precious resources.

Plus, our global community network creates access to a wealth of diverse candidates that you can rely on, as we’ve spent over ten years building a platform for them! If you know want to know more about our best-in-class recruitment services, our community-led approach, or our commitment to our responsibilities as a B Corp, or the tech market in general, contact me here: Oliver Perry.