update: the new hire who showed up is not the same person we interviewed

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager! All this week and next, I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter about the new hire who showed up and wasn’t the same person who had been interviewed? Here’s the update.

Unfortunately we didn’t get much more information! After John quit abruptly HR had a hard time reaching him for 24 hours or so…until they sent a reminder to return his equipment back in, which apparently he cooperated with fine and was totally pleasant in those interactions (Legal reminded my husband that the amount of equipment John had was worth enough to constitute a felony if he didn’t return it…. We guessed that Legal probably reminded John of that also, hence the cooperation). And then that was it unfortunately! The super sleuth in me desperately wanted to be around when they busted this little interview ring… but this all occurred in my husband’s notice period. His last day was a few days after John sent back his equipment. I like to think husbands former company tells this story as part of interview training and everyone thinks it’s as funny as I did.

Thanks to everyone that commented!! I think I read almost all of them and they cracked me up. When I first wrote to Alison my husband said, “Oh don’t, it’s probably nothing, no one is going to care about this!” LOL he’s feeling very vindicated and is thriving now almost 4 months into his new job. Thanks everyone!!!

{ 107 comments… read them below }

  1. Bill and Heather's Excellent Adventure*

    Oh man, I really wanted an update on this one but I’m not surprised at the lack of further information. Thank you for writing in, anyway. I’m glad your husband found a better job and is thriving in his new workplace!

    1. Carrie*

      Agreed. I have a friend who worked in HR for a very large organization and she said that happened once to them too!!

      1. Dragon*

        Carrie, did your friend’s organization ever figure out the story behind their experience?

    2. Elenna*

      Yeah, I really wanted more information on this one but I figured it was the kind of situation where you never hear anything else.

  2. Xantar*

    I had a feeling based on what you said about your husband’s notice period in the original letter that you wouldn’t be able to find out more. I won’t lie, I mentally said, “Awww maaaan!” when that turned out to be true. But thanks for giving us a very entertaining story!

    1. Presley*

      Same here! I wanted this guy to be an interviewee for hire, LOL. What an AAM interview!

  3. Pool Lounger*

    I just listened to a This American Life ep on lying that featured this same scenario! Apparently it’s more common than I realized.

    1. feedingfolks*

      Same! I thought this could be the same situation, I was so shocked it could happen twice.

      1. PeanutButter*

        Do you have the episode title? I’m not getting anything by searching “interview” or “impersonator” that looks likely.

            1. pancakes*

              I hadn’t listened to this show in a long while and it’s a good episode. The segment about Mary Koss is something I’ll be thinking about for a while.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I was astonished how many people in the comments had encountered this. Including the guy who tried to pass it off (at an in-person job) as yes, of course, the not-even-slightly-resembling-himself person who did the interview was not himself, but the answers were what he would have said.

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        Right???! I had no idea that so many people would do this. What is the long term planning??? Assume no one notices? Says anything? What about knowledge differences??

        Sometimes I wish I had the gumption. Not to do that, but to just have that level of confidence.

        1. Johanna Cabal*

          As a woman on the cusp of midlife I will admit for a brief second I fantasized about finding a younger look alike and then having them interview for me (I’m looking for strictly virtual roles so my interviews are on screen) to hedge out age discrimination.

          For a brief second. Then, I realized I’m not that kind of person and doing something like that would just blow up in my face lol.

        2. Mr. Shark*

          It sounds almost like “Catch Me if You Can” somehow, right? The guy just fakes his way into someone else’s interview, gets the job, and fakes his way through all of the work?

    3. River Song*

      I came here to see if anyone had caught the same thing happening on This American Life!! I wish the two companies could connect to see if it is the same person/people haha.

  4. Can't think of a funny name*

    I hadn’t heard of this happening until your original letter OP…out of curiosity I asked my boss if we had that problem ever and YES! And it’s apparently not a one-off occurrence…I just don’t understand how this could ever work out! lol

  5. Velawciraptor*

    Not long after this letter, we had a new hire show up who was the same person we interviewed but had none of the tech skills attested to in his application and interview. Throughout that whole situation, I kept thinking back to this letter and wondering how the whole situation played out. Nice to have what closure there is to be had.

    1. Firecat*

      This is nothing alike. It sounds like your company failed to vet a new hire who lied and/or embellished their resume.

  6. Eliot Waugh*

    Resume/interview fraud is also A Thing in clinical trial monitoring roles, another field that’s highly paid, highly remote, and relatively independent. My organization recently identified an employee that we suspected had falsified their resume and interviews, and they abruptly quit when confronted.

    Their resume said they worked for contracting agencies, and so the clinical research orgs where they were placed couldn’t verify employment. Our HR/Legal investigation found those contracting agencies were totally bogus. I suspect this is a similar scenario for resume fraud in IT fields.

    1. MPH Researcher*

      I work in the site side of clinical trials, and have wondered this about several CRAs I’ve worked with! There was one time early in my career when I had a monitor show up for her first visit and say to me “So… what does a monitor actually do?”

      She was with a super-small biotech company and I think covering several roles, so likely training/incompetence rather than fraud. But I spent several hours training her (as a research coordinator) on what she was supposed to be monitoring our site for. Being a bit more intolerant of incompetence now than in my youth, if this ever happened again I would send the CRA packing and ask the sponsor/CRO to send out a trained CRA next time, as nobody has time for that.

      1. Meara*

        Omg as a trial manager (and former CRA) , please do escalate!!! It’s so hard to know what’s going on in detail—especially if it’s a relatively good site or easy trial, and the report is minimal because of that! And sometimes it’s not something we can do anything about (or is not feedback we care about) but sometimes it is valuable! (Praise also very welcomed!)

        1. MPH Researcher*

          I definitely escalate now, both praise and negative feedback as needed. But the above incident occurred when I had been a CRC for a year or two and didn’t have the experience to know how far out of the norm it was. Most of the CRAs I’ve interacted with have been great, but as with any group of people there are some that are outliers on the negative end of the bell curve. Nowadays I manage 10+ CRCs and they come to me whenever they need someone to put the hammer down with a CRA. :-)

        2. A*

          I’m in clinical research at a CRO and had an instance of this probably 2 yrs ago- the CRA quickly resigned when approached about the disconnect between her skills at the SOV and those she had mastered at the time of the video interview a month or two back. Thankfully our company made quick work of things once we raised concerns about her skills not matching the skills of the role and of the CRA that was interviewed and hired.

    2. Sad Desk Salad*

      I’m on the sponsor side of clinical trials, and while I have no direct experience with this kind of thing, after years of dealing with CROs, it doesn’t surprise me!

    3. Legalize Texas*

      Great googly moogly, this is making me wonder. I was a CRA for several years and used to get recruiters all over me, then I went and worked at an extremely small-time contracting firm that placed me with a Very Big Name company for a few years. Recruiters disappeared, and I could never get an interview for a CRA job again, which has been a source of complete bafflement to me for years and years now. And very frustrating, because it forced me to take a big step backwards in my career after that contract was up, losing out on that pay and flexibility.

      I thought it was because I had moved to do a different type of work in those contracting years. But now I’m wondering if my resume smells phony to the CROs I’ve been applying with all this time.

    4. AnonForThis*

      On the other end of things, site-side – a few years back at a hospital, a former colleague told me about the newbie CRC they got through a medical contracting agency. She was a nurse, which was odd for this role as it wouldn’t really be needed for the work they did. I figured she wanted a foot in the door on medical research and would jump ship to a Pharma company in a couple years.

      Turns out they thought she was decent enough and tried to hire her permanently. HR at the hospital checks her credentials. She’s not a nurse. Never had a license.

      The easiest thing to check on anyone in the US is their professional license because you can just Google the state name and professional license and find the free-access state website that lets anyone look that up. (Assuming they’re not using a fake name.) This means that this professional staffing agency (which I knew as a fairly prominent one in our area) didn’t bother to do the easiest damned thing in the world to screen this candidate before sending them to work.

      Now I’ll grant that maybe she told them she wasn’t looking for that kind of role right now and she wasn’t hired into a nursing role, so maybe they didn’t bother to look. But they should have.

  7. Maestra*

    How could your husband think no one would care? This whole situation is fascinating!

    1. Savvy*

      That line got me too! And also had me wondering if OP’s husband regularly has wild things going on at work for this to be something “no one is going to care about!” XD

    2. Arthenonyma*

      I expect because he was second-guessing the whole situation! When OP first wrote in, he and other coworkers were still in the “this can’t be right, I must be the one who’s mistaken” mindset.

    3. Moonlight*

      I suspect it’s one of those things where it almost seems to wild or out there to be true. Like maybe he thought it would end with some misunderstanding.

  8. inaudible*

    I’m glad for the update even if there wasn’t a lot to it since it called my attention to the original post which I’d missed when it was originally published. I told the story to my husband, and he recounted a time at his very first job out of school. Another new hire, but intermediate instead of entry-level, posed a question. My husband, being green, answered the question with hesitation matching his lack of confidence given his lack of experience: “I’m not sure, but I think x,y,x.” The other guy quickly poo-poohed his answer, and the exchange turned out to be the first signal that this guy had misrepresented his level of experience because everyone not as green as my husband immediately knew his answer was correct. The other guy was let go within a week.

  9. Warrior Princess Xena*

    This was one of the most entertaining posts I can remember and I appreciate the further update!

  10. Savvy*

    This is one of my favorite letters of all time. I’m a super sleuth like you OP, I would have absolutely loved to be a fly on the wall during those calls.

  11. kiki*

    This was interesting to read because I’ve been finding out that there’s a whole cottage industry of services to help get under-qualified folks into roles in tech. A former coworker thought I was a personal friend when I was definitely just a work acquaintance. He revealed to me that he used a “recruiting/bootcamp” service to place him in his first contract software role. That service made him a completely false resume saying he had worked at bogus companies that the service answered references and employment verifications for. He also had “TA’s” help him with take-home coding exercises. He got into the role and was, unsurprisingly, in way beyond his depth. He was able to finish the contract, but not renewed. He took the phony roles off his resume before he applied to the company where we met, but because he had experience at a higher level from that contract gig, even though he didn’t do good work there, he was able to negotiate a much-higher salary than I was making. It made me so mad. He was a smart guy, he definitely could make a good software developer someday, but now he’s kind of stuck floundering in roles that are way beyond his capabilities.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      This is what gets me. Why on earth would you want a job that you’re completely unqualified for & where winging it won’t get you that far? (Let’s face it: some jobs it’s easier to tell if someone doesn’t know what they’re doing.)

      1. My heart is a fish*

        Seriously. Handling a stretch job is hard enough — I try to imagine myself in a job I’m genuinely unqualified for and I want to puke! How do people put themselves in that kind of a position and not lose their minds?

      2. Richard Hershberger*

        Tech gave us the motto “Fake it till you make it.” This is the same thing on the individual employee level. I’m not saying it is a good idea, but the ethos is definitely out there.

        1. soontoberetired*

          yep, and why a lot of people leave after 18 months because that is typically how long it takes for a lot of places to realize someone isn’t as skilled as they said they were.

          1. pancakes*

            It seems to me that tech employers have strong incentives to try to crack down on resume inflation and cheating on code tests, and notable that this is a problem they’re unable or unwilling to solve.

            1. TrixM*

              I think it goes with the whole thing about how it’s somehow noble that we’re employed as contractors and fly by the seat of our pants. In part I blame startup culture, and it’s certainly a handy thing for orgs to borrow who want to pretend their staffing levels are much less than they really are.
              I’ve been a “contractor” in my current role for nearly five years now – a technical job that will not be disappearing any time soon and is not seasonal in nature – but is not permanent purely because govt departments here are supposed to be reducing staff.
              So I wish this interview spoofing thing were more of an issue here (in Australia) – maybe more orgs would wake up to the fact that a purportedly disposable workforce can have many hidden costs.

              1. pancakes*

                Is that the mindset? Contract attorneys are a huge business too (and one I’ve cycled in and out of, sometimes getting hired with a group of new “staff attorneys” and then laid off en masse three years later when the litigation is done) but I don’t know of anyone who makes it out to be noble – it’s simply a way to create and maintain a class of workers who don’t get the benefits full-time employees get.

            2. TechGirlSupervisor*

              I don’t do take-home assignments in my interviews or coding tests. I do code reviews. I give a real bad sample code (bad design, no code comments, bad coding practices) that will compile but not run properly. I then give the applicant 15 minutes to review it and then I have them take me through all the errors and most importantly, how they would fix them. It’s always interesting to see what the first things people and how much they catch. I have sorted out so many “experienced” developers with this approach.

              1. pancakes*

                That sounds like good, effective, not overly burdensome approach for both the employer and the candidate.

          2. Apples*

            Trust me, their teammates know they aren’t as skilled as they said way before 18 months. However, tech hiring is so difficult and takes so long (4+ interviews is common) that some managers will bend over backwards to keep someone they’ve employed, even if that means the team have to deal with a junior rather than the mid/senior hire they expected.

            1. pancakes*

              Why so difficult? It seems like it should be relatively easier rather than more difficult to assess people’s skills vs. other industries.

              1. As per Elaine*

                Well, right now it’s difficult because the market is so hot and you may offer to four candidates and only have one accept.

                One can certainly do skills tests, and that does help, but it can be hard to tell the difference between a decent-to-good developer and a truly exceptional developer in a couple of hours. Or someone’s architecture is good and they fumble the implementation a bit, and you figure that this is Ruby and they know Python and would get up to speed, but by six months in it might become clear that their coding just isn’t up to snuff in any language, and not improving.

                In my experience, it’s not even that the hiring necessarily takes so long, but that getting someone up to speed does. A developer who’s only been working on a codebase for a year almost never understands it as well as someone who’s been here for five years and wrote half of it, and there are parallels in other tech fields that aren’t coding. I’ve been at my current role a year and a half, and while I certainly feel my employer is getting their money’s worth, I also still feel new and there are a million things I don’t understand yet.

        2. pancakes*

          I don’t think that came from the tech industry. The wiki entry for the phrase points to a 1973 federal appellate court decision using it in a sales context. I have a feeling it goes back further than that, but that is on record.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            I always assumed it was from show business.

            I’m GenX, & I definitely remember hearing it as a kid.

            1. pancakes*

              Yes, me too. It seems like it could go back to the vaudeville days, if not earlier.

            2. TrixM*

              Yep, same, well before the tech industry became prominent and I definitely associate it with show biz.

              1. pancakes*

                “Move fast and break things” is what comes to mind when I think of tech mantras. We shouldn’t let Facebook try to bury their own history.

            3. Elizabeth West*

              Same here.

              Once the late Ricky Harris (the skating choreographer, not the actor/comedian) taught a choreography workshop at our ice rink. She had two rules—one was if you lift your arm, you must follow it with your eyes, and the other was “Smile! Fake it ’til you make it!” In fact, she was so into that saying that she gave us all little pins of a smiling mouth. (RIP <3)

              I found that advice to be really helpful in interviews, actually. But not to the point of lying about my credentials!

      3. Cecelia*

        The opposite of imposter syndrome, I figure. Some people feel less confident than their skills would justify. Others wildly overestimate their ability to “fake it ‘till they make it”.

        1. kiki*

          That definitely plays in. I also think there is an issue with tech where every company wants an engineer with at least 2 years of experience, but there are few places that will hire somebody with no experience. So some people get desperate and end up fudging their info to get in the door. It works out for some people, either because they are exceptionally skilled or because the job didn’t actually need as much experience as the hiring committee believed. But more often than not it creates stressed employees, bad code, and missed deadlines.

          1. pancakes*

            Why do none of the employers want to train their own employees, though? It’s not just an expense, it’s a chance to shape their training. It’s not as if recent law school grads are much use in terms of experience, for example, but firms consider them a good investment for other reasons. It seems like it would be an asset to have engineers and developers and coders trained to do things the way their employers want them done? It also seems like they’d be cheaper than lateral hires.

            1. TechWorker*

              This works really well if your company is prepared to invest in training/education and people stay long enough to reap the rewards. I think where I work does it well but the average tenure is waaaay longer than most of tech. Plus some companies don’t actually have strong opinions on *how* the software should be written (& may well be run by people who couldn’t tell you anyway), they just need it as soon as possible. Those companies have little incentive to hire grads, they just want someone who can do the work as quickly as possible.

              1. pancakes*

                That makes some sense, but from the outside I don’t know how to square that with all the lobbying they do for more H-1B visas. If they just want the work done quickly and it doesn’t particularly matter whether there is shared institutional knowledge, recent grads and/or contract workers (which I know they rely on heavily) seem to be able to meet that need. It also seems that tech employers spend an extraordinary amount on their “campuses” and perks meant to make it comfortable to spend most of one’s time at work relative to other industries – if all that isn’t having any effect on retention, and retention isn’t even considered desirable in the industry, it’s curious they invest so much in it.

              2. As per Elaine*

                The company where my wife works tends to hire recent grads, has high standards for code, and also seems to have higher retention than is typical for the field. As a result, their can charge a premium for their services — and their washouts get snapped up by places like Google and LinkedIn. But it’s definitely not typical.

      4. kiki*

        Yeah, that’s really my nightmare. You could tell it was draining him to. He was constantly panicking because he was being asked to do things beyond his capabilities and he didn’t feel like he could ask questions without giving himself away. And he was so out of his depth that he couldn’t tell what would be a normal and necessary question to ask vs. one that would reveal his junior status. It just made everything so much worse for him.

      5. Sparkles McFadden*

        I had a casual acquaintance ask me for technical terms she could use during an interview for a database manager job that would convince the interview that she knew all about being a database manager. Since she had NO technical experience whatsoever beyond using a computer for Word, I asked why she would want to try to get a job that she couldn’t actually do. Her response was this: “When you get a job, they train you how to do the job. You don’t have to know all the stuff before you start.”

        So…yeah…a lot of deluded people out there.

        1. Starry*

          My father keeps insisting that if I just get my Security+ certification I will be able to go get a well-paying job in tech, and when I point out that learning IT security isn’t that fast a process he responds that it’s a test, you can figure out the answers on a test, and they train you when you actually get a job.

          This man is in the top 5% of developers in his very large company; I do not understand how he thinks this.

          1. pancakes*

            “This man is in the top 5% of developers in his very large company” – This seems to be central to the problem, from where I sit. (Outside the industry, to be clear). The people at the top don’t believe education is valuable. They don’t believe knowing things other than the very specific tools they work with is worthwhile or interesting. Hardly a coincidence that tech companies often seem to be ethically and culturally rudderless.

      6. Arthenonyma*

        Money? But also, if you don’t actually know much about the job you may not realise that winging it won’t get you very far.

  12. Cecelia*

    I remember this letter. It was so wild! I’m amazed at the chutzpah of some people. I assume if they were just several million dollars richer they’d be the next Donald Trump.

  13. Nook Nook*

    Even though nothing juicy was in the update, I’m still very thankful for it. The original letter has been living rent-free in my head for a while now!

  14. Gingerblue*

    The sentence “Husband describes John as being aloof and pretty timid whereas John was confident and articulate when they interviewed him” made me giggle madly the first time that letter was posted. The interchangeable use of John has not lost any of its delight with the update.

    I had a friend run into a similar situation with teaching some years ago, where the student who showed up to take an exam was not the student actually in the course. I’m sure it happens more than we catch with large lecture classes, but this guy waltzed into a relatively small class and thought the professor wouldn’t notice the switch. Iirc he was a freshman frat boy who thought taking his frat brother’s test for him would make him cool and popular. This, it turned out, was a bad idea.

    1. BatManDan*

      I read that last sentence of yours in the voice of Morgan Freeman, in my head. Made it 10x funnier (and it was already funny).

      1. PollyQ*

        Let me get this straight, you think that your client, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante, who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands, and your plan is to blackmail this person?

        Good luck.

    2. KoiFeeder*

      My undergrad had an apocryphal story with a similar bent that’s supposed to be the explanation for the rule about having other people taking exams for you resulting in expulsion from the class. Presumably this guy didn’t show up wearing an inflatable dinosaur costume to cover his tracks, though.

      1. pancakes*

        I think the exam parallel is an interesting one because that, too, can be eliminated. That was not a thing at my undergrad school because all of the classes were small, and nearly all of them required extensive writing rather than exam-taking. The only exams I took in undergrad were in the two science classes I took, and I had to write papers for those as well. The reason other schools don’t do this is because it’s expensive and, presumably, because many of the students just want a diploma, not necessarily an education.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          Perhaps one of the more interesting facets of this apocryphal story, depending on who tells it, is that it was entirely true that many professors would automatically fail you if you didn’t attend the final (even if you’d pass without taking it) or didn’t stay in the room throughout the entirety of the final, and the venn diagram of those professors and the ones who made no exceptions for illness even if you died was a circle. I’m not entirely sure what the logic behind it was, but the actual impact was that for four years, twice a year on finals week, I inevitably ended up with a severe cocktail of illnesses that I spend all of winter or summer break recovering from, and on one occasion actually put me in the hospital post-finals.

          1. pancakes*

            Oof, no exceptions for illness is a terrible policy! I’m sorry you went through all that. I had mono one semester in college and every prof offered me extensions on my conference work (an independent study project required for every class) without prompting. I don’t think there’s much logic behind that type of policy at all – it seems more like grim sentiment about presenteeism, or the proverbial “Protestant work ethic” / Calvinism.

            1. KoiFeeder*

              It seemed like the culture was more towards being present and convenient for the professors than actual learning, I agree. With the professor I personally had to deal with, I think it was a control thing? Any evidence that you might have a personality or life outside of basking in his knowledge and thanking him for it was a personal affront to him (this is the guy who said I shouldn’t attend college if I had a disability, so take this statement with the understanding that I personally disliked him and wouldn’t have spit on him if he was on fire).

  15. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

    So, the original letter was at the end of January. I was job-hunting at the time and I was asked at least once (and I think twice) to show my ID to the camera at the start of the interview. You know I was thinking about this letter! (And also about that software developer back in 2013 who was discovered to have outsourced his entire job to a company in China.)

    1. Alexis Rosay*

      My brother discovered that his coworker had outsourced his entire job to someone in Pakistan. He reported it and the guy wasn’t even fired! Apparently they just told him to stop doing that.

  16. Mimmy*

    I’d stated in my response to the original post that you were probably never going to get the whole story. When I saw that this had an update, I was hoping for something juicy. Alas, it wasn’t to be. I’m glad John returned the equipment without incident.

  17. Mother Trucker*

    We had this happen about 5 years ago. Guy interviews great, first week in training is fantastic, outgoing, and knows his stuff. Second week comes in Monday and doesn’t remember anyone’s name (including his boss), has to retrain on everything from the first week, and taught the basics of the industry that he knew the week prior. It was like 50 first dates. A couple of weeks in someone in general conversation mentions a sibling, and he told a story about his twin brother. Everything fell apart and into place at the same time.

    1. BatManDan*

      I’m always curious about EXACTLY how it all went down, once it was discovered. I’m here for the details on the firing….was there yelling involved? I can’t imagine how I’d react if I found that someone had done that to me, as an employer or manager or supervisor.

      1. Mother Trucker*

        Fortunately overall, yelling at others is looked down upon in our company, but I think this could have used a loud WTF? Director called him into her occur, pulled up a picture from his FB page of him and his brother together and asked him which one was current Trevor and which was week one Trevor. And he laughed. Not in a confused awkward way, but ‘ah ey yeah you caught me’ way. He stated that they have done that stuff all their lives in different situations and that it’s hilarious. (Now saying that, I hope neither of them are married.) After a moment of disbelief, director just said that it may be funny in their daily lives, but at work it is fraud and that he needed to leave. He laughed again, said yeah I’ll let you cool off, and left… for lunch. She didn’t think to ask for his badge at the moment, so he came back an hour later to work! She asked what he was doing there, he looked confused and said ‘working?’ She told him he was fired, he said oh ok, and left again. By the confused answer, it is still an open bet as to whether it was really him that came back, or if he had sent his brother back with no context.

    2. Sc@rlettNZ*

      I’m pretty sure that identical twins used to unofficially job share at a company I worked at in London. Similar situation – not remembering co-worker’s names, not recalling basic tasks or prior conversations.

      1. pancakes*

        I’ve encountered job-sharing twins at a grocery store, but they weren’t hiding it. I’m not sure they’d have been able to because one was always more goth than the other.

  18. learnedthehardway*

    I had something similar happen this past year. Found out one of the people my client was going to hire had falsified their background when they went from being all excited to being really upset, and then found out that the same guy was actually working at another one of my clients and had to tell them that their person with a highly critical function was a fraud. At least the second client was relieved to find out.

  19. KofSharp*

    This reminds me of the guy at my first job who disappeared for 3 hours during training for lunch, returned with an uneaten bag of warm Chipotle, and went from being a semi-competent “this is my first time in this field” to “I’ve never seen this before in my life.”
    It WAS the same person, or he had an identical twin with the same tattoos.

  20. PotteryYarn*

    My former coworker did this for her sister at a retail job. The night before the interview, my coworker’s sister was at a party and fell asleep. Her friends “pranked” her by drawing all over her face with permanent marker, which wouldn’t come off the next morning, no matter how hard she scrubbed. So my coworker went to the interview in her sister’s place, and apparently did well enough to score her sister the job. The sister showed up on the first day and worked there without issue for a year and a half, and no one ever said anything. I should also point out that while they are sisters and have some similarities in their features, they are most certainly not twins and would be very easy to tell apart. I believe one of them even had bright blue hair when this happened, while the other was rocking her natural brown color.

    1. As per Elaine*

      Honestly, the blue hair might help — it’s such a big change that of COURSE Jane looks different, and you don’t necessarily drill down to the smaller differences.

  21. The Seven*

    I had two friends in college who were twins who worked the same job at a tanning salon for years. Their names were similar (Holly/Molly) and the place never knew about either of them being a twin. As far as I know, no one ever caught on.

  22. Johanna Cabal*

    I commented on the previous post that a family member who works as a counselor in a high school sees a variation on this. Some of her students have older siblings or cousins unable to find work, even retail jobs, due to criminal records. So, they borrow the identity of a family member (usually a younger relative in high school) with a clean record who looks like them and use that identity to get jobs. Family member cannot get her students to understand that this is still identity fraud, even if they gave permission for their identities to be used. I can also only imagine the tax and social security implications.

    Of course, with our unforgiving justice system, I can understand why people get desperate enough to do things like this.

  23. That One Person*

    I remember this one fondly because of Alison’s enthusiasm at the updates, which is completely understandable given the strangeness of this story (even if its apparently not so uncommon). I’d bet the guy had to pay the actor and basically saw little to nothing for it in this instance so it feels like not just a con to the company, but the guy hoping for the job. Ah well hopefully its a lesson learned.

  24. NeedRain47*

    Since reading this story here, I’ve learned that this is a known scam. Not necessarily to have a different person do the interview, that part was different. But to have a resume that’s a complete lie, somehow bluff through the interview, and get hired out of desperation or lack of due diligence on the part of the employer, and survive a couple of pay periods at a rate much higher than they’d be making based on their actual skills.

    (I wonder if anyone besides white men can get away with this.)

    1. Econobiker*

      I’d read about the candidates substitute scam also. The desire for this makes sense when the remote employee can get paid a 1st world wage even for 1 month that might equal 6 months to a year of typical 2nd world salary levels…

      1. NeedRain47*

        The context where I was reading about it was Americans scamming Americans. Minimum wage is still $7.25 in a lot of places. A $30/hour job for a month will let you pay your bills.

        1. Econobiker*

          Gotcha. I’d read about video interviews in which the person interviewed was essentially mouthing for another person speaking! Like a live ventriloquist doll! Then blaming the audio versus video on a bad connection.

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