Imposter Interviewers: When the New Employee is Not the Same Person Who Showed Up for the Video Interview

04 April 2022 Labor & Employment Law Perspectives Blog
Author(s): Rachel Powitzky Steely Maureen M. Stewart

In the movie classic “Good Will Hunting,” the interviewers are shocked and dismayed when Ben Affleck’s character appears at an interview intended for Matt Damon’s character. Based on Damon’s resume and other conversations, the interviewers were expecting a completely different person. What seemed like something that would only happen in Hollywood fiction is now a circumstance that companies find themselves grappling with in real life. 

With the increase in telephone and video interviews, imposter interviewers are becoming more and more prevalent, especially if the position is fully remote. Employers have become increasingly concerned that the individual hired may not be the person who they interviewed.

How can a company be sure the person on the video or telephone interview is actually the individual hired for the position? Protecting a company from retaining the wrong person is tricky given the myriad of immigration and employment laws prohibiting access to personal information prior to offering employment. Below are some considerations to help avoid the stand-in interviewer when conducting video or telephone interviews.

  1. Obtain permission to take a screen shot of the person who attends the interview. If the person does not consent to a picture being taken, the company may end the interview. Company policy should require destruction of the pictures after the company hires an employee for the position.  
  2. After an offer is provided, request a photo or any form of photo identification of the individual for onboarding.
  3. To reduce potential risk, employers could make clear that the purpose of providing identification early on in the interview process is to ensure that the potential new hire and person participating in the interview are one-and-the-same. 

Be wary of discrimination and retaliation issues

A major concern when requiring photographic or other personal identifying information prior to a person starting work is potential discrimination and retaliation complaints. A driver’s license photo provides personal information such as age, health conditions, and nationality. Once the hiring company is made aware of these characteristics, potential employees could claim they were not hired because of discrimination based on one of such traits.

Another discrimination risk arises from the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) of the Department of Justice. This little-known section allows persons to submit claims for discrimination based on a request for citizenship documentation, among other things. IER has ramped up its presence and enforcement in recent years, taking aggressive positions against employers, especially in alleged unfair documentary practices investigations (which is prohibited under the INA, 8 U.S.C. § 1324b and with which IER is tasked with enforcing). By asking for identification prior to making a job offer (especially a specific one) IER may claim the employer is discriminating against non-U.S. citizens or violating the prohibition on requesting specific identification when verifying employment authorization. 

As the trend of remote working is on the rise, more and more positions are being filled by applicants interviewing solely over the phone or video. Employers should act now to develop processes to authenticate that the interviewer is actually the individual that shows up for work on day one.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services


Ten Minute Interview: M&A Challenges & Opportunities
23 November 2022
Sujata “Sue” Sachdeva and Koss Corp.
23 November 2022
Cannabis Company Cops to SEC Accounting Fraud Charges
22 November 2022
Legal News: Cannabis Industry
Foley Automotive Report
22 November 2022
Dashboard Insights
CLE Weeks
5-16 December 2022
Milwaukee, WI
Foley Sponsors Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® Program
1 December 2021 - 30 November 2022
Michigan and Northwest Ohio Region
2022 Distressed Investing Conference
28 November 2022
New York, NY
Meet and Greet and Panel Discussion with E. Martin Estrada and Cuauhtemoc Ortega
28 November 2022
Los Angeles, CA