Could this ever happen? How could we solve it? (Inspired by Twitter Verified Account)

Applying for a job someone includes http://stackoverflow.com/users/22656/jon-skeet in their Resume/CV as proof they are 'mazing.

Granted it would be difficult to convince the employer you choose the username jon-skeet (plus the picture), but there are plenty of +20k users with odd usernames and no picture.

I know it seems a trivial matter but, Twitter probably thought the same 18 month ago. And as we know people are getting jobs off the back of SO.

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All the answers are based on an employer having a near perfect hiring process. Although this isn't a SO problem it might be an issue as the majority of revenue will most likely come from job postings. Again not a SO community issue more a SO inc issue. –  rjstelling Jun 29 '09 at 11:48
    
Great answers BTW! –  rjstelling Jun 29 '09 at 11:48
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7 Answers

It's pretty easy for the employer to check this at an interview: "Please could you log into Stack Overflow and show me what you've been up to?"

I don't think we need a "fix" for this until it actually shows up as a real world problem.

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That assumes you actually remember your password instead of expecting your browser to keep track of that sort of thing. –  Paul Tomblin Jun 29 '09 at 12:04
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Oh, and that you're comfortable logging into your openid account on an unknown machine with god only knows what keyloggers and web sniffers installed. –  Paul Tomblin Jun 29 '09 at 12:05
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I don't think I'd apply to work somewhere that I didn't trust that far. –  Jon Skeet Jun 29 '09 at 12:18
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Alternatively - I'd log in on my phone and show them that :) –  Jon Skeet Jun 29 '09 at 12:19
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What company would hire you anyway Jon? You're always on SO! –  rjstelling Jun 29 '09 at 12:33
    
Which makes the example given in the question an interesting choice ;) –  Jon Skeet Jun 29 '09 at 12:37
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I don't think this is a Stack Overflow problem, I think this is a hiring problem. If you don't vet a candidate's résumé, and still go off parts of it as your decision - that's your problem.

If someone is using SO-rep as a hiring decision, they should be familiar with the system, and can vet them through various questions like "What do you like best about SO?" and "What have you learned from it?"

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Not to mention that if they hire you based on lies, they will quickly find out that you don't know as much as this Skeet fella on SO does. –  Graeme Perrow Jun 29 '09 at 12:03
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This gets exponentially more difficult to pull off as more people use their real names as their SO handles. In fact, only 2 people within the top 35 rep scores at the time of this writing do not use their full name and/or actual photo in their SO profile. You would be hard-pressed to convince anyone that you were Jon Skeet on StackOverflow if your name was Jimmy Johnson, you don't wear glasses and you weren't from the UK.

Now, if you were to try and pass yourself off as Cletus, Shog9, TheTXI, etc. then that would be easier but non-trivial to fake.

It is unfortunate that folks who do not know what they are talking about are able to fake their way through tech-interviews (happened at our company at least once in the past 2 years). These people are quickly removed and hopefully the organization is smarter for it. The individual that got through our process was hired on at 2 other area firms within 6 months of our firing him so it wasn't just us.

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I guess a Verified Account would work, it would need a way of inspiring confidence though. For example what is to stop someone linking to a verified account? Sure it would say "this person is 'rjstelling' and we have a valid address for them" but that doesn't mean the interviewee is this person.

I don't see how you would do that without revealing personal information which would match the CV..

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It's an interesting thought, and having some sort of verification could always be an option in the future. However, I feel that if an employer hires somebody solely from their S.O. reputation, then that employer deserves to get deceived. Sure, adding your high rep to your CV might be appetising to an employer, but if they don't carry out further testing and vetting on a candidate, then that's their problem.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Maybe the answer to this is the solution being touted in the Podcast.

An employer will pay to speak (send message) to users they are interested in. If any company doesn't want to pay then they run that risk.

Users can opt-out so everyone is happy.

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They find out in the interview if you cheat. When hiring, you normally have a face-to-face meeting at some point and then the candidate has to show he is telling the truth (a browser and an internet connection provided :-)

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