February 7, 2018 at 5:11 pm #9580
It’s unfortunate that whilst we are job searching, there are some who try to take advantage of our perceived vulnerability. When you’re looking for a role, you can’t afford to turn down the chance to explore opportunities, especially when they’re from recruiters.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by a recruiter named Sylvia Russell, based in Milan and representing a recruitment firm called corporate-staff.com. She had found me via LinkedIn and sent me a job opportunity in the IT area. Unfortunately that’s not my area of expertise so I politely explained why I would be declining this opportunity. Not to worry, she asked me for my CV and to highlight what industries and roles I’m looking for – which happens to be senior level Marketing, and I happen to come from a tourism background. All good.
Last week I heard from Sylvia again, this time with two new roles. One a CFO for an airline based in Milan, and the second for a Marketing Director role based in Vienna. I explained that the CFO role probably isn’t for me (I can run a budget brilliantly, but us marketing folk aren’t exactly known to cross-over into the Office of CFO.. not enough colouring-in pencils for us to play with!). However the other roles sounds interesting, with just one problem: I don’t speak German and I’m not an EU resident so would that pose any issues in getting a visa to work, or even day-to-day work relationships? Not a problem says Sylvia. Let’s have a Skype interview in a few day’s time.
The day before the interview Sylvia sends me a reminder email of our appointment – all very professional. Now dear reader, by this time I am already twigging that something is not quite right here but I continue to the interview for two reasons: 1) As I’ve said in my intro, when you’re looking for a role you simply can’t afford to not explore all opportunities that come your way, and 2) if this was a scam I was kind of curious about what it actually entailed.
So far, so good. We had arranged for a Skype interview at 8am Milan time (6pm Sydney time), and at 6pm Sylvia dials me in. For the record I had dressed up, this is an interview after-all. And even if only my face and upper torso was in shot I even wore my suit trousers just in case anyone was thinking I had my summer shorts on underneath the “news anchor desk” 😉
The first warning shot was that Sylvia declined a video call and instead chose a voice call. Okay, that’s fine – not everyone likes a video call. The second thing that tipped me off that my original suspicions may be true was that “Sylvia Russell” was most certainly Indian, and very likely calling me from a call centre on the sub-continent and not from Milan. Hey, I could be wrong, and there may be a lovely Indian lady with a thick Maharashtra accent who is actually a recruiter called Sylvia Russell that works in Milan. But I doubt it.
Sylvia was very professional, I’ll say that. She discussed both job opportunities with me, although again I did have to re-iterate that a CFO role whilst sounding great, probably didn’t align to my skill-set. So we focussed on the second role. Third tip-off:
Sylvia pointed out that the role is in Vienna, Austria – and asked if this was far from where I lived? I politely pointed out that there may be some confusion, as I live in Australia – not Austria – and the two are in-fact, quite far away from one-another.
By now I was kind of smiling, curious about what the sting would eventually be. Sylvia then proceeded to tell me all of the amazing perks of this role:
– Great salary
– Relocation expenses
– Accommodation in Vienna
– Medical, pension, and bonus schemes
– Education for my kids
– Computer, mobile phone and a car
– Two free airline tickets every year to go home on paid vacation
Sylvia goes on to say that I would be their preferred candidate based on my background, and that she would love to put me forward to the hiring manager whom she was speaking to later in the morning. She also pointed out that this role was exclusive to her agency and that I could not find it via any other source. However (you guessed it, here it comes), my resume wasn’t quite up to the standard that it should be for a role like this, says Sylvia. And my cover letter probably needs some work as well. So, what she’ll do for me – because I am her preferred candidate – is she’ll get her “team” to re-write my CV and cover letter for me, providing me with a draft before they send it to the hiring company.
And how much will this cost me? Only EUR280 ($344 US Dollars, or $440 Australian dollars).
I politely paused the conversation there and pointed out that no recruiter charges the candidate to re-write their CV for them, and that this isn’t a service I need. She did try to overcome my objections just the once, but I didn’t back down. I was surprised that she only tried to counter me the once before thanking me for my time and ending the call.
Of course the role never existed. There were warning signs from the beginning, and my suspicions were correct. But what was unique about this scam was how professional this outfit are. Their website, the standard of English they used in the emails preceding the Skype call, the length of time between my initial contact and then when they “found” two suitable roles – everything about this particular organisation is very well planned and executed, up until the very end of course.
I imagine that they probably have a reasonable success or hit rate, targeting job seekers who may suspect that the offer sounds too good to be true, but need to pursue the opportunity all the same. And hey, they may even end up with a decent resume by the end of the process, too.
But this practice is unfair, unethical, and preys on the vulnerable. At the same time I was also feeling a little sorry for “Sylvia”, who is clearly doing a job and trying to earn money to support her family. I do see both sides to this. Obviously though, I’m more invested in my side of the conversation, and not being stung for a piece of work I don’t want or need.
So fellow job-seekers, be careful out there. Trust your instincts, and remember that old saying; “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
February 7, 2018 at 8:23 pm #9583
lil bald and unemployed
There are people that prey on the weak and right now, as you said when your out of work, you can feel somewhat desperate or maybe just overly optimistic…I noticed after I posted my resume on Monster a bunch of suspicious emails came my way…First batch were for part time work from home opportunities..work 10-15 hours per week and make 3-4,000 per month. REPACKAGING operator. I googled that and saw (1) its a front for stolen goods, and if you do this ayour an accessory to fraud..and (2) they weren’t even paying everyone who shipped things. I had 3 separate role for the same job, different rates of pay..I wrote back and said something salty about stolen good and copied the article I read and that basically stopped any further emails. Today I get a call from a woman asking me all sorts of questions about my background and said you applied to XYZ company. Hell I have applied to so many things I just listened. She said she wanted to see if I would be eligible for the International Society if Business Leadership and started telling me of all of the networking capabilities. So I say, is there a fee for this ? Of Course there is ….But we have a lifetime membership for $1000 or a 5 year one for $550. I go to google and type in International Society and BAMM..Scam alerts pop up. I said to the woman, this is funny..I just googled you guys and its says Scam. CLICK. She was gone. So sick that is someones job to enroll people in some BS. I bet she gets a commission for every person she scams. SAD..Be careful out there.
Saw a great Vid of a guy in front of a bunch of students. He pulls out a $20 bill..says who wants it? Everyone raises their hand. He then crumbles it up, steps on it and just dirty s it up. Says who wants it now? Uhhh everyone…ya know why? Its still worth $20. Lesson learned, we all still have value even when we get stomped on..Chins up Peeps..Got to stay true to who you are and keep fighting the fight…Like whop thought Nick Foles and the Eagles could beat the might Pats and Tom Brady. Well, guess what..The F’in Eagles did. Keep the faith…
February 7, 2018 at 11:24 pm #9590
These are some disturbing trends, AMC747 and lil bald and unemployed! I shudder to think how many people have fallen for these scams as they’re in true need of some income. 🙁 Thank you for outing these companies so the rest of us can keep an eye out!
If anyone else hears of any other scams targeting job seekers, please share that info here so we can keep our guards up!