Job hunting is tough enough without having to deal with bogus employment agencies and recruiters. It’s a shame that in today’s job market, there are some con artists out there trying to prey on vulnerable people. If you’re looking for a job, here are some tips to protect yourself.
How to Identify a Phony Employment Agency Recruiter
A bogus staffing agency may have a professional looking website and not have any complaints on the Better Business Bureau or other online sites. There are no surefire cues, but here are some warning signs:
- The number you call back on to reach the recruiter is patched through to an area code or prefix different from the one on the agency’s website. This may indicate a Skype number. The so-called recruiter may actually be in India or some other overseas country. If you call the number back and can’t get through, it’s definitely a red flag.
- An interview is conducted online through Skype or similar service with a staffing company that doesn’t include any representatives from the company you’ll be working for. At some point in the interview process, you should have an opportunity to speak to a person at the company you’ll be working at.
- You get a job offer without ever having contact with someone from the office where you’ll be working.
- You’re asked to send paperwork with personal information, like your driver’s license or social security card, to the staffing agency in a rushed fashion. Regular snail mail transmission is discouraged. They’re very eager to have it emailed, faxed, or sent by courier or express delivery. This is a huge red flag for identity theft.
- It sounds too good to be true. The pay is top rate, the hours are flexible, they’re flexible about giving you a 1099 as an independent contractor or W-2 as a regular employee.
- They ask for money. If you’re asked to pay for their service or take a test, it’s a red flag. Legitimate employment agencies make their money from the employers.
Steps Job Seekers Can Take for Protection
- Don’t put a home phone number or street address on your resume. Use a Skype or easily changed cell phone number or post box address if necessary.
- Call the employer directly to verify that the position and your candidacy is legitimate.
- Don’t send any documents with personal information until you’ve called the employer yourself and verified the legitimacy of the job offer.
- Don’t put your street address on your resume.
- Check the employment agency out. Look at their website. Does it look professional and give a physical address? Check the Better Business Bureau and Google their name. While not finding anything suspicious isn’t a guarantee of legitimacy, something might turn up, so it can’t hurt to check.
It’s unfortunate that there are people out there lacking any conscience who prey on others. Whether they’re employment agencies or dating partners, there are those out there who will study you and try to prey on your vulnerabilities to their advantage. I can’t explain how their twisted minds deal with their evil ways. Do they justify it because they see themselves as victims in life? Are they just pure evil and aren’t capable of remorse? It doesn’t really matter. Report them to the appropriate authorities, take defensive measures, and rest assured that eventually they’ll get the misery they deserve. What goes around comes around.