Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Encounters with modern day Pinocchios

Getting a job offer call during this pandemic brings in more sense of accomplishment that it did pre-pandemic. Nothing can match the gratification, especially the one that is derived out of a fruitful job search. But, there are indeed some malicious group of scammers who try to exploit the situation against job seekers miring them down into phony schemes. I am presenting a few instances of such experiences in an effort to bring awareness, especially among the fresh graduates.

I received a call convincing me that my skills impressed them greatly, persuading them to bypass the resume screening process. The outrageously confident and reassuring tone of the guy who spoke to me was more than enough to trick me into believing that the job offer is real! He mentioned that my resume posted in a leading job search site made them consider me as a potential candidate for interview. Wait! RED FLAG!! I am not currently looking for jobs and hence I have not posted my resume anywhere. I played along asking him information about the job roles, and the skills they were interested in, for which he responded saying that they only require minimum technical knowledge for the role of a Business Intelligence Developer. Another red flag! 

After patiently listening to his garrulous pitch, I inquired about how they got my contact information. That guy replied that one of my "friends", his valuable client, passed on my information as I was "serious" about job search. I asked if he could arrange for an online interview, knowing that he would say no. He scheduled my interview even without my consent and messaged me the interview location about 65 miles away from my place. 

With experiences like this before, I started googling the contact number online to check if the company name he provided actually corresponds to the contact information. It is not always true that a company with a website providing complete contact information such as telephone number and physical location is authentic. I found a website with the exact contact information he provided. Before I convinced myself about the authenticity of this organization, I browsed through a few Reddit posts, which revealed that the above said company is based on pyramid schemes. The irony is that instead of the employee getting paid, the employer gets paid by the employee getting entangled into the recursive payment schemes jeopardizing their reputation among friends and networks. There are more sad stories online than success stories from such organization. 

The next day, my friend called me on her way back from an interview from a financial consultancy looking for IT interns. I curiously inquired about her performance in the interview, expecting a positive outlook. To my despair, she mentioned that the job listing had no correlation between the actual job requirements, which he deciphered during the interview process with a key person, who was featured in that organization's website. She had no intentions to work in marketing roles as that is far from her domain and interests. Moreover, an internship in marketing would not satisfy the internship requirements of Information Technology degree plan. 

The nature of work she described literally shocked me. That specific job description did not mention anywhere that the job would include physically distributing flyers outside retail stores with a pay based on conversion rate. In my opinion a job like this does not have to require a bachelor degree. Sometimes getting a phone call for interview is a huge commission for those who go through nothing but rejections in job search. When such a phone call becomes a mirage, that can greatly impact the confidence level of job seekers. Hence, it becomes a thing of paramountcy to know if the communication is legitimate.  

Another friend of mine, had to go through the same pyramid scheme bait call, because of me. Since I was not looking for jobs, I referred that Job to my friend, who in this case is an international student desperately looking for jobs due to visa related time constraint. The scam caller hung up on my friend, when my friend asked a lot of vital questions regarding the job description and requested an email communication just for records. When I checked that contact information online, numerous testimonies refuting the credibility of the company appeared in the search result. 

The lessons learned here are to do a complete research on the companies offering jobs and scrutinizing the authenticity of the organizations along with the detailed analysis on the legality of their operations. Ask more questions to filter out possible scam calls. Do not fall for scams if their schemes are too good to be true. Easy money is an easy trap. Let me know your opinion and comment if you would like to add more to the content. 

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