December 2, 2009

Career Consultant Spammers!

I am sure you are a member of one of these Indian Job Sites and you get hundreds of mails intimating you about openings at various Organizations and Companies. And I am sure you have applied many a times if you are interested in the position on offer, sending your updated detailed resume. But my question is, how many of you have really got a call back for an interview applying for these jobs that are intimated from Job Sites by consulting agencies?

My experience is I have got a call back for interview only if the mail came directly from the Organization. I have never got a call back from the Recruiting Agencies that are abundant online, even if my profile suited the position they have advertised right to the last word. How do I know my resume suited the position right to the last word? I know because I know my job, I know what you require to do my job.

So I was telling you about the mails that come from Organizations and Agencies, intimating you about a vacant job. And I think we are so caught up talking about spams and scams in other areas like Social Networks that Career Spammers go unnoticed. Even I never noticed untill I received a call to my Unofficial Phone Number, which I leave only for recruiters and some very close friends, from some Agency from Mumbai that was trying to sell me a CD that had something to do with my profession. How did they know my number? How did they know what I was doing? I am pretty sure on of the Consulting Agency or an Organization to which I had sent my resume sold it to them. I went back and looked at the mails, in a hope to find a common pattern to figure out fake Consulting Agencies who are out there to sell my details to some thugs.

What did I figure out? Let me tell you:

  • Check if the mail is sent from a Yahoo or Gmail ID than a Company ID. Any decent Company these days will have an email address of their own. 
  • If they have an email address of their own, see if they have a website in the same address. If they have a website address in the same name, visit the website. See if the profile of the Company as mentioned in the mail and what you see on the website has reasonable connections. For example your mail may claim that the Company deals with Software Testing. If you visit the Website of the Company, you will find that the it is not about a Company at all. The website will be about some IT related conference that happened in 2006.  So check if the Company Profile on the mail matches with the Company Profile on the Website.
  • Check for phone numbers. A serious recruiter will leave a phone number for you to contact. Any Tom Dick and Harry can create an email address. They can not have a valid phone number if they are fake. And a phone number is more traceable than an email address. Go ahead and see if there is a phone number. Also make sure that the phone number in the mail matches with the phone number on the website. A decent company will mention all the public contact numbers mentioned on the website in their mail. Think twice before sending your CV,  if only a cell phone number is mentioned. A valid landline number is your key to make sure that the company exists and has an address. 
  • It is not enough you check for phone numbers. Call the number given and find out if you are calling to the same person as mentioned in the mail. Sometimes they can give you all the right numbers and still dupe you. So call and find out. Especially because your resume contains all valid data about you and it is a good tool for social engineering. 
  • See if the mail is rational. Sometimes spammers can cut and paste from different mails to avoid hardwork. If it is an authentic company about an authentic job, the mail will have logical connection from beginning till end. Some of these offers may talk about totally unrealistic and unrelated skills in an attempt to sound professional. For example, the other day I got a mail from a Company looking for a Soft Skill Trainer who had knowledge of Hardware and Networking. I know Soft Skill Trainers, who train call centre people. I have never come across a Soft Skill Trainer who has knowledge of Hardware and Networking. And that is the job of a Tech Trainer and not a Soft Skill Trainer. You know your job. So check the mail and see if the skills mentioned in the mail sounds familiar and have some sort of connection. 
  • See if the mail is clear about Soft Skills and Hard Skills and Qualifications and mentions them separately. Good recruiters know the hard skills required for the job and mentions them clearly and separately. Check and make sure that what you see is not a list of randomly picked skill sets to make it sound professional. 
But you don't have to bother replying to these mails from Career Sites at all. If you are really hunting for a job,  I have a few advices for you to avoid getting fooled:
  1. Go to the company website directly and apply directly to the company instead of trusting Career Sites. Most of the Organizations advertise their job openings in their websites. 
  2. Buy a news paper one of these days when they have a Job Advertisement Suppliment. Most of the good companies advertise directly through the news papers. 
If you do this, you can be at least happy that people are not duping you, manipulating your need to get a job.

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