Recruiters who say they are from America but are not at all

Anyone who thinks they are immune to scams and frauds will usually be taken by a scam or fraud.   This is how people make money for nothing, by relying on people thinking they are too clever to fall for something so they fall for it harder than ever.

This has happened to me more times that I care to recall.  Its embarrassing.

One time I had a person approach me with the “Hey, I lost everything but I can get it back if you give me a large sum of money and you give me your address so I can mail the money back to you”.  He said he was American, but had married a Norwegian but he and his wife lost everything in their luggage and he could not stay at the youth hostel on Amsterdam Avenue on the upper West Side because they did not allow Americans to stay there (which is true…Americans, Canadians and Mexicans cannot stay there…which is probably in the tourists best interest).  And I ended up quizzing him about Norway, a place I am familiar with, and let him know he failed miserably and gloated over the fact he asked the wrong person.

Then one year later I gave $40.00 to a guy in a bar because he made me feel his calloused hands and showed me a Union Card and he promised he would pay me back.

He never did.  It dawned on me later that his calloused “workingman’s hands” were really just hardened by years of holding a hot crack pipe.

I got suckered because he sized me up as someone who knew what it was like to work and get screwed over and I felt sorry for him and gave him drug money thinking it would get him back home to New Jersey so he could be among his loved ones and some proper hand lotion.

I have been looking for a job lately.  The environment has changed since I last had to look.  Back in 2006 I met a recruiter who I swore up and down she had been sent to me by god.  She got me a great job that I loved, we hung out and often had dinner together and enjoyed pleasant conversations and good food.  She advocated for me with my employers if needed and I reviewed resumes for her to make sure she had the most trustworthy candidates possible.   I know I probably just got lucky and ran into an exceptional recruiter but my experience with her has perhaps made me overly trusting and vulnerable with others.

I am very suspicious of someone who uses a name that is not theirs during any kind of transaction.  If your name is Robert and you go by “Bob” then that is fine.  If you have a name that Americans easily forget because you or your parents were not born here then it is perfectly fine if you want to simplify and use “Bob” instead of Rabinidranath (Bob Tagore wrote the national anthem of India) but if your name is Rabinidranath Tagore and you go by the name “Bob Smith” then there is something wrong with you.  If you have a Voip phone that claims you are based in the US but its connection drops at the same time there are network outages in Mumbai then I am really suspicious.  I have had run ins with folks from the Indian subcontinent who have done this before and it always seems to be a way to cover their butts when their business plan goes belly-up.

But, in spite of my experience, successful lawsuit against someone using a similar tactic in a different field I have fallen for a recruiter who claimed to represent a company as an Anglo-Named businessman but really was just a resume combing person who tried to get me to sign away on not applying for another job.

From what I can gather the method seems to be designed to get H1B visas issued but I have no idea if it really works or not.  The trick is this:

1. Be a recruiter with a PO box in the USA but do not be based in the USA.

2. Contact job applicant.

3. Get them to agree to be exclusively represented  by their company.

4. Get enough qualified people to make this agreement.

5. Try to convince the company to sponsor H1B visas since no other qualified applicants can be found.

6. If you succeed, get one of your “recruiters” back in India to take the job and then get a big cut.

I am not naming real names because I have no proof of this.  It is pure speculation on my part.  But I did fall for another scam I should not have fallen for.  I will probably always be vulnerable to a degree but I assume everyone else is as well.



Unix interview questions and what is never answered by asking them

Many years ago I was an “anti-globalization” activist.  I hated that term.  I was not anti-globalization at all, in fact I love being connected to the world and I want there to be more connection with others, not less.  I also do not oppose “Free Trade” at all, If Bob from London wants to sell a shirt to Randy in Winnipeg there is no reason at all that Randy in Vancouver should object and try to get Kate in Ottawa to make it more difficult for Randy to buy one of Bob’s shirts. (in my world all Canadians are named Randy and Kate).  What I was opposed to and still am is treaties dealing with commerce.  NAFTA and GATT were so big that people hardly read them.  The Congressmen did not read these because they were huge.  I remember reading that GATT, when printed out, would have required a member of congress to push a wheelbarrow filled with GATT so he could read it and know what he was voting for (which never happened).  We in the United States are obliged by our Constitution to adhere to treaties and anything that takes up a wheelbarrow full of paper is not something designed to set us or anyone else free.

For some reason police were really afraid of us.  We never hurt anyone.  Many people were vegans or “strict vegetarians” and they did not want to hurt anything that breathed at all.  I can therefore say that the Police, the FBI and all of those people did very poor work simply because they did not know what to ignore.  They treated everything as a “job” and that included harmless people who didn’t eat meat and whose biggest crime was refusing to wear deodorant in my rental car.  If they had ignored us perhaps they would have noticed men in flight schools across the United States wanting to learn how to fly, but not caring if they learned how to land, but they didn’t.

I thought about this scenario when doing phone screens for my job hunt.  Phone screens are needed as they filter out the fakers in the tech world but lately the questions have not been “what do you do in this situation?” which a real IT professional will be able to rattle off real anecdotes and examples, instead they want to know commands.  Unix and Linux have a lot of commands.  I have used commands for years, then not used them for a year and completely forgotten them.  This is fine when I am at a keyboard because all I do is enter “man -k” or “apropos” and then the topic of what I am looking for  and do a quick scan and then see something that triggers my memory like:

“man -k duplicate”

chkdupexe (1)        – find duplicate executables
dup (2)              – duplicate a file descriptor
dup2 (2)             – duplicate a file descriptor
dup3 (2)             – duplicate a file descriptor
FcPatternDuplicate (3) – Copy a pattern
FcStrCopy (3)        – duplicate a string
msguniq (1)          – unify duplicate translations in message catalog
strdup (3)           – duplicate a string
strdupa (3)          – duplicate a string
strndup (3)          – duplicate a string
strndupa (3)         – duplicate a string
wcsdup (3)           – duplicate a wide-character string

I would then remember that I used chkdupexe once to halt two executables from running at the same time and causing the CPU to be running at 99% and 100%.  My fingers are faster than my phone voice.  I can concentrate better when I am not taking an oral examination that requires specific answers.  If this question was asked on the phone and it required an exact answer from memory I would have hemmed and hawed and that would have been followed by failure.  If I was asked “how do you handle a race condition?” then I could talk on the many details of this subject and fill it with boring anecdotes.  But this is not a common problem. If a data center had to deal with race conditions all day long to the point where their IT staff had memorized how to handle this situation they would have much bigger problems looming in their future.

One question I would like to see asked everywhere is “How do you decide what to ignore?”.  Choosing to ignore something seems like an anathema since admitting you actively choose to ignore things is akin to sloth, but we ignore things all the time and all day long.  Right now I am ignoring my carpet and my sink, but that is passive ignoring.  If the doorbell rang now I would actively ignore it.  Not to be rude but because I know that the only people who ring my doorbell at this hour are members of this strange church who only speak Spanish and think that “Laying of hands” will cure me of my monolingualism.  I have better things to do than to open my door and have old women touch my face.

So twelve years ago we had law enforcement paying attention to terrorists who were not terrorists while ignoring the terrorists who really were terrorists and we probably also have people being hired in data centers who just know how to do well on tests but do not know how to work in a data center.