A problem I have is that when I get interested in something, even if it is unimportant and not vital to my well being or even that entertaining I will spend a stupid amount of time on it. This is a good quality to have in most ways. It means I have an attention span, it means I can stay focused and it means I can solve problems and enjoy doing so. But the down side is that sometimes I forget to eat lunch. Sometimes I will be looking up and classifying obscura instead of washing my clothes and then I will have to go down to The Gap to buy underwear and socks because The Gap is open later than the laundry room in my building.
I did this the other day while looking up fake recruiters and I believe I have various Modus Operandi classified for them.
The first part is psychology.
When you are looking for a job you must be positive in your outlook and your interactions with people. This serves two purposes in that it helps to have a cheerful demeanor just to make your period of unemployment more pleasant and it also serves others as well so you do not subject people to complaining all day. Also being positive right away during a phone call or an e-mail exchange makes potential employers at least want to continue correspondence with you, and that increases the chance of employment later. The fake recruiter exploits this by increasing the chance that you will communicate with them just because that is your demeanor with everyone.
If you say something like “I do not deal with Indian / Russian recruiters” to them and it turns out it is a legitimate agency with a legitimate employee who happens to be from the same country as one of the fake recruiters then you will look (deservedly) like an ass. But the fake recruiter will exploit this, both to keep getting information from you and keep that e-mail correspondence happening.
So, what do they do with the information?
First I heard that they keep on cutting your pay rate lower and lower so they can give a cut down the recruitment chain. If you ask for $50 an hour they will ask later if you can go down to $48 and then to $46 and finally down to $30. This is supposed to reflect their unwillingness to take a cut out of their money to pay down the recruitment chain. So a job that is $75 would mean a $25 cut for the recruiter but if a number of people sent you to that recruiter they need to be paid so instead of cutting out $10 from their take they cut $10 out of yours but at $2 a phone call or e-mail. Then when it comes to pay, they get you to switch from W-2 to 1099 and then never pay you keeping it all for themselves. This has a logic to it but I have not found any evidence for it. When people do not pay someone for work there is always some sort of evidence of a rant online or a lawsuit filed in small claims court but I have not seen this.
So, what are these fake recruiters doing?
As far as I can tell they really never want to get you a job. They want one thing: An e-mail with a resume in word format attached. They use this for two things. They take your information (and sometimes your name) and tack it on to another person wanting an H1B visa. Then they take your e-mail, re-edit it to make it seem like you are giving them permission to exclusively represent them for the job. This enables them to submit your edited resume, which has been edited to make you unqualified, to the HR department of a company. When they tell the HR department not to take duplicate entries of their client resumes the HR department complies, since they have better things to do than to check to see which recruitment companies are legitimate or not, and then they submit their own candidates who may have your real qualifications listed as their own to see if the company will sponsor a H1B visa for them.
If they sponsor one, then the fake recruitment company gets a large payment from the hopeful immigrant and continues to get a kickback from original company.
Like SPAMMING operations, these recruiters rely on volume, cheap foreign phone banks, VOIP numbers that correspond with the location of their corporate mailbox in the USA or Canada and they do not get that many “hits” from corporations. When they do it is one from an area that needs filling right away, so they hobble real candidates by getting e-mails and maybe resumes from them while promoting their own H1B visa candidates.
How do you tell if a recruiter is fake or not?
It can be tough, these people go through great lengths to mimic real recruiters. Their websites will have corporate giants on as “clients” (usually just a logo) but try to contact G.E and ask them if some small website that claims them as a client actually is their client. I tried for about one hour and it seems impossible to get someone who knows about these things on the phone. One thing I realized is to look at the headers of the e-mails. If they give a North Carolina location but the IP address in the headers is from Hyderabad India or Murmansk Russia, then you should assume they are fake.
The earlier post I gave the example of Rabindranath Tagor being changed to “Bob Smith” and I claimed that they just changed the name to sound “more American” but now I realize that though some people do this, others actually assume the name in India (legally change it or take on the identity but not the citizenship of a resume sender) and sometimes a “Bob Smith” from Mumbai comes to America on an H1B visa.
One of the best ways to check
This is a website that I think is used by people wanting H1B visas to check which recruiter gets a good portion of them. So if you enter your recruiter name there you can see how many Visas they got and what the average salary was for them. Remember that legitimate recruiters get H1B visas too. You can check Robert Half on that site and see they have had over 200 H1B visas granted since 2001. That is expected for a global recruiter.
Now check the name of some company that actively solicits your information from you. My target company (name not being mentioned yet) has a one room temporary office on the outskirts of a Research Triangle town in North Carolina and an office in Hyderabad India. Their calls frequently drop do to bad VOIP connections. Anyway, they have 30 more H1B visas accepted in the USA than Robert Half international with a salary for H1B visas being $40,000 less a year than the ones granted to Robert Half (I am not trying to suck up to Robert Half but good work on not being sketchy!)
In conclusion, do research, be wary, and if you get suckered (like I have) try to go on damage control by contacting the HR of the company that the phony recruiter claims to represent and explain to them that no one but you is exclusively representing you and ask what recruiter they use (if any). Or get a legitimate recruiter to advocate for you, because they will have a stake in your career as well as their own business.
To clarify before more comments are attempted to this post:
1. I am not anti-immigration. I just oppose people pretending to be recruiters for jobs in the USA when they are really using it as a front for immigration services. So please do not use me in some kind of anti-immigration spiel you have going on in your head because I will likely oppose it.
2. I am not racist or “anti-Indian”. I should not even have to deny this but this is one of the tactics I suspected is used to prevent discussion of fake recruiters and their tactics. I will continue to discuss them whether they are Indian, American or Russian companies. If they do tech recruiting in the USA but that is not really what they are doing, then they will be discussed.
I am amazed at how fast I got responses to this post. I hit a nerve with both the anti-immigration crowd and the Pro-Sketchy-Recruiter Crowd but I am going to be vigilant with moderating the responses since I want this site to be a one-way conduit of information…from me 🙂