by Denis Bayliss, Head of IT Recruitment Services, Jumar Solutions
We’re constantly being reminded about internet scams and identity theft. We’ve all seen those bogus ‘click here to restore your internet banking’ emails – not to mention the famous ‘I’ve got £10m to send to a trusted friend’ scams. But, if you’ve signed up to a number of recruitment websites, and you get a message from someone who claims to be a potential employer or recruitment agency, how readily would you send them your CV? Bear in mind that it’s a confidential document containing a whole host of personal data. Okay, it’s not a bank statement but… Many of us just upload them, and wait for the job offers to pour in. Don’t we?
This blog post is about an unsolicited email which has become something of a talking point in the Jumar IT recruitment office. It was received by a member of staff, who years ago had signed up with a legitimate online job board. Having since found a position, he’d deactivated all the daily alerts from the job board to prevent the daily deluge into his inbox. But recently, an email arrived from a ‘recruiter’, featuring his full name and a reference to the job board in question – and sent to a dedicated email address he only used for job hunting. It even used his ‘official’ name of Andrew, rather than Andy which he uses on other non-job-related sites.
Reading the email, it didn’t take long to realise all was not legitimate. We’ve included a redacted copy of it here…
(We have redacted any names to protect any legitimate recruitment professionals who may go by the same name – and also the name of a legitimate, responsible recruitment website)
Not only does it not mention any company name, but it is badly written, uses a webmail account for replies and includes a rather unsophisticated response mechanism. But the sender seems to know the recipient’s name, email address and a job board he was registered on (although on such a popular job board, it’s quite likely that many recipients of spam would be registered).
It’s clearly some sort of scam – but it did provoke a discussion in the Jumar office as to just how careful one has to be when sending out confidential data. One of our members of staff recalls being phoned by a “headhunter” and giving out all manner of details without giving a second thought to who they were talking to or how they’d got their details. It turned out to be genuine – but was certainly something of a wake-up call. It’s prompted us to draw up a list of the top eight precautions you should take before you send your CV to a potential employer/recruitment agency that you’ve never heard of. The vast majority of recruiters are genuine, but scams generally can be convincing (unlike this one!) and are becoming more and more sophisticated. Remember, just because someone has a website, doesn’t mean they’re not genuine. The big names, yes… you’ll have heard of – but what about the smaller ones?
8 points to consider before sending your CV
- Phone the recruiter/agency, and talk to them. Make sure you call a landline, and ask them about their company background. Get to know them. If you’re suspicious, or think they’re trying to hide something, proceed with caution.
- Will they only give you mobile numbers? If so, be suspicious.
- Do they have a genuine looking website, showing details of their current vacancies? If it is a holding page, or ‘under construction’, you may want to think again.
- Do they claim to be a member of a trade body like REC? Check with the body themselves.
- Are they on LinkedIn – and are they active on LinkedIn? Do they have a convincing social media presence?
- Do they use a ‘proper’ domain name or just a webmail (gmail, yahoo, hotmail etc) address? If you’re a legitimate company, why would you use a ‘personal’ email address? Beware of the ‘our email system is down at the moment so we’re using hotmail’ scam.
- Are you being asked to pay to register – or part with bank details? There is no reason any recruiter should do this.
- Do you feel you are being pressurised into disclosing information above and beyond that you would normally send in response to a job advertisement.
Any of the above should easily set alarm bells ringing but it’s amazing how one’s judgement can be clouded, especially if you’re frantically searching for a job. Everything above is common sense – and it’s hard to think that anyone can fall for it – but it clearly does happen. Please make sure you only work with responsible and genuine recruiters. We’re happy to talk – and you’re more than welcome to visit us.