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 Post subject: Dishonest Job Postings
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 8:25 pm 
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So, I've recently graduated and have been looking for jobs. I've been joining job sites, using my campus recruiting center, etc, and came across a company that I thought had to be expanding. They wanted a lot of programmers, in various fields, and needed a lot of entry level people. It sounded like a good opportunity, so I submitted my resume.

Now, four days, one 75 minutes test, and the scheduling of phone interviews later, I find out that they aren't 'hiring'. They're 'recruiting'. For their master's program. They aren't offering jobs, they want me to pay them for continuing education.

Gah!

Any advice on what I can do to stop them from doing this in the future, and to keep myself from falling for it again?

By the way, it is a 'company' called SetFocus. Don't send them a resume, they'll try to get you into a (most likely not accredited) master's program.

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:07 pm 
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not sure exactly how to avoid it in the future, but i will give some job hunting advice. I've hired a good number of people in my time (including programmers) and i also do alot of interviewing for my area.

1) network, network, network... talk to everyone you know. everyone your parents know. everyone you know online. etc etc. If they aren't immediately hiring, ask them if you can talk to them about their industry or what they are looking for. If the contact is even just a secretary for a company, she can atleast pass your resume on to HR or hiring managers. Recruiters and managers, even for legit companies, get tons of resumes. the best way to get through to the top of the stack is to know someone. As a manager, it a heck of alot easier to go ahead and interview someone who is recommended, than guess about random people.

2) look into intern programs -- some even pay pretty well. again you may have to know someone to get really considered, but that's one of the things to ask about when you're networking. I hired an intern who was making the equivalent of 28k a year -- i was amazed our intern program paid that well. and we hired her full time afterwards (she was straight out of school). The best intern programs tend to be with large companies. if you don't get hired, it's good resume fodder at least.

3) take advantage of the college recruiting stuff. half will be crap, but at least those companies are looking for entry level peeps.

4) related to #1, HR sucks. you'll get lost in the shuffle. from my experience in IT, HR doesnt know Java from Data Entry, and they are worse than useless when it comes to passing on decent resumes to the hiring manager. so while a contact in HR is ok, getting your resume passed to the actual IT organization will likely be more productive.

5) don't get discouraged, and remember, every interview is a practice opportunity to figure out what to do and what not to do.

PS - i dont know if we are hiring or not right now, but if you want i can pass your resume along. PM or email me.

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:06 am 
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Careful about Defrawy scams.

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 2:08 pm 
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BobTheSpirit wrote:
Careful about Defrawy scams.

May we have some elaboration?

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:29 pm 
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Verily.

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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:53 pm 
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swingerzetta wrote:
BobTheSpirit wrote:
Careful about Defrawy scams.

May we have some elaboration?


They look for online resumes and offer you fake jobs through emails. I got an email from them while I was looking for jobs, thought it was a bit suspicious, and researched them. But apparently some people fall for them.

The particular fake job in that case was 'Good Grade Zone' tutor.

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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:52 am 
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You make it sound more like a prank. How do they gain by running this scam?

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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 1:01 am 
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I heard a story about somebody who actually did some work for them and didn't get paid for it.

Free labor?

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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 2:47 am 
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After moving, I needed a job quickly. In San Fran, what works is getting with a staffing agency. It's their Job to get you a job, and they get paid not by you (if they ask you to pay them anything it's a SCAM). So I actually signed up with 3 different staffing agencies (one specializes in administrative, the other one specializes in the city, and the other one is more of a filler), and I seriously met with my recruiter on a monday, and had a JOB (including 7 interviews) by FRIDAY. I mean, you gotta do some heavy interviewing, but you gotta be very agressive. Don't let them just tell you they'll consider your application. I asked the guy then and there if i got the job.

I'm happy ^_^

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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 1:18 pm 
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Bob,

If the job market is slow, find an internship immediately, you have some time immediately after graduation. I did an internship immediately after graduation. If it wasn't for the job skills I got there, I'd be flipping burgers. A quick internship is cash, experience and you might get exposure to new tools or methods you haven't used in the past.

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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 1:57 pm 
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Kaintukee_Bob wrote:
By the way, it is a 'company' called SetFocus. Don't send them a resume, they'll try to get you into a (most likely not accredited) master's program.


/delurk

Ok, this is quite hilarious to me. I work in technical recruiting, and I know SetFocus quite well. I didn't know how they lie to people to get them to enroll in their program, but it gets even better than that.

After "graduating," they tell people to put SetFocus as actual job experience instead of schooling, how to put things on their resume to get hired (even if people don't have the skills they list), and how to interview to cover up the lack of knowledge.

In the end, some people end up getting hired because of lying and most of the time fall flat on their faces, and the rest of the time, don't even come close to passing a technical interview.

It's gotten to the point now that many companies I work with won't even look at people who have SetFocus on their resume, and we rarely even bother trying to get those people jobs, since they're almost guaranteed to be lying to us.

As for how to actually get a job, rain's method works quite well, since like she said, our jobs are to get you a job. One small thing to add: be upfront with the agencies you're working with, what you want, what other things you have going on, what you'll really take as a job. Don't let more than 1 submit you to the same company, make sure you know where your resume is going before it's submitted, and if you get multiple offers, don't play games. Yes, you may be able to play one company against the other to get a few more bucks, but the company that's employing you (and the agency) will have a bad first impression of you. Good luck!


JonMW wrote:
You make it sound more like a prank. How do they gain by running this scam?


They get paid by the people who take classes there, and then afterwards, if you can get a low-level support job, you're lucky.

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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 2:48 pm 
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Thanks Jed!

Yeah, it's true about watching who they send you to.

What I did was I signed up with three different companies that specialized in 3 different things (one was sales, one was admin, etc) so that I wouldn't be presented twice. Plus, if they're good, they actually ask you first if that job would interest you.

And if you sign up with a recruiter who has a good track record, the HR rep at the company looks at the recruiter as someone who's sent very good employees before.

And as far as that SetFocus thing goes, you should NEVER pay one of these recruiters. badbadbad. The good ones know what they're doing. That's they're whole job.

It was quite a different experience. Before i moved out here I sent out all the resumes on my own, it was hard and I didn't get any real bites. But once I gave it to a recruiter, suddenly i had interviews lined up. It makes me tear up.

Then again it depends on what city you're in. In Hawaii, there aren't as many companies as there are out here in the Bay Area, so the staffing agencies just don't have that many jobs to choose from...
Here, they have a pool of jobs that they figure out who's the best to send to what.

And never lie in an interview. There are correct ways to interview (i.e. being very agressive as far as asking for the next step/job), but your recruiter should tell you all this. They're working for YOU. Use them. I called mine up everyday and before each interview to help myself prep.

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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 4:45 pm 
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I can't speak for getting a job out of college in IT because I miserably and spectacularly failed. My entree into the technical world was accomplished not by my degree, which was in history, but by a process of studied exageration of my capabilities, (read: lying), and then rapidly bringing myself up to speed in my required role. (read: I'm smart enough to draw out on my own bluffs.) To be fair, I didn't understand that I wasn't qualified at first by virtue of the magnitude of my incompetence. Now, six years on, I can claim that I've gotten pretty damned good.

So here is my advice on IT job hunting 2-3 years on in your career or more:

Job Search:

1) For me, with my level of experience, being swarmed by recruiters is a real problem. If you're at a job and you post to a job board for a new one, do not specify your cell phone as the preferred means of contact. It's just awkward for everyone.

2) You can probably safely ignore anyone who "found your resume on Monster" who doesn't appear to have a very good command of the English language, or who provides a list of jobs you may be interested in. Odds are they haven't looked at your resume too closely.

3) If you specified a list of locations you are willing to relocate to or are willing to work at, and you get an email from a recruiter wanting to place you on the far side of the country/globe, you can probably ignore these as well. (Unless you just left a job as a Sr. Developer for Oracle/Microsoft and are deperately wanted by a fortune 500.)

4) Sad to say, your status as an American National is an important selling point.

5) Always give preference to internal recruiters over 3rd party recruiters. (Sorry 3rd party guys, but it's true.)

6) One way to tell a good recruiter from a poor one is to ask them leading questions about the technology they're recruiting for. People who think SQL Server is the only SQL can't intelligently evaluate your qualifications and will have a hard time placing you in the right job.

7) Try and get an idea as to the age of the recruiter. if they are 3rd party. A guy or gal who just graduated with a marketing degree is generally NOT someone you want negotiating a job for you. (I don't work with MacArthur Associates as all their recruiters seem to be entry level.)

Contracting:

1) NEVER walk into a contract knowing nothing about a company but what the recruiter tells you, especially if you do not have a preceding relationship with that recruiter. It always pays to talk to the hiring manager to learn about the job and impress them with your abilities. If they are looking for any hot body that can code, they probably have a retention problem, which means you don't want to work there either.

Interviews:

1) If you get the chance to take a competency test either when you meet the 3rd party or the interview with the hiring manager, do so. If you're good, it helps your chances. (And there are a lot of people out there who aren't any good, trust me.)

2) Something I like to do is ask for an example of a piece of code they are having problems with, and then make on the spot recommendations for improving or fixing it. Recode it on the spot if you can. This gives them immediate value, shows what you can do and makes you stand out.

Further Education/Certification:

1) Never pay for a class out of pocket, if an employer isn't willing to sponsor it, it isn't worth taking.
2) Only take certifications offered by companies that make the technology. Microsoft/Oracle etc., except maybe A+ if you are so inclined.
3) Try not to take classes for certifications if you can help it. Books are cheaper, although still too expensive.
4) Never trust Microsoft to provide accurate study material for its own exams.

Hope this helps.

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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 1:50 pm 
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A few comments on Duke's comments from a recruiter's POV:

Duke Leto wrote:
1) For me, with my level of experience, being swarmed by recruiters is a real problem. If you're at a job and you post to a job board for a new one, do not specify your cell phone as the preferred means of contact. It's just awkward for everyone.


If you don't want to be called, don't put your number. That little "preferred means of contact" is about as useful as leaving a pile of money on the street with a "please don't take this" sign on it. You may get one or 2 people to actually listen, but that money is gone pretty fast.

Just put down however you want to be contacted and leave off however you don't want to be.

Duke Leto wrote:
2) You can probably safely ignore anyone who "found your resume on Monster" who doesn't appear to have a very good command of the English language, or who provides a list of jobs you may be interested in. Odds are they haven't looked at your resume too closely.


2 of the top 3 recruiters at my company (I'm actually not 100% recruiting anymore, so I'm not in running for that title anymore ;) aren't from the US, write e-mails in fairly shoddy English, and one of which barely speaks the language. Recruiting is a matter of how much work you put in, sales, and how good you are at reading people. English means very little.

As for the "found your resume online," "job opportunity," or "looking for a senior developer" e-mails you receive, think of it from our side of things. We have many ways of finding people. Believe it or not, the worst way statistically to find people is on job boards like Monster. Therefore, we would rather spend the bulk of our time going through our networks of people, getting referrals, or trying to headhunt people straight out of companies. So we'll go online, do a fairly targeted search (well, the better recruiters will do targeted searches, some people will just email everyone in the world), and shoot out a mass e-mail to everyone that comes up. When we get replies, we go through them, knowing these are people who are already interested in talking about a new position. So don't rule out people right away just because they e-mail you like that.

There's actually a better way to tell if a recruiter is good, but I'll address that below.

Duke Leto wrote:
3) If you specified a list of locations you are willing to relocate to or are willing to work at, and you get an email from a recruiter wanting to place you on the far side of the country/globe, you can probably ignore these as well. (Unless you just left a job as a Sr. Developer for Oracle/Microsoft and are deperately wanted by a fortune 500.)


Unless the recruiter has a damn good reason to contact you (you put that you're moving to a new place, one of your possible locations to work is near where the job being offered is, or you at least went to school or worked in that location before), I'd say just ignore it, no matter who it's from. Seriously, if there's absolutely no reason to contact you, then that recruiter fell into the "e-mail the world and hope for the best" strat.

Duke Leto wrote:
4) Sad to say, your status as an American National is an important selling point.


Yea, it really is. You'd be suprised how many people in IT require a work visa or sponsorship, which many companies don't want to deal with. If you're an american citizen or green card holder, and there's a field to specify so, put it down and be very clear about it. This is especially true if you have an Indian or Chinese name.

Duke Leto wrote:
5) Always give preference to internal recruiters over 3rd party recruiters. (Sorry 3rd party guys, but it's true.)


If you can actually get in touch with an internal recruiter that will return your calls, then by all means, do so. In all but the smallest companies, that'll never happen.

In larger companies, internal recruiters (or corporate recruiters) only deal with 3rd-party recruiting agencies they trust to get them pre-qualified, pre-screened people. Actually talking to people would mean they would have to take the time to screen themselves, which they're either incapable of doing or don't have the time for. Hell, there's plenty of times where corporate recruiters will pass people our way to screen for their jobs, and give back to them. It's just how these things work with larger companies.

However, you should find out how close a 3rd-party recruiter is to the end-client. If you find out you are going to be passed through a few layers before actually getting to the end-client, don't even bother. You'll end up getting ripped off (each of those layers are going to demand a fee, which will come out of your pocket), and there's a much higher chance for something to mess up along the way.

Only work with recruiters who are at most 2 layers away from the end-client. I'd say 1 layer, but there are times where the end-client has things set up where only a very small number of agencies can work with them, but they allow one additional layer of agencies beyond that. Meryll Lynch has rules like that, we're technically not on that top layer of agencies, but place around 20-30 people there every year. We work directly with many managers and HR, but then just have to pass the people we place through another company at the end.

Try to find out how close a recruiter is to the hiring manager, and don't get scarred off if it's a good relationship with HR. In some companies, there are actually good HR people who move the process along very well, but still require everything to pass through them. Ask how long the recruiter has worked with this manager, this company, how many people they have placed there, etc. You'll have a pretty good idea of your chances.

And hey, even if it's a new manager or new client, don't rule things out completely. Ask what the rules are for submittals. If being submitted by one company doesn't kill your chances of being submitted by another company at a later date, then you really have very little to lose by giving a company a chance.

Duke Leto wrote:
6) One way to tell a good recruiter from a poor one is to ask them leading questions about the technology they're recruiting for. People who think SQL Server is the only SQL can't intelligently evaluate your qualifications and will have a hard time placing you in the right job.


No, this is a way to tell a very technical recruiter from a not-so-technical one. If I knew as much about SQL as you did, I would be doing your job instead of mine. ;)

I recruit for jobs I know very little about all the time. I do enough research to not sound like an idiot and not be fooled by people throwing out buzzwords, but I don't always know associated technologies, competitors, etc. Granted, your example is pretty basic, and most recruiters will know different SQL technologies, but if not, they could still get you a job very well.

Much of our job is reading personalities, and finding the right fit that way. Many managers don't mind if someone is not extremely strong technically as long as the willingness/ability to learn is there, especially if it's a perm position (ie: not consulting).

And even if we do need someone to be very technical, either we will use a technical screener or the company we are working with will do a quick phone interview first before bringing someone in for an in-person interview to gauge technical ability. So we really don't need to be that technical ourselves.

Duke Leto wrote:
7) Try and get an idea as to the age of the recruiter. if they are 3rd party. A guy or gal who just graduated with a marketing degree is generally NOT someone you want negotiating a job for you. (I don't work with MacArthur Associates as all their recruiters seem to be entry level.)


This is semi-true. Just like you don't want someone on their first day making you sub at Subway, you don't want someone brand-new at recruiting either. After a year or 2, though, it's pretty much all the same. So as long as the person sounds competent, don't worry too much about age.

Duke Leto wrote:
1) NEVER walk into a contract knowing nothing about a company but what the recruiter tells you, especially if you do not have a preceding relationship with that recruiter. It always pays to talk to the hiring manager to learn about the job and impress them with your abilities. If they are looking for any hot body that can code, they probably have a retention problem, which means you don't want to work there either.


I really didn't think any companies did this anymore, but very good advice here. Make sure to interview, and even if they want to hire you over the phone, ask to at least come in and get a tour of the place and meet the people you will be working with.

Duke Leto wrote:
Interviews:

1) If you get the chance to take a competency test either when you meet the 3rd party or the interview with the hiring manager, do so. If you're good, it helps your chances. (And there are a lot of people out there who aren't any good, trust me.)

2) Something I like to do is ask for an example of a piece of code they are having problems with, and then make on the spot recommendations for improving or fixing it. Recode it on the spot if you can. This gives them immediate value, shows what you can do and makes you stand out.


Anything like this to help you stand out is wonderful, as long as you can pull it off.

Duke Leto wrote:
Further Education/Certification:

1) Never pay for a class out of pocket, if an employer isn't willing to sponsor it, it isn't worth taking.
2) Only take certifications offered by companies that make the technology. Microsoft/Oracle etc., except maybe A+ if you are so inclined.
3) Try not to take classes for certifications if you can help it. Books are cheaper, although still too expensive.
4) Never trust Microsoft to provide accurate study material for its own exams.


Yup, listen to all that. Well, other than #1. If a company puts in writing that they'll reimburse you, then you can trust that pretty well. Many companies want some protection against people cut-and-running, and most aren't trying to rip you off. Just make sure it's in writing.

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 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:15 pm 
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As to points 2. & 3. for Jed, I was more or less coming up off the cuff with ways to spot and weed out the "email the world" people.

1. was from recent bitter experience, and thanks for the tip. As to the English language skills thing, it seemed to me that a higher proportion of "email the world" types I get have that attribute as opposed to the general population.

5. was kinda in agreement with Jed, since most of my experience is small to mid sized companies. Internal recruiters in larger places are a bit less useful "technically" speaking. I also suspect that Bob is not gonna get a Junior position at Sun or Microsoft right off the bat, and that the small to mid scale advice was more pertinent. Sorry.


With 6. I was more thinking of a "I work mostly with ASP, so please don't oversell me on ASP.net and set everyone up for disappointment" kinda thing. The lousy recruiters I'm thinking of are the ones who WANT you to seem qualified and a good fit even if you're not. Granted, I got into the business gaming these kinds of people, but they are the ones who have the best interests of their commissions at heart.

On 7. I think Jed's right, but it's hard to gauge competency over the phone or via email. So age/years in the business is a rough approximation.

On companies putting the reimbursement in writing, that's more or less what I meant. Going to a community college and taking a .Net course on your own initiative is probably not a good use of time or money.

Thanks being a good sport about my denigrating your profession, Jed. :torg:

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