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After months of searching, you've finally found the right candidate for that hard-to-fill Java Developer position. Your last step is to call up their references, previous employers who are happy to offer details about the candidate's hard work and great attitude. You don't know it yet, but you may have just been scammed.
Although the technology job market remains high on need and low on candidates, many employers are demanding that potential employees have some work experience on their resume. Just an IT diploma or degree may not be enough to get a candidate hired, since many crucial skills - working in teams, meeting deadlines, and handling clients - are only polished on the job. As well, the starting salary for an experienced tech employee is often much higher than a new graduate could demand.
While many candidates are willing to start off in an entry-level role and work their way up, there are some who resort to lying about their employment history in order to secure a plum position. The bad news for employers is that, increasingly, there's a market developing of "companies" in business to make their lies sound real.
In the past, some candidates have falsified their work history by listing employment at a company they've never been part of, hoping that the employer will fail to check up on their references. More devious ones may give the name and contact information of a friend willing to back up their claim, who may or may not even work at the company in question.
The new breed of resume fraud goes a step beyond that. Otherwise legitimate companies, often specializing in technology training or Web site hosting, provide an additional service to clients desperate for a good reference - paid referrals.
For a fee that can range from $50 to $500 or more, these operations will tell anyone who calls for a reference that the individual in question was or is employed by them in a technology development role. Since the company has a Web presence and is registered as a company with the appropriate legal agencies and business associations, it appears legitimate to the calling employer.
To keep things even simpler, the paid referral service may even write up candidate's resumes for them, making it easy to remember what skills and projects they supposedly developed. In some cases, the candidate may have little or no knowledge of the technology in question, information that an employer would discover the hard way after starting them on the job.
Regrettably, many of these paid referral services target individuals new to Canada. Taking advantage of a new immigrant's desire to enter the workforce and language barriers can provide easy income for such operations. emergit.com discovered that at least one company specifically targets government employment centers in their quest for new "employees". Although some of their clients may be technology professionals from other countries who feel they need Canadian experience to back up their existing skill set, the paid referral service isn't shy about offering employment credentials to non-technical individuals as well.
It can be difficult for an employer to tell fake references from the real thing, especially when the company in question does actually exist. The technology industry is filled with small firms whose names may not be familiar but whose operations are still quite legitimate. One way to protect yourself is to do some quick industry research on the referring company, contacting supposed clients to ensure that the firm is in the business they claim. Scanning industry specialist magazines for mentions of the company can also alert hiring managers to potential problems.
All of this can be quite time consuming and labor intensive, increasing the costs of your recruitment cycle. A faster option can be to work with a professional technology recruiter or background check service. Due to the number of resumes and reference checks such companies engage in, they are well -positioned to spot reference problems.
emergit.com learnt of this new scam from technology recruiters who had come across a strange set of discrepancies in resumes that were being submitted. Seeing dozens of resumes each day, the recruiters noticed a few that had identical formats and employment histories listed. Digging deeper, the recruiters discovered that the company in question, which claimed to have employed the candidates as Java programmers, has nothing to do with software development at all.
The recruiters mentioned a second, related scam that involves candidates setting up a fake company Website using a Web hosting service and claiming to be an employee of the company. This lie is easier to discover with a quick call to an organization like the Better Business Bureau, who can inform you if the company in question actually exists
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