Beware of crooks
Scam ‘recruitment agencies’ prey on the desperation of jobseekers, asking for illegal upfront payments to attend what turn out to be nonexistent job interviews
When you enter the labour market for the first time or start looking for a job again after many years, the pressure to find a job is bad enough. You have to prepare for interviews if you’re fortunate enough to be invited to them and often have to repeat the process many times.
But now there is yet another obstacle for jobseekers to overcome – fraudsters posing as recruiting agents who cheat jobseekers out of money as well as jobs.
Niteske Marshall, managing director of recruiting group Network Recruitment, says new jobseekers who do not know how the recruitment process works are easy targets for fraudsters who exploit their vulnerability and lack of experience.
“South Africa is still struggling with a massive unemployment problem and work is scarce. Fraudsters know this and prey on candidates’ anxiety to find work by making empty promises.”
She says one of the most common scams fake recruitment companies use is to ask candidates to pay for certain services in advance. This starts with paying to register their names on the agency’s database and then involves increasingly expensive forms of chicanery.
Fraudulent agencies will contact a jobseeker directly and say he or she has been short-listed for the job. Then that person is told he or she must pay the agency to be able to attend the interview.
“At no stage must a candidate ever pay a recruitment agency.
“All recruitment services are provided free of charge to jobseekers by legal agencies,” said Marshall.
Some agencies do offer services – such as assistance with the preparation of a professional CV or training on how to handle an interview – that they will charge a fee for.
But they will never charge a jobseeker to look for a job or be placed on a database.
“The institution that appointed the recruiting agency to find suitable candidates for the job pays the agency for its service to identify the most suitable candidates,” says Marshall.
Her advice to prevent yourself being caught out by such fraudulent agencies is that you should get to know the names of the legal recruitment agencies in your sector.
Their advertisements will always be genuine and these people will follow the appropriate protocols without requiring any advance payments.
One can also enquire whether the recruitment company you are dealing with is registered with the SA Revenue Service for tax purposes. No fraudulent company would be.
Lastly, ask around among people who have been successfully placed in a job through a recruitment agency.
“Such agents will have a good reputation and candidates who have been successfully placed by them will recommend them with confidence.”