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

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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.”

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