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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sleazy Recruiter Tactic - The Fake Interview

I just realized another sleazy tactic, that some employers and headhunters use. It's the "fake interview".

Suppose you own a consulting business. You send out employment ads. When people respond, you use that to fish for information on what potential clients are doing.

Another trick that headhunters use is "Tell me everywhere you've interviewed, so we don't double-submit you." This enables the headhunter to make a list of who's hiring, and who to solicit as potential clients.

I'd never realized that before. Some job ads aren't posted by employers that are serious about hiring. Some of them are trolling, fishing for information.


Anonymous said...

Back in 2002 hardly anyone was hiring in London. I still remember getting obviously pumped for what companies I found myself to apply to by a recruiter.

The worse is when a small company asks you to do a pre-interview programming task that is more like real work for the company than a test. It can be subtle but you can tell the difference.

About a decade ago I did one pre-interview programming task for a company as a test. It took me several hours. When I turned up for the interview the company was one boss with one long-standing employee and one recent employee. The long-term guy told me they would be using my code in production and said they couldn't work out how to write it themselves!

About a month later I got a phone call from the boss saying his long-term employee had resigned and could I come around and do another free task for them!

Needless to say I refused. I got a snotty rejection email the next day.

Scott said...

This is super common.

The most annoying is when a company needs a consultant for some quick advice. Rather than pay the fees, they bring you, someone with expertise in the problem domain, in on an "interview". The 12 hr long interview consists mostly of highly targeted questions about how you would solve problems they are currently having. Answers must be in great detail and are either video taped or they are furiously taking notes while you explain. Typically there is no reimbursement for expenses to interview such as airfare and hotels.

Another very common scenario is to be given "programming tests" that consist of solving problems not just in their domain, but that they are currently trying to solve. Some of these might take 4-10 days to complete.

It's fraud.

Anonymous said...

I went for an interview once at a famous tech company in Denmark.

At the end of the day, the in-house recruiter told me I was rejected because I failed to get one question correct in the third from last interview. In fact I had got the question correct. This does beg the question as to why they bothered to give me two more interviews.

The recruiter then exited the room and I wiped off my coding solution to a particularly difficult problem off from the whiteboard that I had written down during my last interview.

The recruiter then came back in the room and asked about the code and said he wanted to make a note of it. I said that I had just wiped it off.

But making a note of it would have been pointless as I had already been rejected because of my third from last interview!

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