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Opinion

Low-skill recruiting requires dishonesty

Some time ago, I wrote about how low-skill recruiting is spam – an assertion I stand by wholeheartedly. Among the expectations I have for any recruiter contacting me is that they actually read my profile, and evaluate whether it appears my skill set is applicable to the proposed position. For your edification and entertainment, I offer you Ghulam:

Picture of text: Conversation:

Ghulam  11:29 AM
Hi, hope you are doing good.
I am from BLANK and our company is looking resource for future part time tasks at your location. let me know your interest.
Thanks
Ghulam

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner (He/Him)  11:29 AM
Hello Ghulam, and thank you for reaching out.

While I am not actively looking for new employment, I am certainly interested to hear what is out there.

Ghulam Mustafa  11:29 AM
Hi, Aleksander R.
we have part time tasks
if you are interested, let me know so I will share details with you

Not overly promising, but let’s string Ghulam along and see what he has to offer, why don’t we?

Picture of text: Conversation:

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner (He/Him)  11:30 AM
By all means, share details with me.

Ghulam Mustafa  11:32 AM
kindly send me your email so I can share details

Ghulam Mustafa  12:14 PM
waiting for your response
FRIDAY
Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner (He/Him)  2:34 PM
Hello Ghulam,

What are the engagement terms (hours, pay etc.)?
Is this an in-office job (and, if so, where are the offices?) or a telecommuting job?
Can you please give me more information about the position?
Who is the client?

Ghulam Mustafa  2:56 PM
Hi, Aleksander R.
kindly send me your email so I can share details

Now, why would he need my email address? I’m requesting relatively basic information about an assignment, and I honestly think he ought to be able to answer these questions promptly. Let’s try again:

Picture of text: Conversation:

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner (He/Him)  3:44 PM
Hello Ghulam,

What are the engagement terms (hours, pay etc.)?
Is this an in-office job (and, if so, where are the offices?) or a telecommuting job?
Can you please give me more information about the position?
Who is the client?

Ghulam Mustafa  3:45 PM
It's a one day task

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner (He/Him)  3:53 PM
Hello Ghulam,

That's nice.  Now please answer my questions.

What are the engagement terms (hours, pay etc.)?
Is this an in-office job (and, if so, where are the offices?) or a telecommuting job?
Can you please give me more information about the position?
Who is the client?

Ghulam Mustafa  3:53 PM
kindly send me your email so I can share all details
you will get your answer

OK, I’ll bite. I’ll generate a new email address, just for Ghulam to use, which I can kill later on:

Picture of text: Conversation:

SATURDAY
Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner (He/Him)  10:32 AM
Very well. You may reach me at BLANK

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner (He/Him)  6:16 PM
Well?

TODAY
Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner (He/Him)  7:46 AM
I am still waiting. You have an email address at which I can be reached. What are you waiting for?

I get the feeling that he isn’t as keen anymore, but I’ll give him another chance. This time I actually get an email. It gives a lot of irrelevant details about the firm, before getting on to the actual request:

Picture of text: Email:

Scope of Work
SERVICE REQUEST FORM
Date & Time Required: ASAP

Scope of Work: To Connect and disconnect SD-WAN devices/cables.

The technical person will need a laptop, a usb to serial cable to connect to a Network device and internet connection independent from the office (I guess a mobile 4G will do the work)

Tools required:
-Console cable (RJ45 to DB9 Female)
-COM (DB9 male) to USB converter with compatible drivers for your OS (Not required if you have COM port (DB9 male) on your laptop)
-Laptop with COM (DB9 male) port (For direct Console Connectivity)
-Patch Cable Cat 5 (Straight and cross over) · HyperTerminal files along with working HyperTerminal Connection
-Internet connection
-Screw Driver set
-Local SIM with sufficient balance to place bridge call
-USB Torx and Philips screwdriver
-drill machine along with drill bits
-measuring tape - leveler, crimpling tool

Scrolling down, we get to the proposed payment:

Picture of text:
Compensation:
35 USD per hour

Well, aren’t I the lucky one? Not only do I need to provide several thousands of dollars of equipment, I also get to do a job at an impressively low rate. I’m sure this must be a mistake, so I ask him to confirm:

Picture of text: Conversation:

Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner (He/Him)  9:22 AM
Hi Ghulam. 

Please check the details in your email and confirm that they are correct.

Furthermore, please answer the following questions, specifically and accurately (rather than generally, as in your email):

What are the engagement terms (hours, pay etc.)?
Who is the client?

Ghulam Mustafa  9:30 AM
Yes details are correct
rate is mentioned in email 35 USD per hour
once you hire then our team will inform you about client but address is also mentioned in email

It appears it isn’t a mistake. Curiouser and curiouser. While he is happy to repeat the hourly rate, he won’t answer my questions. At this point, I rejected him and wished him and his company every lack of success in their future endeavours. For everyone following along, here’s why this isn’t just a very badly paid gig (well, for Norway at any rate), but is also quite honestly offensive:

The base rate for a qualified technician is around US$ 25 per hour. That is to say, someone who just completed their apprenticeship can expect to earn that much. I completed my apprenticeship over fifteen years ago. Furthermore, this is the base rate for an employee, while Ghulam here wants me to work on a contractor basis. As a contractor, I would need to cover my overhead (including, but not limited to, taxes, insurance, tools etc.) out of my fees. A quick estimate indicates that Ghulam is underpaying by at least 60%.

As for the dishonesty, well; while I have indeed, at one point or another, done everything Ghulam outlines in the brief, none of it is part of my core competencies, nor do I list doing such work in any of my recent jobs. What’s more, here’s the opening line of his email:

Picture of text: 

I am Ghulam BLANk from BLANK. I came across your details on LinkedIn recently, your skill set and experience stood out as a great fit for our company.

That is certainly an interesting assertion when they are asking me to perform work so far outside of my present core skill set and experience within the past fifteen years. Oh well, nevermind, another recruiter has been roundly, and deservedly, rejected.

Postscript: another good indicator that these recruiters never even bothered to check my profile is that I keep getting these requests, despite my mercilessly mocking them here on the blog – remember that all of my blog posts are posted to my LinkedIn profile, so the evidence is there for them to read…

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