They're lying to your face: 5 recruitment scams

They're lying to your face: 5 recruitment scams

How bad actors try to deceive job-seekers, corporate clients and/or real recruitment firms.

Job-seekers need to be wary of recruitment scams.
Job-seekers need to be wary of recruitment scams.

You are at risk of being scammed or cheated by job recruiters who show no moral principles and who are unethical in their business practices.

Recruiters are pulling the wool over your eyes; deceiving and misleading you to hide what is really going on behind the scenes.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry can set up a recruitment business, so it's not a surprise that the concepts of moral right and wrong are relative and mean different things to Dick and Harry.

The extremely low investment required to set yourself up as a headhunter, a coach or a consultant is obviously attractive to many.

You can call yourself any of the three names -- headhunter, coach or consultant -- without having a qualification, academic background, work experience or business licence.

Calling yourself a headhunter when all you do is shop on LinkedIn is not right. It would be a case for the Office of the Consumer Protection Board if recruitment was not a business-to-business service. Oh well.

Let's look at five ways these bad actors try to fool unsuspecting job-seekers:

Scam No.1: Recruitment firms or individuals who pretend to represent a client they don't have. They convince candidates to share their resumes for an interesting job opportunity.

However, as there never was a real client or a genuine job, the resume is spread around in the market with the word that "their" candidate is actively looking for a new opportunity.

Scam No.2: Presenting one or two strong resumes to a hiring company that are purely made up by the recruiter to impress the hiring company.

These fake "candidates" suddenly pull out or no longer have any interest. In the meantime, the recruiter has signed up the client and is now in business, laughing all the way to the bank.

Scam No.3: A recruitment firm pretending to be a client company in the process of hiring staff emails another recruitment firm asking for a detailed quotation.

This is done to solicit confidential business terms from a competing recruiter.

Scam No.4: Recruitment firms leave 0-star or 1-star reviews on other recruitment firms' websites, job boards and Google. Typically they will claim a terrible experience with bad customer service.

All of these are fake and intended to discredit another recruitment firm.

Scam No.5: Recruitment firms set up fake personal LinkedIn profiles to build a network of connections, meaning connecting to potential candidates who in good faith accept the invitations to connect.

The LinkedIn profile will have a Western or foreign name and a photo from a stock image website. This practice is typically used by an agency or firm with only Thai or Asian employees.


You can spot them before they get you -- if you know what to look for.

When you get a call from someone presenting himself or herself as a recruiter, by all means listen and talk.

If the recruiter asks for your resume, share your personal email address but ask the recruiter to first email you with their contact details, company name and address, mobile number and website. Then you can reply to that email.

Just because someone says they are calling from a well-known recruitment firm in the market does not mean they are.

Many will call and only mention a company name, but not their own name.

They might only give you their mobile number and not the telephone number of the company. That should be a warning sign.

A LinkedIn profile with no photograph, or perhaps a logo or another image instead, could be a fake.

If it's a photograph, you can right-click the photo, then go to Search Google for Image and see if there are other visually similar images (stock images mostly).

If you are an employer and are impressed by the approach from a recruiter or love the candidate profiles you are presented with, then ask to meet the recruiter on a video conference call.

Needless to say, request that the communication also be moved to emails so you are able to perform due diligence on the recruitment firm and individual.

If you are not familiar with the recruiter or his or her firm, then ask for a signed letter from the candidate that has appointed the recruiter to act as the candidate's agent and representative.

If you are a genuine recruiter and you receive an email that is not from a company domain, but from a Gmail or similar account, while the person suggests he is from a hiring company, inform the sender that it's a policy to present your services, fees and terms in company emails only.

Check with Google if the company domain ending is correct. Perhaps the email comes from dot co (.co) and not the correct dot com (.com).

Sometimes I see a fake sender use for a company that uses dot com (.com) for its website. In other words, the scammer is trying to fool you into believing you are dealing with a genuine employer.

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran at NPAworldwide with 20 years of experience recruiting in Thailand and recognised as one of the country's top recruiters and most profiled headhunters. To learn more, visit

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