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I'm an IT student and I'm graduating this summer. (This is important because I need to remark my lack of experience dealing with employers, job offers and such).

Because of this I've started to look for a job, and to do so I've opened a LinkedIn profile and after a week some employer from a foreign country contacted me with a "job" offer.

I'm quoting job because the way he has presented the offer, to me it looked more like it was some extra training.

After doing a bit of research of what the company was all about and what the offer had to do with it, I've realised that the company gives some extra training to their new employees and after that assigns them projects that they should manage and take care of. Which to me sounded very cool and promising.

I kept reading and searching on the web and I've found out that some guy rejected a job offer because they never told him that he was supposed to pay for that training, and he had to discover it the same day they gave him the contract in order to sign it (tiny letter in the papers).

It doesn't look like very clean business to me since they are not very clear in the very beginning on what they are offering to you and having to find this (the fact that they will make you pay for the training) out it just looks like they are trying to "scam" you.

For that and because of another post where another guy worked there and complained that after his first project assignment his managers and superiors stopped replying to his e-mails, I've lost any trust that I could have regarding that company and hence I want to reject the offer. (I would also have to relocate from my country to theirs)

So here are my questions:

  • How do I go about properly rejecting, politely(?), the offer?

  • Am I going to find a lot of employers/companies like this?

  • How to really tell if you're dealing with a scammer? And if so, how to protect yourself in these cases?

Another one which is not really related to this main issue:

  • Is it ok to ask for how much you will be paid for that job? Or it will just get your image dirty? I'm also specially interested in this one because if they ask you to relocate, your earning should be high enough to pay for food, a flat rental and other stuff like that.
  • 3
    Your use of the word "formation" doesn't really make sense to me here. Could you explain what you mean? – brhans May 24 '18 at 17:35
  • 1
    too many questions here. – SaggingRufus May 24 '18 at 17:36
  • 2
    By formation here I mean training, educate or something like that. – Some random IT boy May 24 '18 at 17:36
  • You might simply want to edit the post to say "training" instead of "formation", in that case. – V2Blast May 24 '18 at 20:01
  • Also, I agree that the question as written is actually several different questions. You should split it into separate questions. "How to reject" seems to be the primary question here; "Am I going to find a lot of employers like this" isn't really an answerable question. "How to tell if you're dealing with a scammer" is another answerable question (probably), as is "how to protect yourself". And "is it okay to ask about pay" is yet another question. – V2Blast May 24 '18 at 20:04
19

I used to teach job-hunting classes, so here's what we taught, I'll address the salary first:

Who here wants a job paying $100,000? Raise your hands!

After all the hands went up, we said:

Great, the job is in Iraq, and no security will be provided, you can hire your own, if you want.

The point being that you NEED to know everything you can about a job and a company before you accept a position. It's a two way interview. You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. By all means, ASK WHAT IT PAYS!

As to the rest:

How do I go about properly rejecting, politely(?), the offer?

I'm sorry, but I am not interested at this time

Am I going to find a lot of employers/companies like this?

This is not an employer, this is a scam

How to really tell if you're dealing with a scammer? And if so, how to protect yourself in these cases?

If they ask for money at any point, and it's not in the entertainment industry for "Headshots" or other industries for uniforms and equipment, it's a scam. Blue collar jobs may ask you to buy/bring your own tools and/or pay for uniforms. Out side of that $ = SCAM

Another sign is an offer without an interview, vagueness about the position, little information about the company on the web, or negative information about them on the web.

Look out for buzzwords and dramatization. "Amazing"* and **Opportunity" are definite red flags. If you see them in the same sentence, RUN!

If they are aggressive in recruiting you, it's a scam unless you have a very rare talent and skillset that is worth big bucks, and they TELL YOU SO.

Hi, I'm Bob from widgets 'R' Us, and I noticed that you have 20 years experience in widget design, and I noticed that you are the creator of the 'Widge-O-Matic, 360', Our company is very interested in you and your experience with widgets, when can I arrange an interview so we can speak about you coming aboard.

Anything short of that, SCAM.

  • I know Bob can confirm this was not a scam. – SaggingRufus May 24 '18 at 17:50
  • 2
    In the IT industry we are constantly bombarded with job offers, usually for short term contracts. In my experience they are not scams (in the sense that they will rip you off and you end up owing them money - they might well be non-existent jobs for bait-and-switch). And they tend to only use "opportunity" not "amazing opportunity". – DJClayworth May 24 '18 at 18:19
  • @DJClayworth that's why I said run when you see them together, and only a red flag when you see one. BTW, I once was offered an "opportunity" for a two week contract. I said "no thank you" but only the last word was included in what I was actually thinking. as in "You have got to be kidding". – Retired Codger May 24 '18 at 18:30
  • I think you should add that if it's contact through LI, ignoring it completely is quite acceptable, no need to even turn it down. But this is a good answer even without that. – thursdaysgeek May 24 '18 at 18:33
  • Although I appreciate all the feedback received from everybody in this post and most answers did help me in terms of answering what I was asking, I will mark this answer as the correct answer since is the most complete and helpful one. – Some random IT boy May 25 '18 at 7:45
8

Yes, it's a scam. You should never pay your employer for a job - which is what they are asking.

As to declining the 'offer' - if you don't have a formal, written job offer which details the pay, job duties, benefits, etc then you don't have an offer. A simple:

thanks but no thanks

should suffice. I wouldn't even do that but I'm an old grump.

  • 4
    im with you, I just wouldn't respond – SaggingRufus May 24 '18 at 17:51
2

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Personally I wouldn't sign a contract unless I met the people at the place.

With that said, I'd just tell them something like:

To Whom It May Concern: Thank you for the job offer. While interesting, I am going to have to decline your offer.

  • I will probably use your template in the near future! Thanks Dan! – Some random IT boy May 25 '18 at 7:46
  • Not sure the position described would fall under "too good to be true," but a solid answer, nonetheless. – PoloHoleSet Aug 29 '18 at 21:47
2

Though already answered, adding this as additional information to help you in your IT career.

TL;DR If a salesman tells you that you should really buy [product]; do you think that the salesman has your best interest in mind, or is he just trying to get his sales commission and trying to sell as many items as he can to anyone who will buy them?


Software development has evolved to a point where there is a significant market for short term employments and consultancies. Many development jobs no longer fit into the "work for the company for your life" system, and are more a temporary job, similar to how you hire a plumber for a specific job but are not expected to keep employing (or paying) them afterwards.

Subsequently, this created opportunities for head hunters. These are people who get paid a commission based on providing a developer.

A simple outline:

$Company has a 5 month project. They don't want a long term employee. They don't have the connections/resources to find developers easily.

$Company approaches $Headhunter and makes them a deal. If $Headhunter finds a developer who signs for the short term contract; they get a certain commission (signing bonus).

$Headhunter just needs a developer to sign. They do not benefit extra from getting a well-suited developer, the commission is the same as long as someone reasonably skilled signs.
Therefore, $Headhunter sends out bulk offers to every developer who meets the minimum requirements. They don't care about finding the best fit. Neither $Company nor $Headhunter care about a developer's long term prospects, as they will only employ them for a short time.

As a software consultant, I get 3-5 offers per day like this. While the messages are sometimes customized (e.g. mentioning my current employer or field), you can easily see that they always reference things that are easily scraped from a LinkedIn profile.

International headhunters are easier to spot. Since I'm from a non-English region, they often mess up the local language and sounds like they've been put through Google Translate.
I can understand that it may be harder for you to spot if you're in an English-speaking region; but I suspect that you're mostly suffering from naiveté (which is normal since you're new to the field).

Headhunters don't care about you. To them, you are nothing but a commission bonus.

Note, however, that this doesn't always mean that headhunters are bad. If you need a short term job, there are fair offers to be found. But you need to do your own homework to see if you'd actually enjoy doing the job you're signing on for; since no one but you stands to gain from taking the right contract.

You need to understand that headhunters simply aren't trying to find the best fit for you. At least, they get nothing in return for doing so. Maybe some of them still look for suitable matches, but I haven't come across many who do so (even though all of them claim to do so).

Be skeptical. Don't think that they're on your side. You're just another commission. Understand the commitment, and make sure that you're happy with what they will actually provide. If in doubt, ask for an official offer in writing so that you know exactly what is given/expected.

  • I personally avoid headhunters all together. If a company cannot afford or decided not to invest, in their own team to recruit new employees to the company, I don’t want to work for them. I have found headhunters to be a complete waste of time – Ramhound May 25 '18 at 10:37
  • @Ramhound: To each their own, but I find that a hardline stance. Some companies simply do not need a longstanding development team. If a company would need to consider long term employment for a development team even if they have next to no development workload, that will cause companies to avoid considering modernization or automation until the need is high enough to warrant the high cost (which may have already cost them their market position). I don't like headhunters, but that doesn't extend to the clients of headhunters. – Flater May 25 '18 at 11:05
  • Now I've had the time to read the whole thing. Thanks a lot, looks like a very wise advice and it does, indeed, make sense. After consulting the same issue with familiars and other close-known people of mine most of them advised me to never trust the recruiter nor the offer, since everybody in this world is only looking for them and just for them. Thanks again for the advice! Upvoted! – Some random IT boy May 25 '18 at 16:14

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