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In the past two days I have had two people claiming to be recruiters from large corporates (specifically HSBC and Google) contact me, presumably from having found my LinkedIn or Jobserve profiles. Both have claimed that the hiring managers for the jobs they are recruiting for want to see 'market activity' -- information on other jobs I've been interviewing for (companies, positions, rates and contact details of the hiring manager) -- as a part of their recruitment process. Neither of these engagements has proceeded anywhere near an interview and neither provided a job description when asked.

Both of the phone engagements were quite similar. There was a lot of emphasis on 'leadership', and the recruiter was claiming to have found my CV online (it is on LinkedIn and Jobserve) and that the hiring manager insisted on seeing my 'market activity'. I asked the one claiming to be from Google for a job spec and got the email below:

Good Afternoon ####,

I have left above the relevant information for the position available (full job description released once invited to interview), can you please forward to me the rest of the information regarding current/recent interviews you had attended, and dates with the interviewers name.

I need to make sure I am forwarding the right people on to Google, which I'm sure you can appreciate that a company of Googles prestige requires a lot more information and qualification then other companies.

If you do have any further queries, please feel free to directly contact me on phone - 07856511140, or feel free to email back, I am much more responsive on here.

It was lovely speaking to you, and I will put in a very strong word with my Hiring Manager.

Kind regards,

Luis Fabiano Head of Internal Recruitment, Google, Bedfordshire

A bit of quick google-fu hasn't turned anything up about this. Is this a known scam or is it some new fad in hiring practices?

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(full job description released once invited to interview)

This is red flag for me. No, it's a recruiter job to have knowledge about job description to look for right candidates. If there are some additional info recruiter need to gather they ask about them because they know about what is missing in your CV or profile.
And candidate, when presented with invitation that should include FULL job description, decide if he want to go with that opportunity. Because you need time to prepare for such. And have knowledge it may be coming in the future.

This looks like those guys are more interested in people who you TALKED TO than yourself. If Google need more information about you then why they ask about interviews you've had and who you talked to (be name?).

It looks like people try to build knowledge base about competition.
There are few sign it's phishy.
Internal Recruitment does exactly that, they look for people inside the company. Not outside.

"Head of" is higher than manager. Head of Internal Recruitment would be above hiring manager. So this "Louis" would not put a strong word because it would be this manager who report his chosen candidates to Louis.

And third - there is no Google in Bedfordshire. The only location in England is in London.

  • Incidentally, all the sketchy recruiters that have contacted me have been UK-based. Not sure why it's so prevalent there. – Juha Untinen Jul 20 '18 at 5:17
  • I would guess it have something to do with Brexit and smaller work market. I suppose there is strong competition among recruiting companies to fight for corporate customers. – SZCZERZO KŁY Jul 20 '18 at 7:53
  • General consensus is that this is probably an attempt to generate leads by asking the candidates about other hiring managers - and the recruiters were probably not representing the companies they claim to be. Both companies also have hiring policies at odds with this practice. From talking to a Googler I know they probably don't do this, and HSBC has a traditional 'preferred supplier' policy and a portal on their web site. – ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Jul 23 '18 at 13:47
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[...] which I'm sure you can appreciate that a company of Googles prestige [...]

The appeal to prestige doesn't do it for me. It smells phishy and it smells bad. Furthermore, I can think of no reason why your interview calendar would be any indication of your fitness to the role at hand.

This sounds like a dodgy recruiter trying to get leads.

You can try contacting the companies directly, using the numbers on their websites (bit hard for Google), and ask to be connected with the people you spoke.

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    Another thing that stands out: "I need to make sure I am forwarding the right people on to Google" "Head of Internal Recruitment, Google". If they're the head of (internal) recruitment for Google, they work for Google, and therefore wouldn't say they're "forwarding" people "to Google." – Anthony Grist Jul 19 '18 at 12:39
  • It's also unlikely that the "Head of Recruitment" will have a hiring manager. – ypercubeᵀᴹ Jul 21 '18 at 10:13
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instead of doing "google-fu" (whatever that is) have a look at the email address that was used to send you the email. Legitimate google emails will end in a "google.com", I'm not aware of google using subdomains for recruiter emailing. Regardless, as long as the domain is correct, it is from google. Likewise from HSBC.

The recruiter emails you have received are "fishing", which is a practice for a recruiter to find job openings and hiring managers. They won't help you, they'll just use this information to find potential clients. You can tell them this information or not, I would suggest not as I'd rather you help discourage this practice. Generally it is not helpful to you to give a recruiter leads about jobs you applied for, as they'll use that information to try and place other, different and not-you candidates. This may or may not hurt your candidature for a position.

As you might be guessing, this practice - of deceiving a job-hunter - is a little underhand.

Given the reputation of both these two companies, I suspect neither are engaged in this. Also because internal recruiters don't actually need to know the names of hiring managers in other companies.

But instead of hoping that someone you don't know on the internet is correct - surely a haphazard approach to life - I suggest you

  1. check if the email address is legitimate
  2. if it is not, then know this is an external recruiter from neither google nor hsbc. you can share the information or not
  3. if it is a legitimate google/hsbc address, then call them and talk to them and ask them why they want this information

Asking someone their intentions is often among the surest ways of finding out what their intention is.

  • Both of the contacts were by phone; the one from Google sent me the email above when I requested a job description. I do get recruiters calling me on a semi-regular basis. The thing that really makes me think it's a scam is that both of the phone engagements were of a very similar format and appeared to be attempting to butter me up - plus insisting on seeing other job hunting activity. The recruiter claiming to be from HSBC didn't email me. – ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Jul 19 '18 at 7:41
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    Ironically, if you Google 'Google-fu' you will be greeted with a nice little definition of what it means. Just so you know. – Digitalsa1nt Jul 19 '18 at 7:49
  • @ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells i would be surprised if the email is from google, have you considered replying to it or looking the person up to see if they're from google? – bharal Jul 19 '18 at 8:02
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    There are plenty of ways to spoof email addresses. Many email systems these days would automatically filter out such messages as spam, but not all would. Therefore the fact that an email ends in google.com doesn't mean it is from google. Also, the person wasn't exactly claiming to be from google, so a lack of a google address doesn't really mean anything anyway. – Conor Mancone Jul 19 '18 at 16:43
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    @ConorMancone you misunderstand - there is little reason for the email to be legitimate, or else responding to it would not actually yield any benefit to the (forged) sender. The person claims their title is "head of recruitment, Google" which means they are claiming to work at google. – bharal Jul 19 '18 at 21:49

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