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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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4 Answers 4

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(full job description released once invited to interview)

This is a red flag for me. No, it's a recruiter's job to have knowledge about the job description to look for right candidates. If there is some additional info that the recruiter needs to gather they ask about them because they know about what is missing in your CV or profile.

And as a candidate, when presented with an invitation it should include the FULL job description, so they can decide if they want to go with that opportunity. Because the candidate needs time to prepare for such. And having knowledge allows you to prepare for what 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 are they asking about interviews you've had and who you have talked to (by name?).

It looks like people are trying to build a knowledge base about the competition.
There are a few signs 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 the hiring manager. So this "Louis" would not put in a strong word because it would be this manager who reported their chosen candidates to Louis.

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

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  • Incidentally, all the sketchy recruiters that have contacted me have been UK-based. Not sure why it's so prevalent there. Jul 20, 2018 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. Jul 20, 2018 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. Jul 23, 2018 at 13:47
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This is clearly unethical or "sharp" practice.

As someone who has been through the IT job-hunting process about twenty times in my life (lots of short contracts at one time!), I've evolved a small list of essential rules for dealing with recruiters. It seems that everyone is a recruiter nowadays, there are a lot more than there were twenty years ago.

There is a lot of cash at stake for recruiters; they might be getting half or two-thirds of your annual salary just for placing you. (Not saying this is always the case, but they stand to make serious money in many cases).

I always put these notes on my CV when I send it to a recruiter:

Please note:

  1. I will keep the identities of any clients I interview with, strictly confidential from any other agencies.

  2. Do not send my CV to any company without my permission. Any such submissions will automatically waive your right to any commission, should I take up an offer there or have dual applications.

In the past I have had an agent scatter-gun my CV to a whole bunch of companies without my knowledge (at least until I found out). This is extremely bad for your job-hunt.

In the current climate (yes I am job-hunting too right now), every agent I have spoken to, has specifically asked that I do not mention the name of anyone I interview at, to any other agents. It's only fair and ethical that you do this.

The fact that everyone is specifically mentioning this, is a sign that the market is tougher than usual.

Only last week, I had an agent who had glowing reviews on LinkedIn, was pleasant to talk to, who went through the usual chat:

"Where are you now?", "What is your current salary?", "What are you looking for?",

until he came out with

"Oh I need you to tell me all the places you have interviewed at, or you are talking to, before we can continue". "This is essential if I am going to find you your next job."

I said no, but he would not take no for an answer, after some back and forth I have made a note to never deal with him or his agency again. So unethical. It would have been better if he had started the conversation with "I am an unethical scumbag", but they never do.

I should emphasise that large the majority of agencies and recruiters I've dealt with have been great, and would not do this.

The note you have posted above, is clearly an attempt to steal the clients from other agencies. It is a badly done note, with that fake Google approach, and is easy to spot as a fake, but the take-away from this is to never, ever tell one agent/recruiter where you are interviewing through other recruiters.

And run a mile / bin / delete any interactions with those people.

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A recruiter has a legitimate interest in knowing whether you are looking actively for a new position or not, and how far this has progressed - mostly to avoid wasting his time.

A recruiter has no legitimate whatsoever in who you talked to, where you are interviewing etc. An interviewer’s name is absolutely none of their f***ing business. In the U.K., that would be personal information (of the interviewer) that he has absolutely no right to see, and that I have no right to divulge. So this is a big red flag. It’s none of their business.

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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.

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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.
    – JoeTomks
    Jul 19, 2018 at 7:49
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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. Jul 19, 2018 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, 2018 at 21:49
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    @bharal while your comment is true, that it doesn’t make sense in this case, the claim is not true in general and it is potentially dangerous if people believe it.
    – Belle
    Jul 23, 2018 at 6:37
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    @bharal "Regardless, as long as the domain is correct, it is from google" is untrue. Please don't spread misinformation about phishing.
    – Belle
    Jul 23, 2018 at 11:07

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