Recruitment, Harassment; What’s The Difference?

, , , , | Working | August 8, 2020

While looking for a new job, I’m contacted online by what appears to be a recruiter. I phrase it like that because his profile doesn’t actually say that but rather something along the lines of “anonymous start-up”.

The job description he sends me is a PDF without headers or even different font sizes, making it look more like notes, and contains lines like “search for someone with Dutch citizenship.” Wow, just a copy of what he received from the company, apparently.

Still, the job looks potentially interesting, so I send my resume. After some questions like how many years of experience I have — which can be found in my resume — it becomes clear that the recruiter doesn’t speak English very well. It turns out that he’s Indian. Who cares, but it does add a bit of challenge to communications.

The next week, I get a call on my Monday off and he asks if I can come in for an interview the next day. Obviously, I can’t. I tell him that, at the earliest, I might become available that Friday, but I need to check tomorrow — Tuesday.

Come Tuesday at 9:15, I get a call to confirm my 14:00 interview on Friday. Wait, what? I tell him I couldn’t confer with my manager and coworkers yet and he texts me several times that day badgering me for confirmation, which I give at the end of the day.

I’m a bit annoyed with the recruiter, but I’m willing to put up with something for a new job.

The next day, he sends me the appointment details from an email address which is just his name at [Mail Server]. At this point, I decide to look up the company online because it looks sketchy as h***. The company and position seem legit, though, so I move on. He also tells me the budget the company has for this new position. This is… novel, but I’ll take it as good intentions and a bit of cultural difference.

The interview is pleasant enough, but it’s a bit challenging since the manager also turns out to be Indian with a very thick accent and limited English. He mentions that it would be greatly appreciated and sometimes required that I join in with certain third-party meetings since many higher-ups in the company are straight from India and both the language and culture are still difficult for them.

I decide the job is not what I’m looking for because it doesn’t offer enough technical challenges. 

I let the recruiter know this through text and this is where the fun really begins. He mentions that if I took the job, I would soon be promoted to [position X], a title that I have never heard of after fifteen years in the industry.

Out of curiosity and politeness, and slightly intrigued by a higher position, I agree to postpone my decision. There is a catch, though. This is insider information which he is sharing “because I’m his friend” and I shouldn’t discuss it with anyone from the company.

This is the start of two weeks during which I get at least daily calls and texts asking if I have changed my mind. I keep declining because I’m not going to accept a job offer with an unsubstantiated promise from a third party to get promoted to a job for which I have received no description whatsoever and which, frankly, sounds fake to me.

He keeps offering more money, mentioning what a great opportunity it is, etc., and even lets/makes me speak to employees at different locations and HR, but when I ask them about the new position, they just get confused — the language barrier doesn’t help — and the recruiter chastises me that I should keep quiet about it.

Eventually, I’ve had enough and tell the recruiter very definitely, NO! I don’t want to take this position.

At some point, the recruiter had given me the manager’s telephone number, so I decide to text the manager and explain that I rejected the offer because of the technical level of the position, and I also tell the story of what the recruiter has told me, that he wanted me to keep quiet, and that this kind of insistence is considered quite rude in Holland. I send him the full log of my text conversations with the recruiter as proof and clarification.

The manager asks for a brief telephone conversation, during which he explains that is rather confused since he was told I was very interested. We summarize our respective stories and wrap it up.

I’m writing this the next morning, hoping the recruiter isn’t going to contact me anymore, and I really hope the manager took my advice and won’t be using these kinds of recruiters going forward.

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