A 2012 December graduate, for whom I served as an advisor, recently contacted me to ask my opinion about a job offer he received from a Fresno-based engineering company. He was, of course, excited about the opportunity to be employed in the field of his college major, while working for a phenomenal salary, benefits, and company perks. Sensing, however, that he was seeking affirmation over this otherwise great news, I probed for details.
My advisee replied to a posting for an entry-level engineering position on one of the nation’s major job boards, and was contacted almost immediately for a telephone interview. Subsequently, without being invited into the office to meet the candidate face-to-face, checking his references, or verifying that he actually had a degree in engineering, the “company” extended an offer for employment.
In a perfect world, this seamless transition from college to the world-of-work would be cause for celebration. Bypassing the grueling, white-knuckled experience of multiple interviewers or, worse, meeting with a panel to discuss your qualifications, followed by a public presentation, would be perfect. However, the place in which we live is not Utopia, but is fraught with those who prey on the naïve and unsuspecting. To his credit, instead of falling hook, line, and sinker into a trap, this young man sought a second opinion.
A Dream Job Come True?
The Fresno-based engineering company offered this alumnus everything but a Malibu beach house. However, the flag was raised when they also requested that he pay a “refundable” $1,000 fee for training. In response to his follow-up concern, he was told that they are a new start-up firm, and have experienced several new hires that have left the company after training.
In neither the seven years that I worked in the staffing/recruitment industry, nor the seven years that I have worked in higher education career development, have I ever heard of an organization that has either extended a job offer to a candidate after a thirty-minute telephone conversation, or requested money from a new hire for training; refundable or otherwise.
What New Grads Should Be Wary Of
Nationwide, college students continue to grasp the reality that the job market is remarkably competitive. As a result, many turn to graduate school as a means to avoid the stress of a job search. Not wanting to move back to their parents’ house, and with the imminent repayment of student loans, students could be highly susceptible to offers of employment that may not be legitimate. Even so, here are a few things that you should steer clear of:
- ANY online application that asks for personal information, e.g. your driver’s license and/or social security number
- Positions offering lucrative salaries, with little to no experience required
- Telephone interviews that result in a job offer without an actual face-to-face meeting
- Advance fees for overseas jobs paying lucrative salaries
- ANYONE with a guarantee that he/she will find you a job when there is a fee involved
- Home-based businesses stuffing envelopes
There is an abundance of information online (http://www.scam.com/showthread.php?t=114949) reporting scam offers. During these difficult times, those in career transition undoubtedly experience excitement over the prospects of securing their next, or first, position. However, it is always good to remember, If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Donnell Turner, Director