Is That Job Interview Offer Really Legit?

John Krautzel
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Most people know how it feels to get excited when headhunters reach out with incredible job opportunities. At first, you're flattered that someone values all your good qualities, but the recruiter either disappears or makes excuses for putting off an in-person job interview with the employer. Sadly, not all headhunters use ethical recruitment strategies. It's up to you to call a recruiter's bluff and get proof a job interview offer is worth your time.

With the growth of online recruiting, headhunters can easily find information about potential candidates on professional networking sites and contact you with unsolicited job offers. While the internet is a great place to look for fresh talent, disreputable headhunters can also use networking sites to create a false picture of their recruitment efforts.

Headhunters may have a star candidate in mind and enlist unwitting job seekers as space fillers when they present hiring options to clients. Even worse, some headhunters use shady recruitment strategies to pretend they have diverse candidates, says author and recruitment consultant Nick Corcodilos. The best way to scare off these recruiters is to test their intentions and ask them to follow through with a job interview right away.

Tips for Screening Job Recruiters

Chasing after a made-up opportunity is pointless and frustrating, and it takes time away from serious job searching. Corcodilos urges job seekers to be aggressive and ask for concrete actions. After all, headhunters who are genuinely interested have no reason to slow down the hiring process or risk driving you away. Use these simple strategies to land real job interviews and weed out fake offers.

1. Meet Face-to-Face with Recruiters

Honest recruiters have already done their homework and know you have the right qualifications. Meeting you in person is the next step to determine if your personality and goals fit with the organization. Be direct about your expectations, and don't leave wiggle room for headhunters to back out. Try a statement such as, "If you're seriously considering me as a candidate, let's set up a face-to-face meeting to discuss the next steps."

2. Say "No" to Phone Screens

Basic vetting should happen before recruiters reach out. If headhunters insist on multiple phone screens before telling you anything about the job or employer, consider walking away. Corcodilos advises job seekers to turn down phone screens altogether. Instead of worrying about offending a recruiter, make it clear you're not willing to provide detailed personal information or spend hours answering questions, unless you're a clear match for the job.

3. Request Job Interviews with Key Decision-Makers

Headhunters aren't the people making the final hiring decision, so it's useless to communicate solely through them. To move up the chain, let headhunters know you're only willing to speak further with a hiring manager from the target company. At this point, either a phone or in-person interview is a step forward, as long as you're moving beyond the middleman. Good recruiters are motivated to get results, while disreputable ones just want to keep you on deck until they close the deal with top candidates.

Too often, job seekers are afraid of losing a job interview opportunity, so they put up with sly avoidance tactics from recruiters. Learn to recognize your power in the hiring process, and confront headhunters who aren't serious about recruiting you.

Photo courtesy of Sira Anamwong at



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  • lindsay s.
    lindsay s.

    Your right it also happened to me.

  • Joseph M.
    Joseph M.

    Yes I had that happen to me actually several times. A warning especially from job search engines that allow recruiters to post job openings and I talking about well known recruiting agencies. They call saying I would to talk to you further about jobs they are recruiting for and more information and then never call back and if you see at the bottom of their email the contact information some are from Boston and I had one from CA. How do they know the market where you live. Never give out nothing else ie. SS numbers, career licence numbers and other personal information.

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