Staffing Scams

It’s very difficult today to separate an actual recruiter or staffing agent from the attempts to scam you into giving up not only your personal information but those of your personal or professional references.

Read My Résumé?

Many recruiters or staffing agents who respond to résumé applications I have filed using Dice, Monster, Ideal, or LinkedIn ask for information such as:

  • Candidate Name
  • Address
  • Phone (number)
  • Email (address)

Okay, let’s begin with:

  • EmailIf my email was not part of my profile and résumé, the agent could not have sent me her or his email.
  • Candidate NameI am the candidate and my name is on both my résumé and board profile.
  • AddressMy mailing address is featured in both my résumé and board profile.
  • PhoneMy phone number is featured in both my résumé and board profile.

Note that these questions appear before the sender asks me if I have any technical documentation, framework (such as Agile), or specific software experience. All of these are shown clearly and prominently in my profile and résumé.

Skills Matrix?

Have you ever come up against a so-called “skills matrix?” Something that looks like this:

Skill Yes No Last Used
Write and edit documentation.      
Take ownership of documentation projects from initialization to completion.      
Proactively revise documents as new facts and issues arise.      
Work alongside Business Analysts/SMEs and technical staff to support project documentation.      
Provide recommendations on deliverables produced as a result of analysis/design discussions.      
Work with technical staff to produce documentation deliverables that are easy to for readers to comprehend.      
Organize and write supporting continuing documentation as needed.      
Select photographs, drawings, diagrams, and charts that augment users’ understanding.      
Aid in organizing and maintaining SharePoint document repositories.      
Excellent writing and editing skills.      
Minimum of 3-6 years of technical writing experience.      
Ability to communicate effectively.      


Most of us have met this kind of matrix; it never makes any sense. For instance, how does one quantify:

  • “excellent writing and editing”?
  • “take ownership…”
  • “communicate effectively”

Each professional technical communicator knows that he or she communicates effectively using excellent writing and editing skills while taking ownership of the documents she or he produces. Except that, of course, the contractor does not own those documents. The client owns the documents.

What Is Your Rate?

Scammers and Phishers of People ask this question in their email queries, too. Staffing agents have a figure against which they are working; why don’t they just ask if I am willing to consider that rate or one near it?

I suspect that this game is played in order to see if I and others who they contact will undersell ourselves. Either that, or their company legal staff has advised them that revealing this information may be considered to be an offer. Those of us who are contractors know this is not the case.

I almost always tell the recruiter that my rate is negotiable and I ask what is their threshold.

Scammers & Phishers

These individuals may also ask for your Social Security Account Number, Driver’s License Number, and the contact information (name, address, email address, & phone number) for at least three or four personal references.

If a company needs references, I am happy to provide that information after I’ve spoken with a recruiter and have some confidence that there is a legitimate purpose for the request.

However, most times these days, emails come in out of the blue that demand those data before any personal contact or conversation has occurred.

No Way. I will not knowingly expose myself or those I know to the potential of identity theft.