Monday, 2 September 2013

The Memoirs of a Job Seeker: Fake Job Adverts

In the hunt for a job, one tends to develop attention to details and if it’s innate then it is sharpened further. In the same breadth, you are always anxious and eager for that coveted job. With employment statistics hitting all time high of 46% you wonder if you will ever find an opportunity to practice. On that background you can concur with that there is nothing annoying as somebody wasting your precious effort and time during this vital mission. The last thing you would condone in these trying times is a sick joke. The advent of the internet has revolutionized the way we do things ranging from how we communicate and also, how we conduct business. We have undeniably been able to reap so much from this innovation which has brought about lots of opportunities and a fun.

Among the advantages, is the ease in job searching. You can now browse the internet and apply for the vacancies advertised. Long before the dawn of the internet, one would be compelled to make several copies of his/her CV and walk to organizations dropping the CV hopeful that there is a vacancy. Alternatively, one would have to wait for job adverts in the newspapers then proceed to apply. The former method of hustling for job was not only tiring but one is not sure whether the CV will reach the HR since it is left with the secretary. In most cases, one does not get feedback and stories have been told where secretaries dump the CV in the waste bin as soon as the potential employee leaves the building.
Then, we had the arrival of internet that made job searching quite simple. Nevertheless, all the frustration and stress that comes with job seeking is still in tact. Companies have come with websites and blogs where they post job vacancies. Some of the online job advertisers include: N-Soko, Career Point, Best Jobs Kenya, Kenya Moja, and Brighter Monday among hundreds of others. They make profit by selling the advertising space to corporates since the sites get thousands of visitors mostly job seekers.

As much it is a milestone and a big boost for team hustle, it is a jackpot for con artists and bogus HR agencies that are out to fleece job seekers as if joblessness is not enough problem for them. The con artists are advertising sham job vacancies on legitimate websites. There was this day I was going through various vacancies published in one of the leading job advertising websites. In my search, I came across a vacancy in a reputable company which required graduate trainees. I applied and after two weeks, I received a response via email. As any other job seeker will attest, I was excited because getting a feedback from the organizations is like squeezing water out of a stone. Upon opening the email, I was instructed to read an attached official letter. Voila! I had been shortlisted for interview. Upon further reading, I became suspicious. The HR manager required me to send Ksh.900 to cater for accommodation and meals during the interview. When I checked the said company’s website to ascertain whether indeed there was such a vacancy, I was greeted with the phrase ‘No vacancies available at this time’ in careers section on the website.

There is also this notorious agency located in Uganda House along Kenyatta Avenue, Nairobi. This agency advertises non existent job vacancies and when one applies, you are told to visit their office with your CV. You go their prepared for the interview however, when you arrive in their offices you are given a contract to read. For a few minutes you think that your breakthrough has come finally. The contract contains two interesting conditions among others. One of the conditions is that you will pay Ksh.2500 for CV to be included in their database and that after successfully securing the position; you will give them 50% of your first month salary. Sounds like a fair deal right? The thing is, after paying the Ksh.2500 you will never hear from them again. The contract expires after six months and after which you will have to renew the contract; which means paying again and the circus continues. Many unsuspecting job seekers have been swindled.

The companies that have set up websites to advertise the job vacancies should verify if the job has been announced by the said organization. The job seeker should also carry out a background check to confirm the availability of the vacancy. It is such a waste of time waiting for response from the unscrupulous people. In the words of Nelson Mandela ‘Aluta Continua’; the struggle continues. All said and done, don’t give up. Happy hustle!

Author’s Note:
The above piece is a section adapted from my anthology entitled ‘The Memoirs of a Job Seeker: Aspirations, Tribulations and Resilience’ and has been edited for the purposes of this publication
©Steve Osombah