i hate recruiters who straight up lie

Updating my resume at Dice.com this week has wielded some really great results. I’ve got a number of interviews lined up including some outside of the Los Angeles area, so we’ll see where that takes me.

In the meantime, I do feel the need to discuss one particular recruiter who straight up lied to me, and even once I confronted him with proof of his lie, he still tried to convince me to apply for a job he had open. Yeah, right.

His name is Mahesh. I won’t tell you which company he works with, but it starts with the letter “S” and ends in “oftware Professional Services Corp” (SPSC).

Here’s the story:

I update my resume at Dice.com on Monday, and he calls later that afternoon, telling me of a job he has open with a client in Redwood City. Without telling me anything about it, no job description, etc., he jumps right into his pitch about wanting my resume to apply for the job. I pull him back to reality and start quizzing him about relocation expenses — surely if he wants me to move hundreds of miles for a job, the client will cover my relocation, right?

“Uh, let me talk to my manager and call you back … how much do you think it will cost you to move?”

I pull a number out of the air that sounds about right for renting a big U-Haul for a one-way trip plus something to tow a car so either my wife or I can drive the UHaul 600 miles north, plus gas and meals, plus a deposit on a new place to rent. $4,000 sounds reasonable to me, he says “okay” and hangs up. Five minutes later, his manager calls me, introduces himself, and says that instead of covering my relocation expenses, I should just add a small, extra dollar amount onto my hourly rate to make up the difference.

Math lesson!

If I charged $4,000 to my credit card to pay for my move, and increased my hourly rate just $5 per hour, it would take me about 5 months to pay off my moving expenses, minus an average 17% interest on most credit cards. No thanks.

I tell him that’s a ridiculous idea, and that if his client isn’t willing to pay relocation expenses that I don’t want to apply for the job. Besides, it’s a contract role, which is inherently very risky. He says he’ll call me right back, and hangs up.

Another few minutes go by, he calls back, and offers me a “pretty sweet deal”: SPSC will pay all of my moving expenses if I work for them as a full-time employee, and work at the client site for their client, but I’d be an employee of SPSC, not an employee of the client.

Better. Less risk, maybe some benefits and perks.

Whatever, send me a job description at least so I know what the job is. We haggle about annual salary, and he asks for my resume. I tell him I want to see a job description before I send a resume, and he says he’ll get his recruiter (Mahesh, who started the whole ordeal) to send it.

The next day (Tuesday), Mahesh calls again, asking for my resume. I told him I never received his job description, and he swears he sent it. Not according to my server logs, he didn’t, and without an Email from him to reply to, I can’t send him a resume. No connection at all from his system, according to my /var/log/maillog file, so he sends the job description to me from his personal Gmail account (rookie), and it’s pretty vague on detail, other than saying the job requirements:

… include PHP, HTML (without the help of an HTML WYSIWYG editor), JaveScript, CSS, MySQL, Sendmail, sessions, memcache, background processes, resource allocation and apache. Object oriented programming concepts, Java, C and Oracle experience a plus.

I cut-and-pasted his text, typos and everything. Never heard of JaveScript. Whatever, sounds like a decent match overall from a skill set alone, but he hasn’t told me anything about the client or what the project is, etc.

I send him a resume, he calls me back in the afternoon asking if I can do a technical interview. Sure, I’m ready at the drop of a hat.

Mahesh: “Can they call you at 10:30?”
Me: “Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning? Sure…”
Mahesh: “No, in the evening. Tonight.”
Me: “Are you smoking crack? Who does a technical interview at 10:30 at night?” (paraphrased)
Mahesh: “Well, these guys are pretty busy…”

… which immediately makes me wonder whether I want to work for a company where their technical staff are still working at 10:30pm.

Me: “No, if you want to interview me, you can call me during normal business hours, I will not interview at 10:30 at night, I’ll be in bed by 10pm.”
Mahesh: “What time would be best then to call you?”
Me: “Any time between 8am and 8pm.”
Mahesh: “Okay, how about 9am, Wednesday morning?”
Me: “Fine, 9am, Wednesday morning.”

We hang up, I go to our Tuesday night Bible study with Elizabeth, we get home about 10pm, get ready for bed and was juuuust about to turn out the light, and the phone rings. It’s 10:20pm. It’s either my family calling about my dad’s heart surgery, or … no, it can’t be… 732 area code, which I find out later is New Jersey. This guy’s not even IN California and he’s trying to recruit for a California client. It also means it’s 12:20am on the east coast.

“Hi this is (unintelligible) from (unintelligible company name) in India, calling for Ian for a technical interview.”

India?! Wonderful, masking phone numbers now…

Me: “Uh, you guys are supposed to call me at 9am tomorrow morning, I’m not doing a technical interview right now, you just got me out of bed, it’s 10:20pm at night here in Los Angeles.”
Him: “No, I show here that we were supposed to call you at 10:30pm your time.”
Me: “Let me repeat myself, you’re going to call me back at 9am tomorrow morning – I’m NOT doing a technical interview right now. You just woke up my wife, I was already in bed, this is very inconsiderate.”
Him: “Well, we’re in India, calling you at 9am your time would be a very ridiculous time of day here.” (paraphrased)
Me: “Well, it’s a ridiculous time of day here … call me back at 9am tomorrow morning if you want to interview me.”

… and I hung up.

For those who don’t know, India is 13.5 hours ahead of Los Angeles. 9am my time would be 10:30pm their time. Go figure… they can inconvenience ME at 10:30pm but not the other way around. As I’m hanging up the phone in the office, I decide Mahesh needs a nasty-gram about this inconsiderate behavior:


I’m not interested in this position any longer. Your technical interviewer just called my home at 10:20pm and woke me and my wife up. This is seriously inconsiderate after you told me today that they would call me at 9am.

Please do not contact me any more regarding this position.


The next morning, the interviewer called back at 9:01am, but I didn’t answer the phone. I decided I really didn’t want to deal with these people after all, and they tried calling back two more times and left a message saying “let us know when to call you back for your interview”, which I promptly deleted. Then I blocked their numbers at grandcentral.com (now Vonage) to play a “no longer in service” message if they try to call in the future. At 10:30am (what’s with the time of 10:30 am/pm that seems so significant to these guys?!), Mahesh replies to my nasty-gram/Email, and here’s the punchline of this whole blog entry:

I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. I just spoke to my interviewer and he said he did not call you last night at 10.20pm.

Oh, I beg your pardon, but grandcentral.com keeps an excellent call log, and since it forwards incoming calls to both my cell phone and home phone at the same time, that means I also have a log of the incoming call at Vonage.com plus the caller ID log on the phone itself, as well as AT&T’s log for my cell phone showing a missed call since I answered the incoming call on the home phone. I Email him back stating that I have 4 pieces of proof of the phone call, proving he (or his interviewer) is a liar.

His reply:

Ian, Anyways I apologize for whatever happened. This thing happened due to mis communication … If you are still not interested in this opportunity then its ok.

Whatever … ?!

I hit Delete and mulled over whether to write this article or not. It’s one thing to lie about it. It’s another thing to come across as “yeah, well, anyways…” when confronted with the truth and play it off like “whatever happened” was of no consequence and blame it on “mis communication” (sic). If this kind of miscommunication happens within the company, plus needing to work at 10:30pm to keep in touch with people in India, then I really don’t want to be a part of it.

Am I being too dramatic about it? Well, a log of a dozen phone calls about the position where I had to haggle about relocation expenses and their initial attempt to convince me to just add a few bucks to my hourly rate to gradually pay it off over time, and then hounding me for a resume (which they could have gotten from Dice.com in the first place if they weren’t too cheap to paid for it) before they even send me a job description, then to lie to me about sending the job description, and then getting a late-night phone call, then lying to me that the late-night phone call never happened, then playing it off like “whatever”. Bleh.

I had one other recruiter Email me late Tuesday night as well which made me laugh, I’ll blog about her next.