Strange Telephone Behavior with Job Applicants

I’m answering a lot of local job ads to pick up seasonal / office / whatever work these days. So a lot of employers and agencies and headhunters etc have my name, tel, resume etc.

Three times in the last month this has happened:
[phone rings] [identified as 516-407-2693

Me: Hello?

Voice: Hello. Press 3 to be added to the Do Not Call registry. I am calling because you replied to a job ad. I would like to ask you a few questions. What kind of job are you seeking?

Me: (?!?) Well, whatcha got?
Me: I’ve been applying for typing and office work, I’ve worked in retail and can run a cash register, I’ve applied for jobs that involve me driving parts to the warehouse or delivering equipment to the shop, I’ve applied as a database developer and computer professional, sorry but I don’t know which company you’re calling from, but I’m interested in a wide range of jobs…

Voice: I need to ask you a few questions to determine whether you are qualified for one of the jobs that we have available.

Me: OK, go ahead, sure

Voice: When did you graduate high school or get your GED?

Me: 1977

Voice: Are you a US citizen?

Me: Yes, I am…

Voice: What is the highest degree that you attained?

Me: I have an MA in sociology and an MSW in social work

[* CLICK *]

All but the US Citizen question is information available on my resume. Is this someone fishing around trying to get tabs on non-citizens? Market research pretending to be calls to potential employees and I’m not qualifying for the survey? Someone trying to sign up students for an online college degree at Illegitimate University? Some other kind of scam?

They don’t even confirm my name.

I don’t know what the caller may be trying to do, but legitimate companies don’t operate like that. I would not give any information without first establishing the identity of the company, the name of the caller and the specific job they are calling about. Any hesitancy on the part of the caller to provide that information up front will trigger an immediate hang up on my end. It sounds fishy at worst, unprofessional at least.

According to this, they are trying to get you to say the word ‘yes.’ I guess with the citizenship question. The press 3 thing is a quick way to identify live responders.

The ‘yes’ thing might be a myth. It could just be more about compiling lists of ‘active’ numbers.

A huge flag is that it is illegal to ask someone when someone graduated high school because it basically tells them your age. You can’t ask anything like that in an interview. Feel free to just hang up when someone does that because it is a scam of some sort or the company isn’t reputable.

I’d guess that at least one ad you answered is a phishing scam, not a real job. By identifying yourself as intelligent and educated, you eliminated yourself from their target demographic, so they hung up.

Yes, the “yes” thing is indeed a myth. I once answered “yes” to each and every question on a long questionaire. Confusing to the poll-taker, but do you really think that a recording of you saying “yes” could be legally used to get you to pay a bill? It’s just another urban legend, not unlike the bloody hook on the car door. Snopes hasn’t been able to verify any mis-use of this information.

Back to the OP. There’s a possibility that the caller was not a human, but a chatbot programmed to phish for useful info and respond accordingly. Some of these are even programmed to throw clever, folksy comments in the mix to make them appear more human.

Try giving a response that is outside their expertise and see what happens. In any case, I would advise you to give out nothing about yourself if you don’t know who’s calling.

Honestly, I would have hung up once they asked what kind of job I was seeking, AFTER telling me they’re following up on a job ad I responded to. What kind of job am I seeking? The kind of job in the ad I responded to.

Also, from your description, it sure looks a lot like a bot, not a human, doing the talking. No specifics, no repeating of information you just told them, no names.

There may be a legitimate job somewhere at the bottom of that phone tree, but it’s more likely a scam targeting job seekers than anything else.