In the current scenario of pandemic-ravaged economies, record-breaking unemployment rates, furloughs, and mass lay-offs you may be tempted to jump at the next offer with your eyes closed. Word of caution though – Dubious agents and unscrupulous consultants will sadly even use such catastrophic calamities to their advantage and hoodwink the helpless, unsuspecting jobseeker.
Even if the new opportunity seems very lucrative it is always advisable to do your due diligence before you sign the dotted line. More so, if it is an overseas assignment which requires a significant monetary investment from your end.
A few basic measures can help you safeguard your interests and prevent you from falling prey to such deceptions.
- Don’t sign any document without giving it a thorough read – Even if you are dealing with an agency which enjoys tremendous credibility make sure you read every agreement fully and sign only if you feel the terms are fair and agreeable to you.
- Look for Hidden Costs –Pick on the keywords “Subject to change”, “Actual cost may vary”, “Over and above” and question the same till you understand the possible reasons for potential variations. Be cautious but reasonable as well.
- Google it! – Make sure you visit the website of the prospective employer and the consultant. Don’t fall for the glossy images and fancy flash videos. Content is king! Client testimonials, labour body approvals and accreditations, number of years in the business, leadership team etc. is what you need to focus on and follow it up with cross-checking a few of these facts.
- Online reviews – Though helpful, take it with a pinch of salt! Not all reviews, comments, likes are unbiased. Freedom to express is literally taken out of context and every online user seems to have an opinion about everything under the sun with most of these reviews being based on inadequate and incorrect information. Go for verified sites and professional reviews.
- Virtual is good but in-person is still the best – Wherever possible ensure that you visit the Agency office and meet your consultant in -person. Zoom, Skype, emails are all fine if you are miles away but wherever practical, a personal meeting gives you that much-needed added assurance. The visit may cost you time and money but will give you a feel of how they handle their clients, operational standards, processes etc. Talk and connect with the other applicants and get first-hand feedback.
- Ask for references – Yes you can! If it is a consultancy that claims to have placed several applicants overseas and has a significant processing costs, check if they can share names and emails of those who they have placed so that you can check with them about their experiences with the consultancy. Vira has been extremely transparent in its dealings with various applicants. We have helped re-assure many students, their parents, and many other primary applicants by sharing emails of travelled candidates so that they can connect with them to verify any doubts they may have. We also encourage them to connect with travelled applicants on our Facebook page and engage in open discussions.
- Anything that is too good to be true, most likely is not true at all! – Try to request for video interviews instead of telephonic interactions where you are unable to assess the interviewer .In this age of multiple image-editing software and free resources online it is almost kids play to make attractive “Offer Letters” which the unsuspecting eye may pass off as “genuine”. Even our most senior applicants have at times fallen prey to such gimmicks and approach us to process their work permits based on such offer letters which in most of the instances turn out to be invalid or fake. If the interview was too quick or easy and the offer with a handsome salary landed in your inbox within minutes of your call do not just pass it off as good luck! Read up on the minimum salaries being offered for similar positions in that country, check eligibility criteria for your positions and if you meet the requirements, check the letterhead for loopholes if any and make sure you check all deep ends before you dive.
Once you have done the basic checks above it will re-enforce your confidence in the process and help avoid issues later. As the saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry!