Job Catfishing – What To Look Out For

Job Catfishing – What To Look Out For

In one of my recent Tuesday Tips emails, I mentioned I have a friend who is getting job catfished. I received numerous responses, which included some people asking me what to look out for. What are some of the signs that I might be getting job catfished? Ask and ye shall receive!

Key topics:

✔️ Special intro music “We Close Our Eyes” by Go West. “We close our eyes, we never lose a game… imagination never lets us take the blame…” So true, isn’t it? One of the most important things you can do is listen to your own gut instincts. If something feels amiss or you feel like you are being deceived, LISTEN. Don’t close your eyes to signs of trouble.
✔️ One of the worst things you can do is treat something– a friendship, a romantic relationship, a job, a business proposal, etc.– like it is the last lifeboat off the Titanic.
✔️ The scarcity mentality is destructive for a plethora of reasons, not the least of which is when it causes you to stay trapped in an unfulfilling or even dangerous situation.
✔️ Special outro from Angel Heart. If you’ve never watched it, it is (IMHO) both a great example of 1980s neo-noir filmmaking and an interesting take on the Faust legend. The quote itself comes to us from Sophocles: “Alas, how terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the man that’s wise!”

Need more? Email me:


Transcription by


Again Hello Hello and welcome to today’s episode of the Causey Consulting podcast. I’m your host Sara Causey and I’m also the owner of Causey Consulting, which you can find online anytime at Causey I hope you a l had a wonderful T anksgiving. As I am sitting a d recording this episode, we a e now into December, that s ng, we have made it to the f nal month of 2020. And it f els long overdue this year f els like it has stretched on f r a mighty long time. And I d n’t know if anybody that is g ing to be sad to see it go to b honest with you. Last week w en I published my Tuesday t ps, email, it was really just s rt of a Hey, have a great T anksgiving. Hope you have a g od one type of message. And by t e way, if you’re not on the e ail list and you want to be go t my website, CauseyConsultingLLC com, and sign up, I always dro some excellent pearls of wis om. Last week was just kind of he hey, yeah, have a good hol day. And I made mention that I h ve a friend who is being job cat ished. And I got a lot of res onses, especially for it to hav just been an email like, Hey y’all, y’all have a good ‘ne I got a lot of responses. 80 of them were people that had heir own horror stories abou the job search being catfis ed being misled or deceived in ome way. And I think all of u like if you’re past a certain point in life, you’ve had this e perience where you feel like yo got the short end of the sti k people deceived you. They di n’t play fair. The other 20% we e people saying okay, like I’ve heard of being catfished especi lly like in a romantic relation hip with online dating, where somebody sets up a fake profil , you go meet them, and then hey look nothing like the profil , or the more extreme examples, like you see on Dr. Phil, where ome poor person has been bui t out of thousands upon tho sands of dollars by someone who iterally does not even exis . I know about all that. But wha does it mean to be job catfish d? Like, what are the warning si ns? What would I need to look o t for it to protect myself? T at’s the topic that I want to get into today. And it’s by n means a comprehensive and e haustive list. There are n w horror stories popping up all he time. So I don’t want you to eel like this is these these s gns that I’m going to rattle o f later, the only things that yo need to be on the lookout for, but hopefully it will at le st steer you in the right direc ion. I’m going to really illust ate this by telling you a story. And lest you think I’m carry ng tales outside of school, I m not my friend who I will re er to as john doe, obviously not his real name. He is aware that I’m recording this episod under a nom de plume. And I’m ot going to say anything in thi episode that I haven’t alread said to him personally anyway. So don’t think I’m just throwing out some hot gas and not incl ding the actual person. That’s t e topic. That’s that is simpl not the case. So back in Apri of this year, which because of how 2020 has dragged on Apri of this year, feels more like it might as well have been fou or five years ago. April of t is year, my friend john is ou grocery shopping. And he ru s into a former colleague who ‘ll call Ted, obviously not his real name, either. So we sho ping, he runs into Ted and they trike up a conversation socially distanced. And with M tt masks on I’m sure. Several y ars ago, john and Ted use to work together at a fai ly large company. But the co pany had some struggles, hey went through a large orporate downsize, and both joh and Ted lost their jobs du ing that downsizing. Ted la ded at one, what I would call for the industry that john and Ted are in. It is a, I would say probably fairly well known company and well thought of to, but within the confines of their industry. And I’m bringing this point up because it’s relevant to the story. It’s not the kind of company that has immediate brand recognition like a Google Apple, Amazon. It’s not the kind of place where you would say, all right, if I can, I know they’ve got a reputation for being tough. is probably going to be like working at a grist mill. But if I can just tough it out for a couple of years, I can write my own check. It’ll look great on my resume. And I can go anywhere I want to and have instant credibility, instant respect, this company that Ted is working at is not like that. I just want to be clear. And also, my friend, john is not at the point in his career where he’s trying to build up his resume anyway, again, also factors that are relevant to the story. So they strike up this conversation, and john asks Ted, how it’s going at this company. And Ted? Oh, it’s great. Yeah. And working on things I really enjoy. My boss is cool. And you know, think things are good, I’m really happy with it. Now, when you’re standing in the middle of a crowded supermarket, where people are throwing toilet paper and paper towels into their baskets, and there are multitudes of people around who could hear you, most human beings are not going to say, you know, it’s a job, man, I’m there for the paycheck or the company sucks. And my boss is in a hole. I’m all the time camped out on indeed looking for other options. Most people are not going to do that. So I know that this probably sounds really cynical on my part. But you got to remember I’ve been at this a long time. Alright, and what what’s up to pacline? Or maybe it was a guy from California love. He I think it was actually Dr. Dre where he’s like, I’ve been in the game for 10 years making rap tunes. Yeah, I’ve been in staffing, recruiting and HR for more than a decade, I’ve seen a lot of shifts, people are not going to stand in the middle of a crowded supermarket and bleed their guts out to somebody that’s, you know, casual friend slash former coworker not not got that they’re not going to do that. So, you know, Ted paints this beautiful picture to john about how good he has it. And he says, You know, I kind of asked john how things are going john sort of works piecemeal, here and there. And this, this is where the story gets juicy. So he tells john, well, you know, we’re on a hiring freeze right now, because of COVID. nobody’s really sure what’s gonna happen over the next few months, but like, you know, if anything ever comes open at the company, that you might be a good fit for you. I certainly put in a good word for you. That is where in so many ways, the train left the tracks for john. I’m not sure why. But for some reason, he latched on to that, like a starved man having a porterhouse steak with all the trimmings sat down in front of him. It was like he went from being a very, you know, sound and rational person to being like, Oh, my God. Yes. He I mean, he started fiending for this job hard at that point in time. You know what I felt like Michael, in the second Godfather, you know, when Connie drags up that Merle dude, she’s like, Oh, yeah, we want to get married. And right there in front of the guy. Michael is like, hey, look, I don’t know this Merle. I don’t know what he lives on. But he needs to GTFO. First of all, that’s gangster as hell. I just man, that’s so many. We could take a whole other episode about how gangster that little scene is in and of itself. I don’t know what the situation is. I don’t know this Ted guy. I don’t know what he lives on. I don’t know how honest he is. And I also don’t know what John’s financial situation is like that he would all of a sudden decide this job is the last lifeboat off the Titanic. But something went awry in that particular moment. So john starts pushing hard. Oh, like, give me your email address and I’ll send you my resume. Okay, you know how it is when you’re like in the supermarket? And you run into somebody that you went to high school with, like somebody who is your next door neighbor 30 years ago, and you’re like, Hey, you know, you haven’t standing down to stop and chat with you with them. Which is like the bane of every introverts existence, the random ambush, stop and chat. Do you do that? Oh, somebody will bring up Oh, we should go have coffee sometime? Oh, yeah. Great, but then you never actually do it. So I’m suspicious that Ted said that as a sort of olive branch, you’re sort of you know, this is the cup of coffee that we’re never going to get Oh, hey, you know, if there’s ever an opening on, you know, definitely push for that to happen for you. And then john latched on to it, like he would not be able to survive without it and really started trying to push the train. So I guess maybe 10 or 20 minutes after he got back home. John’s already sent in Ted, his resume. And from there, it has launched this cavalcade of waiting and being strung along and weird emails back and forth. It’s it’s been like his Series of Unfortunate Events. And I you know, I know some some of you listening You’re not spiritual, but I have a bad feeling about this. I have in the beginning, when he was telling me about all that I was like, cool, you know, hope it works out for you. But as they have said certain things to him, and I don’t know, there’s even been some emails that have gone back and forth that have almost have had a threatening tone. Well, not almost they did. I’m just nine, I need to quit using equivocal language, they had a threatening tone to them. If you screw anything up, we’ll sue you. And I’m like, Jesus, what? Ah, why would you want to work at a company like that? I mean, they’re showing you who they are. This is how they operate. This is this is what the company culture at this place is like, there’s a lot of gold that we could mine from this story. One is, you don’t ever want to treat anything like it is the last lifeboat off the Titanic. You can trust me on this. I’ve done the legwork. I have done it with platonic friendships, romantic relationships, jobs, potential business deals, financial situations, etc. And it has never, not one single time worked out well, for me to glom on to something and treat it like if this doesn’t work out, I’m just going to die. It’s not good energy. And it is 100% of the time born out of a scarcity mindset. It could be you have been unemployed for two months. And this is the first interview I’ve had that even seemed to go well, or I’ve been single for a while. And this guy’s the first one that’s really shown some interest and put some effort in. I guess I better marry him and start having his babies immediately. No, you need to zip that crap up. Anytime that you’re latched on to something with that much heat, like you’ve got it in your clutches and you’re going to die without it. It’s going to go to crap, I promise you, you can take my word for it. You don’t have to go through the pain and the heartache if you don’t want to. Because that’s all the scarcity mindset will lead you to. It’s like if you’ve ever had money given to you as a gift, and that nagging thought popped up in your mind, I’ll probably have to use this on a home repair or you know, good things don’t happen to me, I won’t get to keep this money. Wasn’t it a self fulfilling prophecy when that happened? So don’t do it. Something else to consider is there are people in the world with self absorbed, narcissistic tendencies, there just are those of us who have a high degree of empathy or people who do light work or energy work, you may not want to admit it to yourself, but it’s true. And when we start getting really thirsty for something really desperate for something, it’s like a magnet for those selfish narcissistic people to latch on to. It invites abuse and mistreatment because people go Okay, well, you’re you’re making me a priority. You’re telling me you can’t live without me. I can make you an option. I can go and do whatever the hell I want and treat you however the hell I want. And you’ll still be here like don’t don’t do that. That’s not the kind of message that you want to telegraph to other people or to the universe at large of you know, I’m disposable and it’s okay like I’m, I’m I treat everybody else like they’re necessary for my existence when they all treat me like I’m an option. Hmm, no, no, don’t be doing that. So what are some of the signs to look for, you know, if we’re if we’re wanting to break this down into like a bulleted list, here we go. One is an abnormally long timeline, or long periods of ghosting you those has been going on with john and Ted’s company since April, ever since he got super thirsty for this job back in April. I mean, they they long periods of ghosting him not communicating setting arbitrary due dates and timelines of when they’ll have a decision for him and then ignoring those due dates and timelines. What’s like well, you set that due date yourself, Why do you not have any respect for it? Because they don’t have any respect for him. That’s that’s what they’re telegraphing to him loud and clear. And I realized that sometimes like, let’s say for C suite or executive level positions in the hiring cycle is going to be longer than someone who needs to come in and be like seasonal, temporary help, you know, a job like that you might hire someone, you might bring them bring the person in for an interview, it goes, Well, you hire him on the spot, probably not going to happen for the CEO of your company. But if things are just dragging on for no apparent reason, that’s not a good sign. Another one is unrealistic, or highly inconvenient payment terms. Like let’s say that you’re doing freelance work, or you’re you’re trying to get on some type of project, contract based work and they’re telling you Well, it’s going to be like 60 days from the time that you turn in your invoice until we can pay you that needs to To set off an alarm bell, in your mind, do you really want to wait two months or one month to get paid for the work that you’ve already done? Is that sustainable? From a cash flow from a business or personal cash flow perspective? Is it sustainable for you to go that long before they finally deign to put a check in the mail or do a direct deposit for you? You need to question that, I mean, so many things are negotiable, even with large companies that if they’re telling you it’s going to be 60 days, or 30, or 45, before they can pay you, you need to push back on that. Another one, and this is huge kids. The written offer does not match the verbal offer. One of the weirdest experiences I ever had, I interviewed at a staffing company, and the person who ran it made me a verbal offer that was outstanding. And I said, if you put that in writing, I will sign that offer letter. Today, I will turn a notice and I will bounce. It took several days for me to get the written offer. And it did not in any way, shape or form match what the lady had verbally offered me and when I called her out on it. Because if y’all haven’t figured this out by now, I’m super direct, and I don’t play bullsh*t. So I called her out on it. And I said, Hey, you remember X, Y, and Z was the verbal offer. And this written offers a, b and c, I don’t understand why this has changed and not just changed a little bit changed materially. And she acted like she had no memory of making me the verbal offer that she did. Naturally, I parted ways with that company, I never took a job with them. And and I’ve heard some similar stories out in the marketplace from other people who had really weird experiences. So please let that be a huge red flag. If you’re promised something verbally, and then the written contract is totally different, you need to use extreme caution. Another one is items that you mentioned during the interview process that were agreed to are suddenly unacceptable. So for example, if you say I have to come to complete and total stop every day at 5pm, to go pick up my kids from daycare, and the hiring manager says is fine, no problem, we’ll we’ll work with you on that. That’s no big deal whatsoever. And then, during the negotiation process, they’re telling you know, you there’s gonna be times that you need to work late, we routinely stay here until seven o’clock and like, you know, we’ll we’ll order you pizza and give you free soda pop, but like you’re gonna have to be here with the rest of the team, after they told you is totally fine to leave at five, huge red flag, huge red flag and they’re also telling you where their priorities are and what is gonna be like to work for them. I mean, do you really want to work at a company where you know, they’re they’re trying to make it seem fun? Oh, well, we’ll order your pizza and we’ll give me some free soda pop and change to your chair. Oh, God, then honestly just triggered my gag reflex. Another huge red flag. They want you to work for free by calling it part of the interview process. This is different from a working interview, a working interview, especially something that’s being set up by a contracting company or staffing agency, you’re going to get paid for that work that you’re doing. You know, hey, go out and show up. Do this like receptionist job for the day or bcb seasonal help for a day? See if you like it and see if everything gels, you’re gonna get paid? Either way, that’s totally fine. But if they are asking you to do work for free now show up and work a shift and then without being paid, and then we’ll decide what we want to do. No, you’re not you should not be working for free. Under the auspices of well, it’s part of the interview. Another one obviously, is if they’re asking you to pay them money up front, I’ll we’ll we’ll pay you all this money later. But you know, we want you to pay us $1,000 up front for the cost of your laptop and your company phone like a Okay, don’t do that another you know, some some people have done arrangements like that, and come out on the other side of it without losing their shirt. I’m very suspicious of anything where they tell you you need to pay them up front. Another one is smarmy language, like you asked questions, very direct logical questions. And instead of getting a coherent, cogent answer, you get things like, no, don’t worry about it. It’s okay, you can trust us. And we’ll talk about it later. Like, no, we’re going to talk about it. Now. I don’t know if I want to be here. I don’t know if I want this without having all the facts in front of me. So if they’re trying to just placate you and sort of condescend to you, you need to take that under advisement. Another thing is they have a lot of negative things to say about all of their previous employees. In other words, they have this attitude like we’re great, but everyone we’ve ever hired has been effing awful. That’s a huge red flag. You know, nobody’s perfect. We’ve all if you’re if you’re an employer, or you’ve ever been a people manager, you’ve at some point, hired someone that you regretted hiring, we’ve all done it. But like if the company says, oh, everyone that’s ever worked here in the past, or 90% of the people who have ever worked here in the past are scumbags. And we just we’re just so naive. You know, we’re just good simple, folks. And we just got taken advantage of by buttholes. No. To me, they probably need to take a very honest appraisal and look in the mirror and go, Well, why is it that we think everybody we’ve hired as a butthole it’s not something’s going on there. Last but absolutely not least, for the love of God. Listen to your gut instinct. If your gut instinct is telling you that something is off base, something is not right. Maybe it’s too good to be true. Listen, you know, we can debate all day long about where gut instincts come from. We can say they’re spiritual, it’s something that’s given to you by the Holy Spirit, or by spirit guides, or by ancestors, you can say that it’s it’s all scientific. It’s just your brain processing things and telling you something’s wrong, faster than it can tell you why something is wrong. Whatever explanation for it, you choose to believe, listen to it. So many times in life, I have heard people say, I had a bad feeling about this, but I did it anyway. Or my best friend tried to warn me my parents tried to warn me, somebody tried to tell me, this guy was bad news, or this business deal was jacked up. And I did it anyway. And now I’ve lost it all. Listen to your gut instincts. Yeah, once you get yourself into a bad situation, it’s really difficult to get yourself out. You know, if you’ve ever heard criminal, say, trouble is easy to get into and hard to get out of, listen, it is very easy to get yourself into a bind. If you ignore all of these warning signs, and then you have to get bailed out afterwards. I worry so much about my friend john, because he’s been strung along and he’s been the subject of some really bizarre email correspondences. And you know, these people saying, if you do anything that we don’t like, we’ll sue you. If If anybody ever says that you get gave us a deliverable that’s inappropriate. We’re going to demand remuneration for it. And I’m like, Oh, my God. What? What? Ah, how are you even still considering this? it? It’s to me this is a really great example, not only of why the scarcity mentality is so dangerous, and it can lead us into so many bad pathways. It’s also a great example of how the book of Proverbs– I think it’s Proverbs 4:7 that says, wisdom is the principal thing. Get wisdom and with all thy getting get understanding, by applying good common sense listening to your gut, and really getting that understanding it can save you from so many heartaches. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please share it. If you have any concerns about situations that you’ve been going through that might be of a job catfishing nature, feel free to email me anytime. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please share it. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to this podcast leave a review for us on iTunes. Alas, how terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the wise, Johnny…

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