At first, Beta Soft sounded wonderful: headquartered in Fremont California, it was exactly where I wanted to work. Furthermore, if I lacked some skills necessary to do the job, I would receive on-site training once I was accepted by the company.
Thinking I had nothing to lose, I applied to Beta Soft via indeed.com and within a couple of days, I had received a response. Yet from the very beginning of my interactions with them, I had misgivings about the company and finally refused to continue, convinced it was a scam—or at the very least, a company unethical in its business practices.
Why do I think this? Here is my evidence:
1. Too Eager to Represent
The first time the recruiter called, I was out of the house. And the second time. And the third. Each day, the recruiter called back trying to get in touch with me. Although initially gratifying, this raised a red flag: the recruiter was a little too eager to talk with me. After all, an applicant is lucky if a recruiter responds to them at all—once they do, it’s up to the applicant to return the call. Why was this company so keen to talk to me when my resume lacked much of the ideal experience?
2. Unprofessional Phone Service
I did try to call the recruiter back using the phone number he gave me. The number led to an automated option system which invited me to dial the person’s extension. However, as soon as I hit the first digit of the three-digit extension, I was told that the entry was invalid. Instead, I was given a list of digits (1 = … department, etc.) with the last digit being the operator. However, only the first few choices actually proved valid! When I tried to punch the digit for “Operator,” I was told my entry was invalid and to try again.
Finally, I chose the option for recruiting and was transferred to a woman with a very strong Indian accent. Since Beta Soft is an American-Indian company, I did not think too much of this. I told her I was returning the recruiter’s call (and gave her his name). She sounded confused and told me the recruiter was unavailable and what was my name? However, she didn’t ask me how to spell it or even to repeat it (nor did she ask me for my phone number) and quickly hung up.
3. No Response to Email
In light of such a lackluster phone response, I decided to email the recruiter to let him know I had returned his call. However, when he called again (twice actually over the next couple days), it was evident he did not know I had called back or even that I had emailed him.
4. Misrepresentation of Entry Level Job Posting
The job I applied for was an Entry Level Quality Analyst. The minimum qualification was a preferred Bachelors degree in CS or IT. The only “must have” skills were a basic understanding of any programming language (i.e. C, C++, Java, SQL, HTML, CSS).
I had all that, so I applied. However, when I finally did get in touch with the recruiter over the phone, he listed eight pieces of software I needed to be proficient at in order to do the job — none of which I had encountered before. The experience he was asking for did not match market expectations for an entry-level job.
This was reinforced later in our conversation when he mentioned that the clients they hired workers out to expected 3–4 years of experience. I’ll get back to their unethical “solution” to that later, but just know that 3–4 years of experience in anything is not entry level!
5. Offer to Train You … If You Pay
The recruiter told me that I did not have the experience needed for this (entry-level) job, so I would have to take a five-week training course offered by Beta Soft in order to gain the necessary skills. He said the course would require a $1000 deposit ($750 if I took it online) in order to ensure I did not just use Beta Soft to get training and then leave them for another company once the course was complete. If I stuck with the program, I would get my deposit back after three months.
This was the biggest red flag that Beta Soft was likely a scam company. Although their logic made sense, it made me nervous to hear I would have to pay for any sort of training…especially once I was told that the instructor could kick me out of the program if he thought I wasn’t learning fast enough (or for any other reason, valid or not). The recruiter said that in that case, I would get my deposit back. However, according to the Terms on the company’s website, they would first subtract any money I had earned while I was with their company. So essentially, they would be keeping my deposit whether or not my departure from the program had been justified.
Differences in Deposit Size
Yelp reviews from other people recruited by Beta Soft indicate that the amount Beta Soft charges for this course actually varies from $300 to $1000—seemingly without reason. People in the same course group often will have paid different amounts to take it.
The way they pay is online via Beta Soft’s website. There is not any mention of a training course or payment needed on the site, just a single “Pay Online” link at the foot of their website. Upon clicking the link, you are taken to a page where you have to type in the amount you owe—substantiating the claim that different candidates are charged different amounts.
The recruiter further said that though Beta Soft usually offered three “free” classes, since classes had already started, I would have to begin tomorrow (Friday) or else be too far behind to catch up. I wanted to ask whether or not it would be better to just wait for the next round of classes, but I didn’t. Instead, I was told that I would need to register that night in order to start attending classes the next day. Registering meant paying the $1000.
The recruiter wanted me to register right then while I was on the phone (another sign of a scam), but I insisted on having the night to think about it. After all, I wouldn’t buy a $1000 computer without researching its specs first! Furthermore, he was asking for a big commitment. The on-site location was 6-hours round trip for me, which meant I would have to find a place to rent if I wanted to attend. The class was Monday to Friday, but only three hours in duration each day, so online would have been an easier option (though the recruiter kept pushing for on-site training: “It would be easy for you to attend”—Easy? What part of six hour round-trip did you not understand?), but the classes went from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, which meant I would have to give up my current job in order to take them, since they could only be taken live. He further told me I would have to register by 8:00 am in order to attend the class the next day.
6. Unethical Resume Padding
Upon completion of the training course, the recruiter said I would receive 1 week of resume padding and 1 week of interview practice. I asked him to explain what resume padding meant. He said that the companies they contracted employees out to (Google, Microsoft, etc.) expected 3–4 years of professional experience (again, not entry level!) so they would “add” experience based on the projects we’d complete during our five-week training course.
Now, this could have been legitimate. After all, I had done Teach for America, which was an alternative certification program for teachers which taught in six weeks what one would otherwise require a year of college coursework and assistant teaching experience to achieve. Beta Soft’s legitimacy would depend on whether or not its clients had agreed to accept projects in lieu of professional experience. So I did some research.
According to Yelp reviews of people who had actually gone through the whole program, that’s not the case. Instead, Beta Soft pads resumes by falsifying work experience. They claim you worked for fictitious companies for various years in order to give you the experience needed to get a job. Many employees get fired when their background checks don’t hold up.
7. Impossible Statistics
Even before our conversation was at an end, I knew resume padding was a deal-breaker for me. The recruiter tried to reassure me by saying they had “never failed” to place an applicant in a job. Never failed? For a company that’s been in existence for nearly a decade, that’s impossible. After all, even the best colleges don’t have a graduation rate that high!
8. One-Year Contract
In order to work with Beta Soft, you have to sign a one-year contract tying you to the company. They pay you $32.50 an hour with a 10% increase after 6 months. After a year, you can leave, or stay on at an 80%–20% rate (they keep 20% of your salary, you get 80%).
This aspect is not necessarily scammish, but it is below market rate for a job like this.
9. Hidden Meaning of Relocation
Beta Soft asks if you’re open to relocation. They imply that they mean relocating to Fremont, CA. However, according to Yelp reviews, they actually mean relocating anywhere in the country. This was substantiated by my recruiter, who said travel costs would only be reimbursed if you had an interview out of state. If you had to move out of state, you’d supposedly get $750 to help you.
10. Won’t Take No For an Answer
Upon further researching this company, I knew Beta Soft was not worth the risk. I wrote an email to my recruiter (I knew I had his email address right because he’d emailed me the link to pay for the course) and said I’d decided not to pursue a career with Beta Soft.
In the morning, instead of him calling me to ask about my decision (or better yet, simply accepting it), he referred me to a higher-up in order to try to convince me otherwise. This tells me Beta Soft is only concerned about getting my tuition money and not getting good candidates for their job. After all, what company wants to hire someone who doesn’t want to work there and who doesn’t fit the qualifications for the job in the first place?
11. H1B Blacklist
Beta Soft claims in its job descriptions that it provides “H1-B Visa sponsorship to candidates who are on F1 visa status & also TN Visa sponsorship for Canadian citizens.” However, according to Yelp, Beta Soft is actually blacklisted by the government for its unethical practices and allowing them to sponsor you will actually sabotage your candidacy.
The recruiter was very well trained. He appeared able to answer all my questions with seemingly-legitimate responses. The company had a phone number whose area code matched its physical location in a city I was very familiar with. However, when taken as a whole, it seems clear that something is seriously wrong with Beta Soft. Unethical practices? Yes. A scam company? Probably. Either way, Beta Soft is a place it would be wiser to avoid.