Skip to main content

Job Search Scam Further Damages Recruitment’s Reputation

By September 6, 201226 Comments

For an industry often compared unfavourably with those selling used cars and snake oil the recruitment industry has been keeping its nose pretty clean in New Zealand in recent months.  That was until tonight when I saw the 6 o’clock News report that revealed a job search scam seemingly set up to exploit migrants in New Zealand.

According to the report, the South Auckland and Hamilton-based Alignz Recruitment told an Indian IT Graduate “candidate” of theirs that they would secure him a job offer, as long as he paid them $5,750 for their efforts.

Now, sometimes in recruitment you get a candidate referred to as a “walking placement”.  A candidate so blessed with the perfect skills, experience, attitude, and communication skills that it is a pleasure to refer them into your clients, safe in the knowledge they will most certainly be offered a job.  Well this guy must have been more than a walking placement.  He must have been positively sprinting because:

“Alignz told K… it had found him a job with Taropages, an online business directory which has since been struck off.

He said he didn’t have any contact with the online company, not even an interview. Despite that K… signed an employment agreement, and renewed his visa to stay in the country.

But he said that when he asked Alignz for a start date, things turned sour.”

Quelle surprise…

The protestations from Alignz’s owner ring pretty bloody hollow to me.  Her claims that they had upheld their end of the contract by securing him a job offer are laughable.  Firstly, I’m not sure when this all happened but Taropages has been struck off since 29th February this year, more than 6 months ago.  Furthermore, I actually thought it was illegal to charge jobseekers a fee for finding them work, which is why recruitment agencies always operate on behalf of the employer and charge a fee to them.  Can anyone clarify this for me?  Or am I confusing New Zealand’s employment laws with another jurisdiction?

All of us in recruitment, agency and internal, receive a large number of job applications from immigrants seeking work so they can remain in NZ, often following graduation and approaching the end of their study visas.  But here we have a recruiter unable to resist the urge to exploit that situation and make some cash.

But it gets worse.  When I heard the story I thought “here we go, this will raise the argument for regulation of our industry again.”  But then I checked the RCSA membership directory and Alignz Recruitment is actually a paid up member!  So, in my honest and respectful opinion, I think it’s time the RCSA stopped fannying around flash resorts in the Pacific and started holding their members properly accountable.  After all, their “Code for Professional Conduct” does state:

“Must act honestly in all dealings with candidates, clients, consultants and members”

Time to show some teeth RCSA – this needs investigating properly because it is going to even further damage our industry’s reputation, and that is something we can’t afford much longer.


Now onto more uplifting news, some of you might remember when The Whiteboard was brought to you from Sydney Airport back in March this year and I posed the question “Can We Bring RHUB to New Zealand?”  Well I’m delighted to say that the answer to that is now a resounding “Yes!”  Destination Talent is bringing RHUB to the Floating Pavilion in Auckland on 18th October and the Rice Consulting team will be hosting a pre-conference party (free for delegates) the night before at Generator.  The line up is a who’s who of the New Zealand internal and agency recruitment sector (and me…) and you can get your tickets here.

There are also a couple of cool (and free) social recruiting events happening this month:

On Monday the Social Media Club Auckland is holding its monthly shindig at Telecom and this time around speakers will be discussing Social Recruiting in a panel format.  And then on 27th we are hosting the second End-of-Quarter Social Recruiting PowWow, with drinks, networking and a quickfire presentation from Kirsti Grant of Social Sauce fame.

Get involved, people.

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Brad says:

    JR – Seems RCSA are starting to make some progress here in NZ and admit to thinking a membership is on the cards… but probably more aligned with HRINZ due to depth of support, quality of events and good folks involved. I agree they should show some “teeth” and this may be the time or at the least make a statement on the situation before they lose traction with the local punters… has there been a formal complaint to RCSA? well reported John.

  • Amanda says:

    I too saw that piece on the news last night and I was appalled. The question has to be asked of the RSCA – where is the accountability?

  • Sean says:

    I notice Allignz’ “Commitments” on their website includes: “Treat others the way you like to be treated : Providing and acceptable services to the candidate / client, one you would approve of yourself.”
    I’ve therefore sent them my CV and an invoice for $6k for the privilege of reading it. Should be enough to cover my airfare to the next RCSA jolly.

  • The RCSA can only act on formal complaints about members. They do not have the resources to go around independently auditing members or conducting ‘mystery shopper’ exercises. If all recruitment agencies joined the RCSA then these sorts of QA processess (which I approve of) could be afforded and (I hope) these types of unethcial recruitment agencies would be found out long before the media gets hold of a bad news story such as this one.

    • Jonathan says:

      Good points Ross, I guess I’m stating my position as one where I hope the RCSA react in a robust and forthright way to this report.  Such a response will actually be good PR for them as an industry body.  So now we need someone to make a complaint…

  • Anon says:

    I have laid a
    complaint with the RCSA – officially – filled out all of the forms did all that
    was required – and received a phone call after all the effort stating that
    “really there was nothing they could do” – why bother!

  • Craig says:

    Dude it was a very flash resort….

  • John Harland says:

    As a Member of the RCSA Council in New Zealand I am shocked and appalled to think we cannot do something about a company that brings the industry into disrepute. I thought that was a major purpose of our existence and one of the reasons I am a member. I will certainly be asking questions as to why no action can be taken if that is indeed the truth.  I would have thought suspension of membership would have been a very real option as a minimum.  

  • GaryBt says:

    Absolutely agree with the standard of agencies. The RCSA definitely has to get more organised and hold the integrity of organisation to a light. Preferably a bl;ow torch for some.

  • Kevin says:

    Well said Jonathan, and that’s why I have never bothered being a member. Perhaps if they stopped gnashing gums and got some teeth, then some of us would take the RCSA seriously.  Think back to some of the high profile stuff-ups – again, silence.  If we had a strong industry body that upheld the reputation of the majority rather than sitting stunned with negative minority behaviours, then we would start to make progress.

  • Julie Morrison says:

    Hi Jonathan and followers RCSA was aware of the story last Thursday night, on
    the evening it was aired. We went through our usual processes and sought
    counsel from our legal people on Friday. This morning RCSA will initiate its
    own investigation to be conducted under the RCSA Code for Professional Conduct.
    RCSA was aware of the story last Thursday night, on
    the evening it was aired. We went through our usual processes and sought
    counsel from our legal people on Friday. This morning RCSA will initiate its
    own investigation to be conducted under the RCSA Code for Professional Conduct.
    For your information the RCSA Board may impose
    sanctions against a member who has been found by its Ethics Committee, after a
    hearing, to have breached the Code. The Ethics Committee can have regard to
    legal standards as well as to community expectations. Sanctions can include
    expulsion, suspension, disclosure orders, directions to do or refrain from
    doing something or to make a payment as well as a range of other sanctions
    including fines.
    Please note that RCSA would welcome contact from
    the aggrieved candidate with a view to assisting him to find a placement. We
    will make contact with ONENEWS to this end. The RCSA Board Member in New
    Zealand is Jacqui Barratt FRCSA
    and has offered her services for this purpose.

    And for your followers:

    The RCSA Code for Professional Conduct can be found

    The process for lodging a complaint with RCSA can
    be found here

    The Ethics Registrar can contacted at

  • John says:

    I suppose that everyone deserves the opportunity to explain their side of the story and thats why there is a Court system for alleged criminals. We have now been told that the RCSA is looking at this case and that there are several actions that can be taken. Still their are those of you  outside the organisation who point their finger and accuse the body of being toothless or worse yet  offer no alternative and do not give any time for reasonable consideration of the facts. You blindly accept situations reported by the media who obviously always portray and report the truth.(see the Tuiadvert in this one)  Its easy to point the finger and accuse everyone else of being Cowboys and take the high ground when you dont put your XXXX’s on the line yourself. If there is no body such as the RCSA then you have NO chance of getting rid of the Cowboys and very little chance that your own credibility will not be impugned by the actions of others. Good on you you brave pioneers who are so righteous that you need not be a member of any organisation which at least does try to maintain and describe a set of ethics and good practice. Ask yourself what are your ethics and how do you uphold those values in an environment which has no boundaries. Sounds like anarchy to me. I think I will wait and see what the RCSA actions might be before making judgement. And by the way,  what Alignz have done is not actually illegal just obviously very poor practice and in my opinion unethical.

  • It27 says:

    I’m reading this article and can’t help but notice that its pretty much one sided. I understand that scams like this are wrong but who are we to judge based upon what one person is saying?? What happened to the common phrase, “Innocent until proven guilty” ?? No official CEO or Director has been interviewed and neither has any other proof been uplifted. For all we know, the scam could be this person acting innocent. This worker for Alignz states that she found him a job offer and yes the company has been closed for more than 6 months, but her job offer was given to him mid-last year therefore he had legit work. If the company his job offer was for closed down that would not be their fault for how is anyone to foresee the future. All I’m asking is is how can he blame them when they did officially follow through with their agreement. His complaint is months out of date and seems rather over exaggerated. Someone please tell him to stop ripping off workers here and trying to play this game where he can skip stages of hard work by making people who worked their way up to the top look bad.   

  • Victimofindianmigrantscam says:

    Dear Sir

    I respectfully write to you about your article.  

    I have a few questions about what took place with the Indian Migrant, for those of you that may be interested?

    Was he paying for a Job or for a Job Offer to assist him in his Immigration Application for a Work Visa?  I wonder?  

    I am of the understanding that Recruitment Companies charge the Employer a fee to find suitable staff with a current New Zealand Citizenship or Permanent Residence?

    I would more than likely assume, if I were to investigate further, that Mr Kunnal was playing Alignz, and has made like he’s been “Job Scammed” he was really after the Visa, got the Job Offer to assist him in his paperwork, the paperwork obviously took too long to process at NZ Imigration and he lost his Job Offer due to not being able to work immediately or within a fair time period?  No fault of Alignz.  It is alleged that the Job Offer was mid last year.

    I have had this issue myself with a Migrant and I was forced to wait 5 months.  Five months is too long for any Small Business to hold the positon.  What were the circumstances considering that I read here tonight that Mr Kunnal was given the Job Offer last year?  That company was struck off this year.  Hmmmmm.  How odd.   

    My encounters with these particular migrants have been horrendous.   During their job interview, begging is not cool, and to tell me, “If I don’t get the job, I’ll be sent back to India and then I’ll put shame on my family…” is not cool either. 

    I have found when interviewing Indian Migrants “The Scammed Ones” they lie through their back teeth and say anything that they can conjur up, or have researched about the Company, to try and get me to employ them because they are so desperate to stay in the country.  They even go as far as using emotional blackmail because they are so desperate for that Visa.    Come on, what is this?  Am I the only one that has experienced this?
    It is sickening really that these so called scammed Indian Migrants are the “victim”.  

    I would assume that especially after reading that you found Alignzs Recruitment ,current with the membership with RSCA (and that speaks volumes to me incidentally………….)  that there is more to that interview that probably was not shown and of course conveniently edited out.  
    Someone had to be news worthy that night.   
    When I was watching that interview on One News I thought the following:  
    “Are they that desperate for news?”  and this is because of my own experience with Indian Migrants and their manipulative manner. 

    May I suggest if you want the RCSA to further investigate, that they first check with NZ Immigration to see if they do their checks before they approve a Work Visa on a “Job Scam?”

    Your Sincerely

    Victim of an Indian Migrant Employee Scam 

  • Kunaalthanik says:

    I know there are lots of people who have lots of questions in their minds.

    1. I was not the only victim from that company,there is long queue but they are afraid and don’t want to come at front to talk because of immigration strict policies.

    2. Personally i met at least 7 people outside of the Alignz office who were waiting for the refund and same thing happen with them. They got the offer letter but no job. Even 1 girl, who got the job but she was fired within 90 days without any notice. This was another strategy to rip off the clients, I guess.

    3. When she said I will return money, but please wait outside, I used to wait outside the office from 9am to 5pm without moving from office gate, in the hope to get my money back. At-last I get nothing and come back to home.