Following on from your article on unscrupulous headhunters (15 June, page 42), we had an interesting experience with a recruitment agency recently.
We took a call from someone who said he was a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector. He said he had received a complaint about one of our sites and needed to investigate us. He wanted a list of our sites with contact details of the site managers to arrange a series of visits.
I asked what and which site the complaint was about, but he said the information was confidential. He asked for the details to be faxed directly to him. We thought this a little odd but, taken in by the “urgency” of the situation, we complied. We also notified our external health and safety adviser, who spoke to the HSE. They ran a check on the name and brought up no details.
I spoke to the HSE, who advised me to contact the police as it was a criminal offence to impersonate an HSE inspector. I also left a message on the so-called inspector’s answerphone, asking him to contact me urgently. He phoned back within a few minutes, admitted that he had given a false name and apologised. He said he was unaware of the implications of his actions , that he worked as a headhunter with a recruitment agency and was new to the job.
When I asked him who he worked for, he declined to answer. When I told him the police had been notified he hung up.
The police decided not to take any action as no real crime had been committed. He is now free to try the same thing on someone else.
Needless to say we are now extremely wary of giving out contact details for our sites.
Liz McKinnon, human resources and training manager, Speller Metcalfe