One of my most popular articles to date is titled: Job Scams, How to avoid becoming a victim. I stated in that article that my aim was to help at least one person avoid becoming a victim of a job scam. Well, the response I got and that I am still getting from it has been absolutely fantastic. I have had people sharing their experiences with me and messaging me about ongoing job scams. The response I received from this previous article has encouraged me to put together a second article on the warning signs of a job scam.
These job scams are designed to prey on individuals at their most vulnerable. When they are desperate and almost willing to believe anything. The desperation makes it hard to identify who is good and who is trying to scam you. To help you identify if a job offer is legitimate or not I have put together a shortlist of warning signs to look out for. These are the first signs that an offer may not be what it appears.
Warning signs of a job scam.
1) The job pays much too well.
Generally speaking, we all know that if something appears too good to be true it probably is not true. Watch out for adverts that offer a very high salary for a position that does not require much hard work or very long hours. You need to honest with yourself, do not even take a chance hoping that this job is the exception to the rule. You are falling into a trap if you do this.
2) The Job requires no experienced
The truth is that almost every single position, even entry-level openings require a certain amount of experience. As I have said before, even if a vacancy does require no experience the employer will still advertise that experience is required. The reason for this is they want to get the very best possible candidates to apply.
3) The job description is poorly written.
Obviously it is acceptable for the writer of the job description to make an error, or even two. I will admit that I have even made silly mistakes when writing a job description or two in haste. However, if the listing is full of incomplete sentences or terrible grammar you need to be wary. Often these postings look as though they have been run through an inefficient translating system.
Another red flag is the amount of detail included in the job vacancy post. Look out for posts that spend more time describing the benefits of the job then the actual job. A genuine job vacancy posting should describe the requirements of the applicant, the duties and responsibilities associated with the position and possibly even give the hours of work and location of the business.
4) They want you to pay for something.
A real job should pay you, you don’t pay them. I think we can both agree with that. If you are told you need to pay for anything in advance just run away as fast as you can! Here are a few examples of things scammers ask job seekers to pay for.
1) Software to “do the job”
2) Credit report or police clearance
3) Training material
4) CV evaluations
Generally speaking, in my opinion, if a company is asking for money in advance to you getting the job, they are crooks. If there are exceptions that you know of, please let me know in the comments below and I will mention them with pleasure.
5) The company does not require a genuine job interview.
This is an obvious warning sign of a job scam. Ask yourself, why would a company want to hire you if they have not even interviewed you and assessed your suitability for the position? This includes interviews that are obviously fake. Such as interviews conducted over Whatsapp or any other instant messaging service. They may even reply to your application that they are so impressed with your CV that there is no need to conduct an interview. The reason they are doing this is that THEY do not want to answer questions you might have about the job.
6) You are asked to provide sensitive information.
Never give out any confidential information when applying for a job. You should ensure that your CV does not contain vital information that is not essential during an initial application. For example, I would recommend you don’t give your ID number on your CV, date of birth, or just your age should be more than enough.
If you are asked for more information, especially details like your ID number, bank account details or credit card information just stop! Do not continue with the application, rather carry on searching for something else.
7) Unverifiable E-Mail address.
If you are made to believe that you are dealing with the HR manager or GM of a company please check their E-Mail address. If it is not coming from the companies domain name be wary. Never trust E-Mails from accounts with a Gmail or similar address. Obviously this is a very broad statement, and there are legitimate job offers from individuals who use Gmail accounts. However, these would be smaller companies, not companies like Pick n Pay. As I mentioned in my previous article on Job Scams, I have seen job adverts asking people to reply to firstname.lastname@example.org. Does that seem legit to you? I hope not.
8) You did not even apply.
This is obviously a warning sign of a job scam. If you did not apply to a job why on earth would you be receiving an offer? I wish it worked like that, what a wonderful country this would be. But the fact is that it does not. If you did not send your CV to apply for a position, but you have received communication from a company offering you a job or an interview just be cautious. There are circumstances where you may have sent your CV to a recruitment agency who has applied on your behalf, so it is possible. But please make sure you find out exactly how the company received your details before you proceed.
Generally speaking, these warning signs of a job scam are pretty self-explaining. I would even imagine that they could be considered common knowledge. You might be reading this thinking something along the lines of “who would ever fall for these scams?” Well, unfortunately when we are desperate we become more vulnerable and willing to believe stranger things than we normally would. If you are currently dealing with a job scam, or you have been scammed before please tell me about it in the comments below. I reply to every single comment I receive.