Eager and motivated job searchers should be aware of scam jobs trying to take advantage of your situation. While some scams may be easy to spot (Like a call about your great uncle, who’s the prince of a country, wanting to bestow upon you the family fortune), some may be more complicated. Here are some major red flags to look for if your gut tells you a potential job may not be as it seems.
First, did they contact you without even applying to a job? While this is not uncommon in the C-Suite Level Executive Recruiting world, it could be a bad sign for an entry-mid level position. This can happen when a Scammer uses your contact information from your uploaded resume on websites like Indeed (you do know those are set to public unless you specify otherwise, right?)
Next, was the job description or pay just a little too good to be true? Consider this: without formally applying to a position, a “hiring manager” has cold called you to offer you pay that you did not think you could attain so early in your career… does that sound right to you? Take a look at the company’s website. Does it look well put together? Do they have logos or referrals of other companies/clients they have worked with? At this point, you should be doing some fact-finding on places like Glassdoor and Payscale.com to confirm one – if the company is real and two – if the pay is right.
The Lack of Presence
If a company is not on Glassdoor because they’re a small company you should be able to find a legitimate social media presence. How many “likes” do they have on Facebook? If they are on LinkedIn how many people are following the company? How long does it say they’ve been in business? How many employees work for the company?
But, what if the company IS real but the company HAS ALSO been scammed. This happens as well. A scammer can use the logos and links from a company website and create their own application for you to review. How can you spot this? Are the logos on the documents you’ve received very low quality, stretched weird, or dropped into a .doc? This may be a sign they have copied content from an authentic company to make a fake application. Also, is the application asking you some personal, deeply personal contact details? For example, do they need your social security number or bank account information to proceed? These are major red flags that you should report immediately.
Let’s look at the communication between the hiring manager and you. Is it exclusively over email, text, or chat? Do they want you to download software to communicate with them? Do they have an email address that is at a Gmail or Yahoo and not a company domain email? If you are unable to have an introductory phone call or video interview, this is not normal for a job hiring process.
Do some research on the name of the hiring manager. Do they have a LinkedIn profile? And not just an account but a legitimate one with photos and connections that are real? Can you google their name and see their position/company anywhere else on the internet? If not, this person is likely not who they say they are.
We also highly recommend doing informational interviews when you can. Are there people besides the hiring manager that you can reach out to via LinkedIn or another platform and ask them a few questions about their job?
The Hiring Process
Finally, let’s talk about the actual hiring process. If there is ever mention of sharing a check with you to cash or a wire transfer of money before you even start, this is most definitely a money laundering scheme. You need to report these to the Federal Trade Commission here.
Being eager for that first opportunity in a new industry could make you vulnerable. Do your research and trust your gut when applying for a job and being contacted for positions.