Seeking a new job is exciting, but whether you meet a recruiter online or off, how can you avoid the scammers? There will always be risks, so we asked our experts and put together the best “Worry Free Way” to avoid scammers and shady recruiters.
First a disclaimer — there is no way to entirely eliminate risk, nor is it possible to avoid the need to put trust in a new potential employer. Of course it’s important to be a careful investigator but there will also be times when you will need to break out of your shell and jump on good opportunities, as there is lots of good, wonderful work to be found online.
That said, there are a few tried-and-true methods of avoiding falling into online scam recruiter traps:
1. Research the company and make sure that it’s legitimate. You can visit sites like Better Business Bureau, Yelp or snopes.com to find out if the company has a bad listing or to check out the reviews.
2. Google the company name alongside words like “scam” and “review” to see what other people who have run into them are saying, good and bad. If it’s a real career opportunity, chances are there will be a few bad reviews but overall the company will be in good standing with most of its customers and employees
3. Vague job requirements & details in listing – often a vague description is a sign that this is a backdoor company trying to get you into an MLM scheme designed to look like a “real” job opportunity. It’s important to note that almost all MLM/Pyramid schemes are going to leave you worse off than they found you, due to demand drying up at a certain point in the company’s growth, leaving the last and largest group of people to join at the bottom to pay (literally).
4. Unprofessional emails and bad grammar, poor spelling, or shady misprints that look like other, widely recognized companies are all a sign that this company is probably trying to hide poor quality or worse, by piggybacking on a more popular brand’s distinctive look to hide that they are not as legitimate as they look, for some reason or another.
5. “Send money to make money” schemes – this one seems pretty obvious, but if someone is asking you for money up front, for your credit card numbers or your personal details, with a promise that you will get hired or get more money than you sent “in exchange,” be very aware that this is probably a scam. This is not how real businesses recruit employees.
6. Unclear payment details – If the details are unclear, for example your pay, what tasks are required by you, then make sure to look into it until it is either clear, or clear that they are probably not a company you can trust.
7. “Too good to be true” offers – While it’s elating to get a “too good to be true” offer in the business world, if the job is online or you do not know the company in-person, take stock of your relationship with the employer, how well you know them and what you know of their company, as well as the job itself and what value you are really able to provide. If the job says no training required, yet it’s offering you a high “$75k a year salary” or some large amount in very little time, it is likely untrustworthy.
8. Gut feelings – If everything seems fine but you still have a gut feeling, pay attention to that. Sometimes testing out the company’s reliability in any way you can help you see how they will respond. A small test can take a minute but prevent years of grief. Don’t give them any money, instead try asking specific questions about their company’s history, or try offering something that you don’t mind losing. If things do turn out to be sour, you won’t lose your shirt.
9. Report any bad experiences you have, so that others don’t have to go through the same – If you do run into something unpleasant, be sure to leave a review and report the scam in the comments below, as well as the Better Business Bureau, snopes.com, Yelp, Google reviews or any websites relevant to your industry to prevent other potential recruits getting scammed. You can help others ward other unsuspecting folks!
10. Family and Friends – If you are really not sure, then ask a trusted family member or friend. Your friends care about you and can often see things you can’t, so leverage the intelligence and wisdom in your social network. You don’t need to make the decision alone, and if a recruiter asks you to not tell any friends or family about the job, then you’re either working for the CIA or this is a red flag. 10. What about their customers? – If you can talk to a company’s customers, th talk to do run into something unpleasant, be sure to leave a review and report the scam in the comments below, as well as the Better Business Bureau, snopes.com, Yelp, Google reviews or any websites relevant to your industry to prevent other potential recruits getting scammed. You can help others ward other unsuspecting folks!
Following these 10 steps will help you stay on the worry free path to your next job!
Do you have any other tips? Have you been scammed before? Share it in the comments below!