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Career Advice

How to Avoid Job Scams

jobscams1Whilst there are a few signs that the economy is starting to recover, the job market remains a pretty challenging place. There are still high numbers of people applying for every job and unfortunately there are still high numbers of opportunists and scammers seeking to take advantage of jobseekers whenever they can. It’s essential then that when you are searching and applying for jobs, that you have your wits about you. These basic tips on how to avoid job scams should hopefully help.

Research the Company

The company name not familiar to you? Then do a little digging around. Always search for the business or company on Google or in business directories. Check if they have a real business address listed, an active telephone number and if they are listed on Companies House. This can all be done in a matter of minutes. Use Google Maps to assess if their supposed business address is a legitimate location. Most businesses these days can be found online – either through their own sites or listed in business directories. If you can find out nothing about the company advertising a job, then it’s a case of proceed at your own risk!

Search online forums

In many cases, if people have fallen victim of job scammers, they will post about it online. It might be on their own social media sites or it might be in online forums. Even if you are not a member of a particular forum, you can often still search the posts therein. Simply do a quick Google search as follows: Company Name + Job + Forum – add the word scam if you wish. The results that appear will usually confirm your fears and suspicions or will give you peace of mind about the employer in question.  It’s at times like this that the internet comes into its own – by sharing knowledge we all are in effect helping each other.

Never pay to apply

Alarm bells should always ring if an employer or recruiter asks for some money in order to process your job application. A legitimate company would never ask a potential candidate to pay for applying for a role. Sometimes their request may seem reasonable and they could appear to have a perfectly feasible explanation, however your suspicions should be raised. After all, professional companies would never ask prospective employees to pay a fee for the sheer privilege of applying for a job, nor would they ask for personal information like bank details from the off.

Don’t believe the hype

Being promised an amazing basic salary, phenomenal bonus and a host of other perks? Chances are it’s an exaggerated promise. If something appears too good to be true, then it probably is! Generally most jobs in a particular sector in a particular location will pay a similar wage, therefore if a job is advertised as offering an extraordinarily high salary, you should question things. One of the most common things is for scammers to advertise massive earning potential – the high OTE ( on target earnings). Again, you should remember that it is very difficult to prove if this is real or not. They may claim that many of their staff earn these figures but if it seems a bit incredible to you,  then it probably is.

Stay cool calm and collected

Recruitment generally takes a little time. Most employers have a standard way of doing things – job gets advertised, shortlisting takes place, interviews happen and offers are made. If this all happens within an extremely short space of time, then you should be a little concerned. If the fast pace leads to you feeling pressurised into accepting a role, you should rightly feel a little alarmed. A professional and legitimate employer would never make a potential employee feel uncomfortable like this – the hard sell would never be used at this point. Our advice? Proceed with caution and respond at your own pace.

We hope that by highlighting how to handle job scams, we have helped you avoid some of those nasty opportunists. Got any other tips you’d like to share? Why not let us know via the comments section below.


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