Fake Job Postings – What You Need to Know to Avoid Them
As you go through your job search and apply for positions that fit your professional experience and interest, you will be sure to come across fake job postings. Here are some tips on what to look out for to avoid fake job postings, opportunities, and ads.
First, what does it take for a company or a person to create a job ad? Not much at all. Anyone can create a job description, fill it with a bunch of buzzwords and copy / paste pieces of some other company’s description to try to make it more authentic. It is that easy, and the web is full of these postings.
Buzzwords and Phrases to Run From
Have you ever seen those postings that claim, “You could earn big money here!” “Your potential earnings are huge.” Companies that promise gigantic financial incomes are more than often a scam. Avoid these. Companies that talk about their salary in the job description typically present a range or a pre-determined per hour or year amount. They will not promise that you’ll make tons of money. Whenever you see these promises, run! It is not worth your time.
If you are still unsure whether the company and position are legit, Google the company. Find out information about the company, visit its pages, learn about its mission / vision. Look for friends, or even friends of friends that work at the company. Try to gather as much info about the company as possible. If you are interested in the position and want to make sure you are avoiding fake job postings, it is worth putting in the leg work and doing the investigating.
Commission Only Jobs
“Commission only” jobs can be great gigs for some people. The keyword here is “some” people. The likelihood that you will make out big or even make any money at all is questionable. Many companies with this model will promise you X amount of commission per week/per month, but is it possible or probable? I had an unfortunate experience when I graduated college and needed a side gig to make some money. I fell for one of these ads and went to sell vacuums because I needed the cash. The product was high quality, and the company was legit, but three months later, I hadn’t made a dime, only spent more of my precious and dwindling cash reserves.
The best suggestion I can give here is to try to obtain earning history from other collaborators at the company. Ask to see how many units/products they have sold during a period. Get the facts so you can make an educated decision whether you should join this commission-only job or avoid it altogether. Although some of these jobs are not considered fake job postings, you should avoid them if you can’t get the specifics and probability of making money with them.
Punctuation, Grammar, and Writing Style
One thing you should do to avoid fake job postings is to examine the way the job description is written. Does it contain a series of grammar mistakes? Does it lack proper punctuation? Is it just strange or look like someone from the 1800s wrote it? Is the style off? Watch out for these things. It is just like those spam emails saying that you are the heir to a huge fortune and they need you to send your information to claim it. Remember the way these spam emails were written. These are things to look out for. The chances are the position and company are not legit. But once again, you can’t be 100% sure. Try searching for the company on Payscale or Glassdoor, on Linkedin and other sites to learn more about the company. If you still can’t find anything, it is probably best to avoid it. There are tons of other legit jobs out there.
You Do Not Have to Pay To Join a Company
If a company wants you to pay a fee or send them money to join, or to buy uniforms, something is wrong, and this screams fraudulent. Legitimate companies won’t ask you to buy your own uniforms or to pay to join the company.
Giving Out Your Personal Info
I have seen this several times when looking through job descriptions or after I received an email from the recruiter. Sometimes it says something like, along with your resume and cover letter, please provide, full address, bank account information, passport number or green-card number, and social security. If you see this, run! This is a fake posting.
Who Contacted Whom?
As you go through your job search, most companies will reach out to you when YOU have submitted a resume and not the other way around. This doesn’t mean a company can’t reach out to you and be legit. It can happen; but in most cases, companies will contact you AFTER you have sent in your CV.
Beware with this one. If you receive a job description from a company that wants you to apply, see who the email is from. Is the email really from the company, or from a free email account with a strange email name like Philip@yahoo.com instead of the company’s name? If it is from a company and you are interested, look them up. Find out more about the company before you apply.
Are you receiving job offers that you didn’t apply for? Tread with caution here. In some cases, you may have submitted your resume to a headhunter or other similar service. These are normally legit, and they will send you available positions. Check where the email came from and whether you submitted your cv to this site for their services. If not, this is more than likely a fake job offer.
A Job Offer with NO Interview
You will never be hired for a real job without an interview. Any company or person offering a position without going through an interview process is a scam. I am sure it is great for the ego when you think, “Wow, my resume must have been such a damn good fit and I am a great,” but it is not reality. A real job offer will at least have a phone call, Skype call and / or a series of face-to-face interviews.
Live Interview With Interviewers Who Do Not Want to or Can’t Answer Questions
When you interview with a recruiter, it is common for you to ask questions about the position, the company, and other specifics. If the recruiter only gives you vague answers or monosyllabic answers, or answers that just don’t do justice to the question, you should beware. Think back to the job description. Was it well-written, descriptive, and looked legitimate, or was it very high-level and did not really tell much at all? If you start to ask questions about the position and the interviewer doesn’t know or can’t answer these questions, this is either a disorganized company or illegitimate. Trust your gut here.
Fake Websites or URL Lookalikes
Let’s say you get an email from a well-known company. The email URL looks good, it has the logo, and everything sounds legitimate. It presents a job description and then asks you to fill out a job application. You fill it out and submit it. Later, you follow up with the company and they have never heard of you. What happened? This is called phishing, and these types of scams are on the rise. If you can go back and look at the email from that “well-known company”, you will probably find that it is the company’s name inside a generic URL – in other words, a scam.
As scammers become more and more sophisticated, it can be hard to avoid fake job postings. One suggestion here is, if you receive a job description email or are requested to apply for let’s say Apple, go directly to their website’s career page. Search for that position on their page. Additionally, who sent you the email? Is this person on Linkedin? Look him/her up. If you don’t know much about the company, look it up. Go to their website, Linkedin page, Glassdoor description, and news articles about them.
Where To Search For Legitimate Opportunities
Let’s start with the easy one. You can pay for a specific online service like Flexjobs. Flexjobs handpicks legitimate companies that offer real telecommute or flexible positions. The companies on the platform have good descriptions of what they do along with well-written job descriptions. Flexjobs also presents direct links to the company’s page, so you can learn more. There is a small cost to using the site, roughly $50 per year, but coupons can be found.
For the free route, make a list of companies that you want to work at. Add direct links to their career pages and post them to a spreadsheet. See how to do it here. When you create this list of favorite companies to work at and go to their career pages to look for positions, you are cutting out the possibility of getting scammed or falling prey to a phishing expedition.
Do your homework. Research the company. Read about its mission and vision. Read about them in the news. Learn what you can about them, even check them out on the Better Business Bureau site. If they pass your filter, add them to your Companies of Interest List. Then search and apply on their job pages. If you see an add for a company on let’s say Indeed for a Marketing Analyst position at Apple, go to the Apple site, check out the description, and apply there.
Scammers are on the rise and so are fake job postings. Shield yourself from these unethical, fake positions and focus your time on real jobs. Check out companies you trust and do your homework on new ones. Follow up with colleagues and friends who work at or know people at the company you are interested in. Ask questions about the company. Learn as much as you can.
Have you encountered any fake job opportunity or participated in an interview process that was not legit? Share it with the community in the comments section below. If you have any other tips to add to help others steer clear of fake job postings, please add them in the comments section below!