From the ad, the job reads like a dream. It’s in your area of expertise (yay!), paying a salary slightly more than the current rate (yippee!) and you can work from home (woo hoo!) fulltime. But as you reread the job ad, something just doesn’t seem “right” to you. Maybe it’s the typos or the AOL business reply address. For every real job posted online, there are dozens that are fake, meant to entice you to hand over your hard-earned cash. Here’s how to read between the lines and discover if the job you’re about to apply for is real — or not.
There’s no experience necessary. Even if you’re a fresh-faced college grad, you’re going to need some type of work experience (i.e. from previous jobs or even internships) in order to get hired. Be wary of ads that make it seem like anyone can do the job, because frankly, not everyone should be able to do any job.
The salary is too high. You’ve been out of work for quite some time, so when you read the job ad (and its salary), all you can think is, “Cha-ching!” But before you start dreaming of all that you’ll do with the money, do a little digging to see what the position you’re looking to apply for generally pays. Job scammers will post a much too high salary — sometimes thousands of dollars higher — to lure in desperate job seekers.
You need to wire money. A company wants to offer you a position but they’ll need you to process transactions for them. It doesn’t make sense, though, since you’re looking to work as a botanist, not a banker. In order to score a job, there should be no reason for you to wire money, process payments or even transfer funds.
You’re offered the job on the spot. You know that you’re a qualified candidate, but how does the hiring manager know? Hiring a candidate on the spot — and sight unseen — is a big sign that there isn’t a real job. Overzealous employers are generally a tip off that a job isn’t genuine. Actual employers take their time to research and get to know potential job candidates — going through many rounds of job interviews — before offering a position.
You’re receiving email from a non-business address. Legit hiring managers will have their company’s name as the ending of their email address (think: email@example.com) When a potential boss reaches out with an AOL, Gmail, Hotmail or any other non-company email address, though, red flags should be waving madly at you. Hiring managers and recruiters will send their correspondence from their business email address, not their personal one.
You’re asked to do an IM interview. Sure, we live in a tech-driven world, but today’s job interviews are still mainly conducted in person, via Skype (if the job is a telecommuting one) or via phone. When a recruiter contacts you and wants to do the interview via IM — or worse, via text — the job may prove to be a scam.
You’re asked for personal info. You’ve finally been offered the job position, but are then asked to supply personal information about yourself — such as your bank account and routing number. While a boss may give you several bogus reasons why they “need” the info — to run a credit check, to deposit initial funds into your account — there is never a real reason for a potential employer to ask for personal financial info about you.
The ad is written poorly. You noticed a couple of typos in the job ad. But then you also saw some mixed tenses and a description of the job that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. When an ad reads like it’s been translated, (or it’s unclear what the job actually entails) you can bet that it’s a job scam.
They contact you at odd hours. The business world operates 24/7. But hiring managers don’t. So if you’re consistently getting emails at 2:00 a.m. from a potential boss, take heed. For the most part, work emails will be sent — and answered — during normal business hours.
You have to pay for the job. Savvy job scammers are no longer demanding cash up front in order for a job seeker to get a job. They will ask for it in a seemingly innocuous way, such as asking potential employees to pay for their proprietary software or to pay monthly for insurance on a laptop they will loan you for work. You should never, ever have to shell out money in order to be hired to work.
When you’re job hunting, it can be easy to fall prey to a job scam. Stay one step ahead of the job scammers and you’ll find a legitimate job in no time.