Job Search Safety Tips

Unfortunately, not all job postings are legitimate. Unscrupulous people may pose as hiring companies, using online job banks and classified ads to take advantage of naive job seekers. For this reason, it is important to exercise caution and common sense when conducting your job search. Follow these tips to protect your identity, finances and wellbeing.

1. Avoid job postings that sound too good to be true

Beware of job announcements requiring no experience or skills, but offering large salaries. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

2. Avoid unprofessional listings

Absence of a professional job title, lack of specific job tasks, frequent misspellings and grammatical errors may be signs of a fraudulent posting. Web addresses prompting you to enter your email address to be redirected to the company website and contact email addresses using free web mail services, such as Gmail or Yahoo may also be indicators of a less than reputable organization.

3. Beware of job postings that ask you to pay a fee

Legitimate recruiters are paid by employers, not by job seekers. While you may be required to pay union dues or licensing fees once you acquire a job, there should be no fees associated with applying for a position. Also beware of postings that indicate fees for training or training materials. In such cases, there rarely exists a job opportunity, rather the organization is utilizing a job posting system to advertise vocational training. With the exception of certain training required to obtain a professional license, which is generally paid to the licensee, a legitimate employer should not be charging for training.

4. Protect your identity

Never disclose your birth date, social security number or mother’s maiden name until you’ve received a job offer. These details may be required by a potential employer in order to conduct a background check, but they will not do so until they’re ready to hire, whereas, scammers will request this information immediately in an attempt to steal your identity.

5. Beware of money wiring scams

Scammers often disguise themselves as real businesses, utilizing a legitimate name in their posting or sending you an unsolicited email inviting you to apply for online work. At some point, the “employer” will ask you to deposit a check into your account and then wire them the money back. They may even ask for your bank account number or money up front. Do not provide bank or PayPal account numbers or credit card information. If you receive a check, do not cash it. A legitimate company will never have a reason for you to cash a check and then send them money.

6. Always do your research

Conduct a Google search, verify the company exists, look for blog entries reporting misconduct or associated scams. Look for a valid direct phone number associated with the organization, not just a cell number. Verify the phone number using a reverse look-up or using Look for a physical location, not just a P.O. Box. Addresses can be verified using Google Maps. As mentioned above, question email addresses that are linked to a free web mail provider rather than a corporate account.

7. Beware of unsolicited contact from an employer

Be careful when posting your resume to an online job board which may inadvertently disclose your personal information. Take note of the site’s privacy policy, how long your resume will be posted and who will have access to it. Fraudulent employers often utilize resume posting systems to identify their victims.

8. Protect your social networking presence

Consider information posted by or about you on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr, etc. Think about what you or others may be exposing and how this information may be viewed by perspective employers. Maintain a profile that presents positive and accurate content. You may want to periodically Google yourself to review what information has been made accessible about you. Likewise, protect your friends. Do not share contact information or post disparaging photos.

9. Do not provide employers with referrals

Do not provide employers or recruiters with referrals of friends that might be interested in an opportunity. Should you believe a friend would be interested in an opportunity, forward the recruiter’s name and information to the friend, allowing them to contact the employer if they choose.

10. Meeting employers

The majority of interviews take place at the employer’s place of business or on-campus. Some employers may invite you to a lunch or a dinner interview, however, it is rare for this to be the first contact with the employer. Never agree to meet an employer at a private residence. Only agree to meet an employer in a public place that you are familiar with. If you have never been to the place suggested, investigate it first. Always make your own transportation arrangements, let someone know where you will be, and take a phone and cash with you. If the interview is not to be held at the place of employment, request an interview confirmation by email and ask that the location, time, date, and expectations of interview be included.

11. Engage in professional demeanor

Employers are expected to conduct themselves professionally, treat job seekers fairly, and observe equal employment opportunity and affirmative action principles. Recognize that flirtation, compliments about your attractiveness, suggestive remarks or jokes are not a professionally acceptable part of the interview process.

If at any time during the job search process, you feel that you have been subjected to inappropriate behavior cease all contact with the employer and immediately report the behavior to the appropriate authorities: