Job Hunt Rules: How To Stay Safe On The Employment Prowl

Looking for work on the internet has a number of advantages in regards to time, energy and number of opportunities. But the web is also rife with dishonest practises, from fake job postings to scams. Here are a few of the major pitfalls, how to identify them and – crucially – what you can do to avoid them.

Pay attention to the money

Sometimes, the salary on a listed job offer is much higher than expected. Employers won’t pay a huge amount for someone whose skill set they haven’t evaluated. Whether you’re watching out for a scam or trying to get the right wage for the job, it’s worth Googling the average salary for your job and position.

As with all legitimate work, the flow of money should go from the employer to the employee. There’s never a good reason why the organisation should expect you to pay for anything. The financial burden of testing your aptitude falls on the employer, who has expenses set aside for the hiring process. If an organisation will not foot the bill for this, it’s a sign that they are, at best, not doing well financially. Avoid.

Recruitment services should also not look for money from job seekers. They should earn their money by making you successful. If you have to pay them, there’s no guarantee they’re any good at all. Recruiters are paid by employers, because again, employers have the money.

Too much information (or not enough)

When an employer or recruiter asks for too much personal information at once, there’s a chance they’re using that to their advantage, not yours. Bad recruiting agents may use this information to find out who’s hiring, and send that information to other candidates, increasing your competition.

It’s always worth being suspicious of any jobs sent to you that you haven’t directly applied for. Google the employer. If all you find are job posts, that’s bad news, because companies don’t only hire people – they sell or buy, advertise, etc. They will also have clearly laid out contact details. Compare these against the information you have been sent.

If a job requires no previous experience, you should be able to identify the reason. Is it a training on the job post? Entry level? If you don’t need experience, the job shouldn’t pay well

Recruiter Box advises against overconfident recruiters: “Being overconfident to the point that they guarantee you the job is a sure sign that much of their business approach is hot air.” Jobs cannot be “guaranteed” by the recruiter, because they don’t control the employer. An overconfident recruiter may give a prospective employer a negative first opinion of you.

Are you talking to me?

Advice sites advise away from organisations that tend to operate at unusual hours, though it should be noted that a small organisation may have no choice. They should, however, still want to talk to you. An employer or recruiter who is always away or busy is suspicious.

Every serious company will want to interview the candidate, face-to-face if possible, but at least via phone. Recruitment agencies, too, should want to interview clients, in order to get the best sense of who you are and how to help you. These agencies are all about building relationships, so if the organisation seems to be all about instant results, it is probably a bad one.

If you hear back instantly after applying for a job, they haven’t read the application. Employers take time to consider whether a candidate is right for the job. Another sign that no one has read your CV is the invitation: “Please apply if you feel your skill set matches the specification”. If they had considered your CV carefully enough, they would know if it matched already.

Official organisations and companies have their own email domain. They don’t use servers like Yahoo or Hotmail. As a rule, if you do not see the organisation’s name in the email address, the email isn’t coming from the organisation.

Although it is possible for a scam email of any kind to steal logos from an official organisation and use them to make their emails look authentic, such emails tend to look odd in a number of noticeable ways. For example, grid lines may not properly match up, or the text stylisation may be inconsistent between sections.

Don’t take unsolicited job offers at face value, and be sure to research a company before you send too much personal information – even if it doesn’t strike you as sensitive.

Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit their website.