Job hunting has never been easier, with numerous online job portals and classifieds sites advertising a wide range of positions that a job seeker can apply to with the click of a button.
Unfortunately the increased accessibility has also opened the door for fraudulent ads and scammers hoping to exploit candidates. Fortunately, there are numerous safeguards you can follow to stay safe online, says Angelique Robbertse, Product and Marketing Manager of South African job site Job Mail. “Online job hunting is quite safe, but it’s important to educate yourself about the possible scams that exist.”
1. If you get a job offer without having applied for a job or conducted an interview
“You are not going to get a job offer via an out-of-the-blue email,” says Robbertse. “Companies will want to conduct an interview with you – telephonically, via Skype or in person before making any decisions. If you receive an email from a company saying that they’ve seen your CV online, and want to offer you a position without ever having spoken to you, alarm bells should go off. Steer clear of companies that conduct email-only communication (particularly with disposable email addresses) or who use broken English and spelling mistakes.”
2. The company inviting you for an interview has no physical address
“It’s true that many businessmen and women work from home – but you should always be cautious when entering a strangers’ home. Google their address to see if the business premises exist. If the company actually has a large head office in your area, it wouldn’t make sense for them to interview you at a private home. But if they are using a private residence as an office, be sure to take a friend with you and to let others know where you are going. And never agree to conduct an interview in a hotel room. Always research the interviewer to make sure they are affiliated with the organisation they say they are interviewing for.”
3. You are offered the job but not given a contract or letter of employment
“Never resign your job until you have a formal offer in writing,” says Robbertse. “It should state that you have been offered the position by the company, how much you will earn, what you are hired to do and other important details. Without that offer, you won’t have a leg to stand on if the company should decide to renege on the opportunity.”
4. If you are asked to hand over money
“Reputable employers won’t ask you to pay for uniforms, training, materials or agency fees,” says Robbertse. “No matter how legitimate the offer seems – e.g. paying for a starter kit to start working from home – that is exactly how fraudulent posters earn their money. Never hand over money to an employer.”
5. If it sounds too good to be true…
“If a position sounds too good to be true, it may very well be a red flag,” says Robbertse. “If a company offers extremely high pay for a position, or for a candidate with little or no experience, it is likely to be a scam. Be careful of replying to ads with vague statements of what the job entails. You need to walk into a position knowing what’s expected of you.”
Lastly, Robbertse advises candidates to trust their instincts. “Never do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. If you have suspicious about the company or the person interviewing you, walk away.”
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