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What to Watch Out for While on the Job Hunt

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Consult with an attorney or lawyer for any legal issues you may be experiencing.

The job market has never been more abundant and competitive in this post-pandemic world. And these types of environments can breed scammers, terrible employers and positions, and sentiments of wasted time. Here are the top things to look out while on the job hunt and how you can protect yourself so that you can move into the job of your dreams.

Companies that list a job as onsite or hybrid but you haven’t heard of the company

What you can do is google search the company plus your city to see if an office pops up.

If so, you can cross verify if the office really exists by using an online map and/or do a real life drive by to verify

Look up the company’s website to see if they have a website and discern if it’s a legitimate site *see Ways to Protect Yourself section for more.

Review job listings to see how many jobs are listed as open at the same time, as well as cross referencing job sites like Glassdoor or Indeed to see job reviews, rating and interview process reviews

This will provide data on the work culture, the interview process and what to expect, as well as the turnover rate within the company.

Consider removing your address and any identifiable dates (ie: graduation years) from your resume

This will protect you from phishing scams as well as potential discrimination

Should your phone number or email be compromised, its easier to block those than having your home address exposed to the internet.

This will also protect you from employers who have HR departments that don’t know or follow privacy laws. In Canada, an employer must collect, use and disclose personal information with employee consent.

If you applied to a specific job but get contacted by recruiter that the role has been filled (or cancelled) but you’re qualified for another position that’s become available

This can happen in organizations where there’s high turnover rate as a means of concealing that by not posting the right away.

However, getting a job can absolutely come from these types of means. Should you be interested in the role offered, be sure to ask for the job description emailed to you for review before making a decision to proceed with interviews. Any reputable organization will already have one drafted up (in order to post it) and wouldn’t hesitate to send it to you.

If a recruiter is pressuring you to make a decision in that moment and/or without providing a written job description and/or time to review and consider, consider this to be a massive red flag

Double check the job poster’s identity

If you’re applying for jobs online, double check who’s posting the job ad.

Is it an actual person with a legitimate photo and name? Are you able to verify the poster is employed with the prospective organization (or is a third-party recruiter through an agency) by cross referencing with those websites?

Any reputable job will not force you to pay for anything or provide sensitive information

Although you can expect to fill out the standard taxation forms, payroll forms, and possibility an employment contract, any reputable (or legal!) organization will never ask for you to pay for work-related things prior to starting (think paying to have your equipment shipped to your house) or to wire money to you to pay for shipping those items (and often times, wiring you more money than stated or the cost).

Ways to protect yourself

Do your research

Do they have a legitimate website? Double check the legitimacy of the organization’s website. In this day and age, it’s fairly easy and affordable to have a website and domain name.

Does the website speak to the specific industry and explanation for the organization, or is the website only making vague statements? Do they have offices in the city you live in? Can you clearly identify from their website and job poster information what the company is and what they provide/do?

Trust your instincts

If something feels off or doesn’t add up, listen to that. It’s better to listen to it now rather than sticking around and finding out the hard way.

Protect your personal information

Consider removing your address from your resume. You may also want to consider using an alternative email (aka: burner email) - just be sure to check it regularly in case you hear back from a legitimate job you’re interested in.

Look for complaints and job reviews

If you’ve checked out the prospective organization’s website and you’re still unsure of the organization’s legitimacy, you may want check out the Better Business Bureau’s site (or a similar company complaint resolution site) to see their rating (reputable organizations will have an A or B rating) as well as if they are BBB accredited and any complaints, if reported.

Job boards such as Glassdoor or Indeed will typically have an organization listed along with an average star rating (based on reviews and votes), job reviews, interview reviews as well as summarize the top positive and top negative themes found in the reviews.

Consider applying to a job directly from the hiring organization’s site

It’s perfectly acceptable to search and apply for jobs through third-party sites such as Linkedin and Indeed, but as much as these reputable job sites spend tens of thousands of dollars and hours on vetting the job postings and posters, there’s only such much they can do to remove fraudulent postings in a timely manner.

So, when you click that ol’ Apply button and your web browser takes you to another third-party job site, or just to another sketchy site, consider going to the careers section of the hiring organization’s website. Most medium to large size organizations will have these pages, either under the drop down menu, on their About section or as a link in the footer. This way will ensure that your resume will make it to the appropriate hands and your personal info safe.

Pause, Rethink and Research more if a prospective employer makes an offer without an interview or speaking with you

This can be indicative of a scam if it moves quickly and outside of the standard interview process reputable organizations follow.

Other red flags include when the organization and/or hiring manager ask you for personal details such as banking information upfront without a legitimate employment offer signed or references contacted, the job advertised is a basic entry level job where the salary range is vague, large or well-above industry standards for the role, or the interview/organization wants to move the conversation to chap apps such as Whatsapp.

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