Well How To Spot Job Scams wasn’t an article I thought I’d ever write. In fact, I was determined to continue part 3 on “LinkedIN Tips For Job Searchers.” But as fortune (or misfortune) would have it, I fell for a worst case scenario during my job search. Someone almost scammed me during my job search! How did they do that, you might ask?
Let’s start from the beginning.
I was furiously applying to jobs here on LinkedIN, Glassdoor, Indeed and other sites. Every day, I was modifying my resume and cover letter for upwards of 5-10 jobs a day. Week after week, I failed to gain traction with anyone. Hiring managers were only replying to inform me that I wasn’t selected for the next round…if they replied at all. So after a month of sending applications and receiving rejection emails, I felt a bit insecure. Lingering doubt hovered over me. Did I have a good resume? Did I have the skills to branch out and further my career into digital marketing?
Was rejection my fault as a person?
After a month sailed by, I received an email with some great news. Someone contacted me asking if I was willing to interview for an open position. So of course I said yes! Someone FINALLY contacted me about an interview! A real company that needed a digital marketer wanted to talk to me. I couldn’t believe my hard work finally paid off!
During my initial period of absolute sheer joy, I missed a few warning signs.
You know what they say…
When you wear rose coloured glasses, you’ll miss the red flags.
So, what signs should you watch out for during your job search?
1. How To Spot Job Scams: Communication Primarily Through Text Messages
Every single job interview I’ve had (that lead to a real job) has always been person-to-person. Whether it’s you walking into a building, freshly dressed and resume in hand, or a zoom meeting, there’s someone you can physically talk to. This guy kept me at arms length by sending me emails and text over Skype. He never offered to speak to me directly. We had this lengthy question and answer session about my work experience, the company I was applying to and what the job entailed.
In hindsight, this should’ve set off some alarm bells but after a gruelling job search where I faced rejection after rejection I was just so grateful to be interviewed.
Just how grateful did I feel?
The sky opened up, a choir of angels sang a hymn and pillar of light blessed me with its divine radiance. I was euphoric. I would have started doing backflips to accommodate this person. A month and a half of being rejected, companies finding out I live abroad and wanting remote work in the United States, companies not even responding after interviews…I felt like a low key failure. The initial conversation was innocent enough. He emailed me about receiving my resume and he wanted to know more about me. He then asked if I could interview that week. So of course I said yes.
When I saw that email, it was my ticket to a full time gig!
Which leads me to my next point.
2. How To Spot Job Scams: Too-Good-To-Be-True-Benefits!
The benefits were in hindsight way too good to be true. The interviewer emailed me the contract after we had our first interview. As I read through the document, this multi page contract listed all the bells and whistles I’d receive as an employee. Here’s what the contract promised:
- Paid Training
- My own MacBook Pro
- Paid time off
- $30 an hour
- Annual raise based on performance
I was ready to leave my student-teaching gig. Middle class lifestyle, here I come! The day after I saw the contract, I did some mental calculations in my head. Budgets (not that I lead an expensive lifestyle) didn’t really have to be a hard line in the sand anymore. In the past, I’d measure the cost of things by the hours I had to work. So a $30 dollar weekly budget meant with previous jobs I’d have to work 2-3 hours. With this snazzy new job, an hour worth of work would cover my weekly grocery budget and then some. Grocery budget at HEB? Psshhhh. Organic and premium foods were calling my name! No more buying that $1.50 tub of store brand “buttery spread” anymore. I’d buy that lovely imported Irish butter made by cows eating grass where each blade is gently kissed by the salty sea-breeze. Budgets? That’s a weird way to spell success. I was mentally making plans to move out of my old apartment. Would I dare dream bigger than a studio apartment where the kitchen, bedroom and dining table are all in the same small room? Moi?
Versailles would have nothing on my next apartment.
Behold, my kingdom was at hand!
But did life have other plans.
So what was the final straw?
3. How To Spot Job Scams: Pushy About Receiving Identification
Something inside me just wanted to know more about this person. Plus, this person was being particularly pushy about receiving my identification for a “background check.” Good hiring managers are NOT pushy. I could submit my own background check. He kept pushing and it felt rather unprofessional. This attitude about my id didn’t seem right with me. I decided to stall. So as I was literally typing to this person, I contacted managers of the company to verify the work contract. I sent inmail messages on LinkedIN and emails to some of the hiring managers. Only a few hours passed before I received a reply messages.
I wanted proof that he worked for this company.
So I asked him for any ID to prove that he worked for this company and that politeness he had during our interview dropped. He became a bit snarky about why I wanted evidence. He offered to leave me a voice message but what would that accomplish? That he was a real person? Big deal. A voice message isn’t the same as actual ID from the company that I could cross check with other managers at his company. Then one of the other managers replied to one my messages. Then another. They all said the same thing.
Every person replied that this guy didn’t work for their company.
In fact, one mentioned that fraudulent job offerings from this guy FOR THIS company was a reoccurring problem.
All my hopes and dreams slowly shattered.
He was fake! How could I be so stupid?
The devastation. The emotional damage. The confusion.
Who is this guy?
I stopped texting him immediately and blocked him. As I sat at my computer, a slow wave of embarrassment washed over me. I’ve always considered myself a risk-averse person but there I was…duped….hoodwinked..bamboozled! There was simply nothing to show for my efforts. There was only disappointment and a sprinkle of shame. I never thought in a million years that I would be subject to a job scam.
However, I did walk out with a good story and experience to share.
So let’s recap the top 3 signs to spot a job scam:
- Communication primarily through text messages
- Too-good-to-be-true benefits
- Pushy about receiving personal identification
Some Final Thoughts
If you think you’re being scammed then you should research and contact other people in the company. Medium and large companies have HR managers, office assistants and employees who can verify whether or not the offer or the person contacting you is real.