July 17, 2023

Cracking the Career Code: Unveiling Fake Recruiters and Job Postings


Episode Highlights

What to Look for in a Spam Email


How is a Company Communicating With You?


Onboarding Shouldn't Cost You Money


Are Confidential Searches Real?


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On this episode of “Cracking The Career Code,” Matt and Kierra discuss the warning signs that could indicate a fake recruiter or job posting. They emphasize the common saying, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.” The hosts aim to equip job seekers with the necessary tools to identify potential scams. They recommend watching the video to gain insight into the red flags to watch out for during a job search.

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to Cracking the Career Code with Matt and Kierra where we provide candidates the keys to success in their job searches. And since our last episode, Matt has something to share, just based on the topics we’ve been talking about with fake candidates. So take it away. Yeah, so you know, last week on our episode we talked about our expertise with fake and fraudulent candidates.

But even though we’re self-proclaimed experts in that, I actually almost got one pulled over on me by a fake candidate. And that got us thinking about job seekers who might not be in the know about different recruiting scams. So we wanted to talk about the other side of the equation on fake and fraudulent job searching and candidates.

So one thing that is really unfortunate but is something that is more common than you would think is there are also scammers out there posting fraudulent jobs and there are fake recruiters out there. I’ve talked to people who have said they’ve dealt with fake recruiters and are hesitant to talk to people until they really know they’re legit. So it’s really sad that it’s a thing, but it is more common than you would know. So we just have some different things we wanted to go over to share what you can look out for so you aren’t dealing with fake jobs and applying to fake jobs and dealing with fake recruiters.

So do you want to just start with fake job posts? Yeah. So, you know, there’s lots of different things that you’ll probably have to be wary of when you’re job searching to spot these recruiting scams. One being fake job posts or fake recruiters.

So, you know, one thing to look for is just doing your research on the company that a job opportunity is with that a recruiter reaches out to you about. So, you know, go to their website, see if they have a LinkedIn page. Most established companies will have one. Also look at the recruiter’s LinkedIn profile.

Yep. Do some research on the company that they work for. If it’s an agency, you know, make sure that agency is legit and it has a website as well. If it’s a, you know, a corporation and you’re, you know, talking to someone with someone directly at that corporation, make sure they have a website and a LinkedIn profile and are legit.

Yeah, and one thing I’ve really noticed is that I have gotten so many fake emails and it’s really important to look at the full email too. If you are not sure if it’s a scam or not, usually it will say @ the company’s name if it is from a specific company that is reaching out to you like both of Matt and I’s, emails have @hirewell.com.

So if you’re getting an email from like @Yahoo or @Gmail as a company reach out, it’s probably a little suspicious. I would also look for punctuation. If there are a lot of different typos and errors, that’s usually a red flag. Definitely. Looking at how they address you in the email, are they using your name or is it someone else’s name?

Usually people that are spamming you are going to have those errors. And if they’re spamming, a lot of people, chances are they’re not going to address you directly. And if they do, there’s other things to look for. I would also not click on anything attachment wise that people send you. There could be some viruses in there, so don’t click on anything if you aren’t sure if that person is real or who that person is.

Yeah. And there’s a lot of posers that pretend to be a well-known company. Like I said earlier, we’ve had people that have contacted us and asked us if we’ve reached out to them and they would be posers of Hirewell, and we’re like, no, unless it has @hirewell.com that person is not from our company. So just keep that in mind when looking at different emails that you’re getting.

I also saw an article where they had the Cyrillic alphabet. It was different in the person that was emailing them than a normal font. So look at the difference there as well. What else have you noticed, Matt, from scammers or have you heard? Yeah, and I would even, you know, add to that is like, we’re hirewell.com right?

If it’s like hirewell.org or hirewell.net or like the body of the email looks like an email from Hirewell, with like a pretty accurate email signature, but, then it comes from like an @gmail.com email or @yahoo.com email. You know, that’s always something to be wary of, you know, don’t want to click on anything that would be in those emails, attachments, especially like dot exe files.

And you might want to use a virus scanner on any attachments before you open them just to be extra safe, even if you think someone’s legit. And then, you know, phishing links are a really common way to lose your personal information and get hacked.

So, always make sure before you click on a link as well that. It’s legit and safe. Usually you’ll see secure apps start with https, and then unsecured links will just be http, so, definitely want to be wary of all those things that you might receive in an email.

And another scam that we see is when recruiters ask candidates and job seekers to download some other communication app like WhatsApp or Signal or Telegram to communicate. Yeah. We don’t do that. Yeah. Yeah. Texting, you know, we text some candidates. Usually we have an established relationship with them, we call them on the phone, we send them emails, we do Google or Zoom video chats, but like, there are no reasons to download another messaging app, especially when you’re already communicating with them on like LinkedIn.

Yeah, and if you’re going through an interview process and they’re never meeting with you over a video chat, I think that could be a little suspicious. Just from experience, I don’t know many companies who don’t do a video or in person meetup when they are talking to a candidate.

So that could be a little bit of a red flag if you’re only messaging and having calls with these interviewers. Something I would just be on the lookout for because they are posing as other companies. So, just be very sure that if something doesn’t really seem like it’s making sense or adding up, it probably isn’t.

Yeah. And also, recruiters that ask you for unnecessary or personal information, there are some cases that Matt’s going to kind of go over for you that. There are, people that we work with that use like a vendor management system, so they will ask for specific things, but it shouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary.

What types of things do those vendor management systems sometimes require? Yeah, so we work with some clients where to submit a candidate we need someone’s date of birth. Usually just the day and the month, so not the year. So, it’s not like true PII or personally identifiable information. Or sometimes even those vendor management systems would ask for the last four digits of someone’s social security number.

Which seems kind of sketchy, but, it is part of the job sometimes. But if a recruiter is asking you for your full social security number- don’t give that out. Yeah no, you need to run away from that for sure. Yep, yep. Some other things we see is like, if a recruiter asks you to fill out like a credit report form, definitely need to run from that.

That’s sounds like a financial scam of some kind. If they make you pay for any type of, like training upfront before they submit you or apply or before interviewing, there’s no reason that you should be paying for training. No. If anything, they’re going to be paying for you to do something.

Yeah. Yeah. And if a recruiter asks you to pay them for their recruiting services, that’s also a scam. That’s not how recruiters get paid. Yeah. We get paid when we place you at a client. So you know, any type of like money upfront is definitely a scam. And we’re going to keep saying it throughout this episode, but if anything seems too good to be true usually is. Right. Yeah. Yeah. And you’ve had a crazy story with the onboarding process that you’ve heard about.

How did that all work out? What happened? Yeah. So, I talked with a candidate recently and they’re trying to make a career pivot right now. And they’ve been, you know, struggling to find a new job. And, unfortunately, those are a lot of times the people that these scammers take advantage of.

So he got a job offer that kind of came really soon in the interview process. Kind of almost too soon, right? Too good to be true. Probably is. And then once they started to go through the onboarding process with him, everything seemed to be a little off.

They were like giving him a list of office equipment and electronics to buy for the job with the promise of reimbursing him for that later. They even wanted him to buy like, you know, like a fake plant. Like I’ve got here as like office decoration. Fake plants are expensive too. Yeah. I don’t think that one is, but yeah, seemed ridiculous.

And, you know, any type of pay and we’ll reimburse you is probably a scam. Unless it’s just like getting monitors set up, and the company’s like, yeah, just like put it to the expense sheet. But that usually happens after like onboarding and you know the company is legit. But also something to look out for if it’s a super entry level candidate getting offered for a very above market role, that’s probably not accurate. Someone offering a job before you’ve interviewed at all that is not usually ever the case. If recruiters are reaching out to you but they’re not knowledgeable at all on the role or the company, like they’re giving you misinformation or aren’t able to share anything, that’s a little bit also a red flag.

There are confidential searches so the recruiter can tell you about what your responsibilities would be, but can’t share the company name because that is a thing where it is a confidential search. So that is real, but the recruiter will be able to tell you some information about your roles and responsibilities and see if it would be a good fit.

So, you will be able to tell right away if that person is, is legit or not. Yeah. If the recruiter can’t you a little bit about the position and what you could expect to be doing and like is knowledgeable about like the industry that a company is in or like what their products are. Like, even if it was a confidential search, if they like, can’t even share those high level details, I would be suspicious of that.

And if they are sharing with you, and it’s not a confidential search like the name of a company and then they can’t tell you anything about it that’s, you know, that’s another red flag there. Yeah, or we’ve seen like companies that are posing are very closely aligned to bigger companies and there’s just slight differences that’s probably not legit.

And if these companies are legit, they should be on LinkedIn, you should be able to Google search them. You should be able to see the people that are working at the company and make sure that it is they are hiring, and all sorts of things. So you can do your research also on that specific company if you weren’t really sure about it.

But there’s also a lot of questions that you should be asking a recruiter. What types of questions do you think are good to ask? Yeah, so good ways to flush out whether or recruiter or a job is legit is, you know, have you placed anyone at this client yet? You know, what, can you tell me about the, the company culture?

If someone is working with a hiring manager and has placed multiple candidates at this company that they’re pitching you on, they should be able to tell you about those managers and what their leadership style is and what it’s like to work there. You also want to ask them about like, what opportunities for growth are there or how is this organization structured?

So that can tell you that they actually know about this company and who works there and what they do there, and you know, what the different jobs are within an organization. Also, like you mentioned, you know, just telling you details about the role. What are some upcoming projects? Also just like the history of the company.

You know, how long have they been operating, right? What’s their revenue? Are they public or private? So, you know, just do your research, ask the right questions and you’ll be fine. And be able to find and flush out these scams. And I’ve seen also stories about where companies have shipped equipment to you and asked you to either reimburse them or like send it to a different place or different location.

Yeah. Do not do this. If someone is sending you something and asking you to send it somewhere else, then your name is on it. So I would not do that. That is probably a scam. Yeah, they might have used like a stolen credit card to buy that equipment and then they want you to reimburse someone else. So there’s like, you know, layers of separation from the crime.

Right. Right. And if you ever you know, encounter one of these fake or fraudulent recruiters, we’ll leave a link in the comments or the description here, where you can report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission. So yeah, just help everyone out and take it off. Yeah, so thanks for joining us today on Cracking the Career Code.

Go check out talentinsights.hirewell.com for more content and follow us on LinkedIn if you haven’t already. Thanks.

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