Getting Started Job Search Tips

10 Warning Signs That Job Offer Is a Scam

Written by Peter Jones

Job offer scams are designed to prey on job seekers at their most desperate. And if you happen to be that desperate job seeker, it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad. So how to tell if a job offer is legitimate? Here are 10 warning signs to keep you on the safe path through the wilderness.

1. “No Experience Necessary”

Even if it’s an entry-level position, some experience is always necessary. Some work experience will always be required, and any job that states otherwise is a con. Not everyone can do every job.

2. Crazy Money

If it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Above average pay offers, particularly without the proper vetting, can be a major red flag. You want the manager to evaluate you on your merits first, then offer you the big money.

3. Fees

Don’t ever give anyone your credit card information. Don’t ever give anyone money. Any job that asks you for these things is not for real. You don’t have to shell out for training or new software or insurance on equipment. You just don’t. Run away instead.

4. Instant Hire

You’re great, but you’re not that great. If someone is willing to hire you without scouring your resume and having you in for at least one interview, they’re not worth working for.

5. Requests for Personal Information

Never give out your credit card, bank details, address, or social security number until you’ve been officially hired and are filling out your IRS forms. Anyone who asks for this information first is scamming you.

6. Typos in the Listing

Or bad grammar. Incomplete sentences. Anything that looks as though it might have been generated or translated by a computer program, not written by an intelligent human being. If there are glaring flaws in the job description, there are probably glaring flaws with the job.

7. After-Hours Calls

Anything before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m. is probably out of line. Even in industries that purport to work 24/7, hiring managers should have the decency to call you at a reasonable time. You deserve that respect.

8. You Didn’t Apply

This sounds ridiculous, and wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if jobs just fell out of the sky when we weren’t looking for them? But if you didn’t contact them first, you should be extra wary—just to make sure the company is legit.

9. Multiple Openings

If you’re scanning job search websites and find multiple jobs at the same company: manager, district manager, sales manager, executive, etc., that’s probably a sign that company is a sham company, or at least a revolving door. They’re most likely trying to scam for as many keywords as they can to target job seekers across a wider range.

10. Mystery

If you can’t actually summarize what the company is or does or what your job would actually be based on the job description, then it isn’t a very good job description—and likely not a very good job.

Make sure to do your homework. Five minutes of Googling can keep you from making a big mistake. Figure out what you can about the company, get a good sense of the job, and make sure you see a real live human being for an actual interview before making any promises. Trust your instincts, avoid these red flags, and you should be fine.

About the author

Peter Jones