When looking for work, especially if you've been out of work for some time, you may begin to lower your aspirations and consider anything and everything. That's understandable.
(In actual fact, the more targeted your job search, the more likely you'll find success but that's an entirely different topic.)
In lowering your expectations you might start to look at the job postings on the free sites, such as Gumtree. But you should always take care not to fall victim to scammers who may try to take advantage vulnerability.
Here are some pointers to help you avoid being scammed:
- Genuine recruiters will not ask you for money. If you're asked to pay for security checks, visas or training, you should always check out the employer to establish whether they are real and/or the job actually exists.
- Are you expected to handle money through your personal bank account? This should ring alarm bells and you could end up being used to handle money illegally.
- Does the employer have a website? Is their email linked to a genuine domain? Most employers wouldn't use a hotmail or yahoo email.
- Have they provided a business address and telephone number and, if so, do they check out? Make sure that the business really does exist - in bricks and mortar. If they claim to be a limited company, they should be registered at Companies House and it just takes a few minutes to check.
- Research the internet - check out the postcode on Google Maps - check out the telephone number on Google - see if there's any negative information attached to it.
- You should also check social media platforms - eg LinkedIn.com, Twitter.com or Facebook.com to find evidence - good or bad - of the hiring company and/or recruiter.
- Will the recruiter or employer meet you in person - at their premises? It's sometimes acceptable to meet at a hotel or rented office premises - especially for regional or field roles - but you should still check out whether the business is real and not just a business mailing address or telephone answering service.
- Is the recruiter or employer contacting you at irregular hours? A genuine business would have regular office hours. Contact during the evenings and weekends would be a little irregular and should make you suspicious - unless you've previously agreed this.
- Don't conduct the entire recruitment process online. If the hirer wants to conduct everything on line or over the phone, be wary. Most employers will want to meet you in person.
- If you agree to meet a potential employer at a private address, always ensure that someone knows exactly where you are going - provide a friend or relative with the details and agree to contact them immediately before and after the meeting takes place.
- If you're not meeting the employer at their premises, arrange to meet in a public place where you will be safe.
- Keep your personal information safe. Never provide bank details, date of birth or NI numbers - until you have been offered and accepted a role. Employers don't need this personal information until you are being added to their payroll.
- If you're uploading your CV to a job site, just include your town and county - not your full address.
If a job sound too good to be true, then it probably is!
Most employers and recruiters are legitimate but you must be aware that, as in all walks of life, there are people who would seek to exploit your vulnerability or naivety.
For more information on how to avoid employment scams, visit http://www.safer-jobs.com/
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