Watch Out: 5 Job Search Scams to Avoid

Job search scams seem to be more pervasive than ever these days.

Here are 5 common scams to watch out for:

  • Any employer requiring you to pay an application fee to apply.
  • A headhunter or recruiter requesting a fee for services; these professionals are paid by the employers, not the candidates.
  • Fake employers posting on Craigslist; and any strange requests from employers on Craigslist.
  • Companies that say they will help you tap into the hidden job market and charge a large up-front fee, like $4,000 or $10,000+; if their system is effective, why can’t you pay as you go? (Do not confuse this with well-established, reputable career coaches who have excellent LinkedIn recommendations.
  • Any employers you can’t find any information about. Working for a small company can be terrific, but be diligent in making sure that a company you’ve never heard of is truly legitimate. Any con artist can set up a website, so you’ll need to look for independent verification that goes beyond that.


And here are 3 situations that may or may not be scams that you should be vigilant about:

  • Bait and switch scenarios in which you’re invited to an interview for a “management job,” and then find yourself in a group interview for a sales job.
  • Companies that provide services to help you find a job for a hefty fee, like $10,000+. Many are outright scams. Be very skeptical.
  • Employers requesting your Social Security Number on online applications; you should be able to provide this later, after they offer you the job and are ready to do the background check and employment verification.


And, finally, here is one other service that you might want to avoid, even though they aren’t “scams,” per se:

  • Popular resume distribution services that promise to blast your resume to everyone on the planet; this is like spam and will not benefit you. However, there is a good option for targeting recruiters I can introduce you to, although this service isn’t right for everyone.