Being an active job seeker can be stressful, and you’re probably already in a vulnerable position as you make important career decisions and find the right position.
Employment agencies on the internet are ready and waiting with dozens of marketing ploys as you continue with your job search.
From placement fees to promises of the ‘perfect job,’ these companies rely on people who are seeking help from a professional, but turn out to be a scam when they encourage you to pay fees for their services.
Here’s how to avoid employment agency scams both online and offline:
Look for company background information. Whenever a company discloses their website and e-mail addresses, take the steps to consult the Better Business Bureau, or just run a simple ‘WhoIs?’ search for the domain.
Legitimate companies will post their track record and provide real testimonials.
Scam artists are much more likely to hide this information and make it very difficult to run a company background search.
Keep an eye out for unsolicited e-mails. Many employment agencies suddenly ‘find’ you after you submit your résumé to sites such as Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com.
Both offer legitimate job placement opportunities when you post your resume online, but this can also be picked up by hundreds of scam artists.
Be cautious about anyone who has suddenly ‘found’ the perfect job for you; in most cases, they are acting as a recruiter who will try to convince you to pay for services later in the process.
Ask for a written agreement. Unless the agency can provide proof of an employment offer and substantial evidence that you got the position, you cannot assume anything.
Always ask for a written agreement, as well as a telephone number of your future employer (the HR department can help you verify your status), and any other key contacts.
There should never be any gray areas during the hiring process, so take a proactive approach whenever possible.
Never pay a fee for services. Legitimate employment agencies make money when you are offered a position and work with the company for a certain period of time.
Employment agency scams usually require you to pay a fee in order to ‘get’ your position; this is a big red flag, and should make you turn far, far away.
Don’t pay to take a test. One marketing tactic to encourage job seekers to pay money is to offer them a position only after they pass a test.
This ‘test’ usually requires some form of administration fee, and is another red flag for you. Unless you are becoming certified for a particular credential (and even then, you should be able to sit for the examination on your own), you should not have to pay a fee.
Be cautious about in-person interviews. Offline employment agency scams operate a little differently than online versions, simply because they are more personal (a real ‘office’, telephone number, fax number, etc.).
In-person interviews that require you to return for testing that is unrelated to your industry, tests that require a fee, or special training and seminars you need to attend (with a high fee involved) are usually scams that are a complete waste of time.
A legitimate placement agency will only require you to take one aptitude/skills test to build your profile free of charge, and will have a system in place to find a job on your behalf. Ask as many questions that you need to in order to find out what this system truly is.
Employment agency scams are on the rise, and many target a variety of people in a vulnerable situation. Take the time to investigate and learn about the company on your own, and conduct your job search independently whenever possible.
Source: Yahoo News