Ghost Jobs and Job Scams: How to Protect Yourself

Jul 6, 2023

Ghost jobs and job scams are two very different, but still potentially harmful, issues plaguing job seekers in 2023. One is mostly an annoyance, while the other can be damaging to your reputation and finances. In both situations, you should know how to protect your time, your money, and your sanity.


Ghost Jobs

Legitimate employers sometimes post jobs on reputable websites, like LinkedIn or Indeed, that they never intend to fill. These job postings usually have vague descriptions without a lot of detail. The company’s intent is to find out if there is interest in the labor market for this type of position. It’s a way for them to research without paying for the services of workforce experts. However, their information comes at a cost to the candidates who are applying for these jobs that don’t exist.

One sign of a ghost job is a posting that has been live for several months but not removed. This could just mean that the company hasn’t found the right person! But you should proceed with caution. If you’re approached about an interview, ask about the hiring process and the timeline for filling the position. If you don’t receive clear answers (or any answer at all), you should consider moving on.

Job Scams

From 2020 to 2021, job scams reported to the Federal Trade Commission tripled. Unfortunately, this trend continues to grow even now. Depending on the ability of the scammers, some of these fake jobs appear unbelievably legitimate. There are several ways that fake jobs are made to look real:

  • Using fake URLs (slightly altered web addresses)
  • Using images stolen from real company websites
  • Lacking verifiable information, like a phone number, location, or web address
  • Requiring you to click on a specific link
  • Asking for detailed personal or financial information

How to Protect Yourself from Job Scams

Despite the tricks above, there are ways that you can protect yourself from falling for a job scam. Look for these signs:

  • The posting is too good to be true, using words like “quick money”
  • The company has an email address from Gmail or Yahoo (or other popular providers)
  • The posting or email has major grammatical or spelling errors
  • The posting doesn’t have details about the position
  • The recruiter is pushing you to accept the job quickly
  • The recruiter is contacting you with an unsolicited job offer*
  • The recruiter does not ask for professional references

*Legitimate recruiters reach out to candidates every day. However, a recruiter should always be offering detailed information about a specific job opportunity. They will never make a job offer without requiring an interview first!

These red flags should have you on alert, but for any job posting you should always research the company. Look at the company’s website and see if the open position is listed. If a recruiter contacts you, look into them as well! Any professional recruiter should have a LinkedIn profile at the very least.

A great way to avoid ghost jobs and job scams is to work with a staffing company like Temporary Solutions. Staffing companies only post current jobs and their recruiters contact candidates with transparent and detailed job descriptions. Contact a recruiter today if you’d like more information!

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