Over the years, advancement in business technology has led to significant changes in the recruitment landscape. Nowadays, most recruitments are done online, with social media playing a pivotal role in both the job search and getting suitable candidates. Recruiters use sites like GitHub, StackOverflow, and Dev.to to get access to pools of tech talent. However, LinkedIn is unquestionably the most popular platform for career development. For this reason, it’s the go-to platform for both recruiters and job seekers. If you look at things from the job seeker’s perspective, connecting with corporate headhunters and recruiters on LinkedIn may be their best chance of finding the right job. But it’s not all good news. You have to be careful so you don’t fall prey to scam recruiters on the platform.
The Rise Of Scams On LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s transparency report covering the first-half of 2019 stated that they blocked 19.5 million fake accounts during the sign-up process. An additional 2 million fake accounts were purportedly restricted by LinkedIn prior to member reports, and another 67,000 were restricted following member reports. You may think that means you’re safe on the platform. How many scammers could there be?
Well, these are just the numbers that LinkedIn is aware of and many more likely slip through the cracks.
Due to the effects of the pandemic on sectors of the world there have been a rise in the number of people looking for jobs. Without a doubt, most job seekers and recruiters will turn to LinkedIn with hopes of getting the right candidate. For this reason, it doesn’t come as a surprise that there has been an increase in the number of fake recruiters that send bogus job offers trying to get sensitive data from LinkedIn users. Keep in mind that these fraudsters have been on LinkedIn long before now pretending to be industry experts.
These scammers are not restricted to LinkedIn alone, as they can be found on other social media platforms too. Due to LinkedIn’s unique nature, where you can connect with people from targeted industries and skill sets, the platform has been plagued by these fraudsters.
How To Know If A LinkedIn Recruiter Is Legit
Here are some red flags and tips you should look out for to know if a recruiter is legit or not:
1. The Email Is From a Free Account
Be on the lookout for recruiters that use free web email accounts. They often use services like Yahoo or Gmail to contact you instead of using the company or business email address.
If you are very observant, you’ll notice these tell-tale signs right in the email itself. Some scammers are so thorough that they take time to create and send out well-written emails, but in some cases, they often seem unprofessional.
Take note, if the email contains lots of punctuation or spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or incorrect capitalization, you might be dealing with a fake recruiter.
2. Requesting Money, Personal Information, Or Salary History Before You’ve Applied
In the course of discussing your potential job opportunity with the recruiter there are certain things you shouldn’t be asked or divulge. For instance, you shouldn’t be asked for any payment before you submit your application. There have been cases where a scammer will ask that you set up a new bank account. After doing that, they’ll ask for the account details or redirect you to a site to fill a credit report form. Then, to assuage your fears, they’ll tell you they need your data to add you to the company’s insurance.
On the other hand, legitimate recruiters may ask for your up-to-date resume, contact details, salary expectations, and references. The difference is that they will always be honest and open about their reason for collecting such information. At no time will a legitimate recruiter ask you to transfer money to any account before you start the recruitment process.
Also, don’t give out your date of birth or full SSN (Social Security Number) if you haven’t started the onboarding process or successfully secured the new position.
If a recruiter asks you to fill a form, ensure the site you are redirected to is secure by scrutinizing the address. If you notice an “s” missing in the address and it appears like this “http://” then the link isn’t secure. Only secure links come in this form “https://”.
Also, pay attention to attachments you receive from recruiters in your emails. If you are unsure about a file, run it through a virus scanner before you open it. You may receive some emails from scammers, and they often come with virus-filled attachments designed to extract your personal information and corrupt your device.
3. Evasive Recruiters
Another tell-tale sign that you’re talking to a scammer is when you notice they are evasive anytime you ask for more details about the job in question. Legitimate recruiters are often very informed about the job they are recommending to you. If they gloss over the finer details, seem vague, or can’t answer your questions accurately, then you should know there’s a problem somewhere. Oftentimes, their inability to answer basic questions about the job satisfactorily is the sign you need that they are pretending to be someone else.
That said, there are times when a legitimate recruiter can’t disclose the client’s name because they are bound to confidentiality. However, they will share as much info about the job opportunity as they can, and you’ll notice they are quite knowledgeable about the industry.
4. Offering Jobs That Seem Too Good To Be True
Scammers often go the extra mile to make their job offer look as appealing as possible. They do this because they want to lure people into sharing data with them. Your alarm bells should go off anytime you see a role that seems too good to be true because it probably is.
Most legitimate job descriptions often list the benefits of a role, but fake job postings have an unnecessarily long list. In some cases, they may state that they don’t need any form of experience while offering shorter hours than what is expected of the role.
5. Offering Unrealistic Salaries
Just like we stated previously, fake job postings often come with high salaries that are completely unrealistic. For instance, if the starting salary of the job is way higher than the average or industry rate, then there’s every chance it is fake. If the salary the recruiter is offering you does not match with the job role you have every reason to question whether the recruiter is legitimate or not.
6. Offering the Job Without Any Interview
Some fraudulent recruiters may offer you the role without conducting an interview. Some take it a step further by conducting a phone interview with you. However, you should note that you are speaking with the fake recruiter instead of the company hiring.
Another method scammers use is to invite you to a job interview online via an insecure or unfamiliar messaging service. They will try to get data from you by requesting that you create an account on the platform. We highly recommend that you research any website or software you are asked to sign up for. Part of a legitimate recruiter’s job is to ensure you are the right fit for the hiring company. If the recruiter offers you the job without going through the rigors of conducting an interview, the chances are high that the said role is a scam.
If the job opportunity is something you fancy, try to respond to the message as soon as you possibly can. Next, you can ask the recruiter to send you a copy of the job specification(s). On the other hand, you can also suggest a phone call with the aim of having a fluid and open discussion about the role. Keep in mind that this is just a fact-finding conversation and you’re not in any way obligated to apply or go forward with the application process.
How do you find out if a LinkedIn recruiter is legit?
- Review their recommendations and LinkedIn profile and learn more about the consultant and the job roles they recruit. This way, you’ll know more about their area of expertise. In addition, you’ll also know if there are other roles they can place you in.
- Ensure you look for an ideal place you can discuss confidentially and don’t forget to take notes about the role.
- Print a copy of your curriculum vitae and don’t hesitate to talk them through it. Also, ensure you highlight your experience and key skills.
- Write down any question you have about the organization or the role. Actually, this depends on your career priorities and how you envisage your future with the company. For example, you could ask if the company offers progression opportunities and training. You can also ask about the company’s culture, so you’ll know if you will fit in easily.
After this, the recruiter will want to know if you want to be put forward for the role. If you haven’t made up your mind, and you need more time to think things through, don’t hesitate to say so. If you want to be put forward, tell the recruiter, and they’ll send the job specification to you if they haven’t done that earlier.
The recruiter will also ask that you send your CV and they’ll suggest that you meet up to know you, your ambitions or to discuss other opportunities with you.
What do you do if you think a LinkedIn recruiter is trying to scam you?
- Ignore their last message and stop responding to them.
- If they keep messaging you then you can block them.
- If they start posting about you, tagging you, or contacting you on other platforms then you should report the account to LinkedIn for harassment.