Blog

How to Spot Recruitment Scams

- 19 Aug 2019 by

Congratulations, you got a job! You don’t remember applying or seeing this company before, but who cares because they want to hire you immediately! All you have to do is pay a specific amount in administration fee and they’ll contact you for further processing.

Hold up, now. That sounds like a scam. Scammers are indeed some of the most creative people on earth, and even recruitment is not free from them. Searching for a job is exhausting mentally and emotionally, so job seekers are extra vulnerable to fall into the traps of recruitment scams.

These fraudulent job offers would often leave you with a hole in your wallet and a really bad day, instead of a career opportunity. To help you detect and avoid recruitment scams, here’s a list of things to look out for in your job search.

1. Asking for money

Recruiters should never ask applicants to pay for anything.

In no circumstances should you pay to apply to a job. Any administration fee or whatever expenses incurred in recruitment should be covered by the company, and they should never ask you to pay for it. I mean, the point of getting a job is so you can get paid, not the other way around, right? 


Scammers can come up with different ways of asking for your money that can be quite convincing, such as:

  • Administration fee
  • Background or medical check fee
  • Advance for office supplies (why should you pay for this?)
  • You need a certain software to work, and you have to pay for it
  • You need to join and pay for training or seminar before onboarding. They might as well be selling the training and only pretending to offer you a job.

2. Identity theft

Always protect your privacy during job search. Be wary if a “recruiter” is asking for overly sensitive information so early in the process (before even an interview), such as:

  • Bank account number
  • Credit card number
  • ID card number
  • Any other identification number

Information like this is typically only required after you’ve been extended an offer and accepted it, for purposes like drawing up a contract and putting you in the payroll. Still, they may come up with reasons like “credit background check”, but most of the time that’s just a lie.

When scammers have enough information to impersonate you, it’s called identity theft. They can file tax breaks under your name, or worse, make more scams using your name and bank account. Protect your privacy so your job search won’t lead to you getting arrested as a criminal accomplice.

3. It’s too good to be true

You never applied to them, but they claimed to have seen your resume somewhere online. They’re impressed and have decided to hire you immediately. The job will have short working hours and really high pay, or so it would seem.

It could be a miracle, or more realistically, a scam. If it sounds too good to be true without enough details, and if they sound really desperate to get you to pay or sign or whatever, then those are red flags that should make you think twice.

4. “Interview” was too easy

Finding the right candidate that fits their company is a huge deal for recruiters. That’s why we built Dreamtalent in the first place. A proper recruitment process should at least involve a face-to-face interview with relevant questions to find out the fit between the candidate and the company — bonus points for using a psychometric assessment.


However, if the only interview you got was a sleepy conversation via SMS, instant messaging, or social media, you should be suspicious. Some scammers even give out “interviews” in the form of multiple-choice questionnaires. You’ll be sure that these are scams when they can’t answer serious questions like company culture or career progression.

5. Vague job description

A scam job offer would often have very vague job description or very low and general requirements. They might not have a job description at all, and the requirements listed are along the lines of “have this skill” and “have access to the internet”, without referring to any skills, education, or experience.

That’s understandable given that scams are designed to catch as many victims as possible. When asked about more details regarding what the job will be about, you’ll know it’s a scam when they just brush it off and say something like “Don’t worry about it” or “We’ll train you later”.

Even if it’s not a scam, it might be an offer for a different job than what’s actually advertised. So stay well away from job postings with lots of vagueness.

6. Email is unprofessional

Imagine getting something like this in your inbox:

“We have look at your CV and we think your a perfect match for our company. Our company is called Easypax and we would love to join the team with you. Please pay $500 to american express for registration fee and we can get started monday.”


Are you even trying?

It’s full of grammar mistakes, misspellings, and the design looks straight outta 1997. Do you really think this would come from an actual corporation’s HR department?

Apart from content, look closely at the sender email. A company would never send official email using generic email services like Gmail or Yahoo. Some scammers are creative enough to impersonate big companies, using emails like @samsung-phones.com when the real email is @samsung.com, for example.

Also, look for the email signature. A real official email would have the company name and logo and the sender’s name, job title, and contact info. If it has neither of these, or no signature at all, you’ll know it’s a fake.

How can you defend yourself?

Easy: just ignore them.


All you need to do is spot the scam, then you know which ones to ignore. It’s quite that simple, but when you’re tired and desperate in your job hunt, sometimes you might drop your guard, so here are a few more tips on dealing with recruitment scams.

1. Never give out information so easily

Don’t share your private details so willingly, especially to strangers on the internet. In fact, don’t even respond to emails or communication that you suspect of being a scam, at least until you’re sure.

If you happened to give out your bank or credit details to a scammer before realizing it, go to your bank. Monitor your account and take action if there’s anything weird going on.

2. Ask the company itself

If you receive a suspicious email on behalf of a big and famous company, the easiest thing to do is to ask them if they really did have an employee that sent you the email really exists.

3. Ask hard questions

If you want to be sure that it’s a scam (or just want to have fun), ask them difficult and serious questions during the “interview”. Ask about the culture, career progression, management style, and everything else that you should in a real interview. They’ll eventually relent, give up, or show their true face when they fail to answer.

4. Apply on a secure job portal

Make sure to only share your resume on job portals that you trust. Trusted portals regularly vet the job openings and screen out possible scams. Dreamtalent’s job portal only allows legit job postings from trusted companies who have verified themselves. In addition to that, Dreamtalent also matches jobs with your skills, personality, and working style, so you can have a safe job hunting process to find the career that’s right for you.