Looking for a job can be a very stressful time and sadly, some people are always ready to take advantage of job seekers. We call these people scammers. Jobs are scarce and as a result, finding work is becoming increasingly difficult in South Africa. Because people are aware that there are many desperate people out there seeking employment, many scammers are roaming around looking to find their next victim. To avoid having your money or your identity stolen, there are certain red flags you can apply to help identify fake job adverts.
For established employment providers, the domain of the email address often ends with the name of the company i.e. domain name appears after the @ symbol. For instance, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Very rarely do employees use their personal email addresses such as Gmail or yahoo.
Job adverts on social media
The first red flag on social media is job adverts with very low or minimal skills required with an extremely high salary. For instance, a job advert will require no matric certificate yet offer a salary of R25 000. Secondly, the location of the interview will often be in a remote area that is not based at the local offices. Always google the location of the interview and whether the company is situated in the right area.
Pay attention to grammar like any irregular spelling errors such as “must be willing to work an learn”, noting that the correct word should be “and”. The excessive usage of exclamation marks and capital letters (which often indicates shouting). For normal job adverts, a vacancy would have gone through various channels and stakeholders, making it less likely for it to have spelling errors by the time it is posted on social media. If you’re also required to “comment YES”, “inbox” or “dm” this is also a big red flag because companies will have one central email address or portal you can use to send and submit your CV.
If there are any unusual expectations, such as exchanging numbers with the “HR person’ on Whatsapp, then its probably too good to be true. Ethical companies will make sure that they contact you via email or call you and at the very least, send an SMS. Another dodgy expectation is being expected to pay money upfront or some kind of fee whether for training or uniform. If you think about it, what sense does it make to ask an unemployed person to pay for items upfront? It seems like a big sign to run as fast as you can.
The key is to make sure that you use reliable sources. Do not be afraid to do your research. Go to the company website, check on the “vacancies” or “careers” tabs if it has been posted. If not, you can reach out to any query or information contacts and verify the advert. Moreover, sometimes it’s okay to use and trust your intuition. If anything feels dodgy, chance are that it is dodgy. And if you really are not sure, then ask a friend, family member, a mentor or anyone that you trust to give their opinion. Your safety is of utmost importance so rather stay safe rather than sorry.