As William Shakepeare once said, "just because it's on the internet, it doesn't make it true."
Fake news is an often heard term these days and we are all familiar with the concept of fabricated news stories, created for all manner of reasons, but mainly to dupe us into believing something that is untrue in order to further somebody else's agenda. A lesser known evil though is the curse of 'fake jobs.' but what is a fake job and why would anyone bother posting one?
It's impossible to put a figure on how many job postings are actually made up but it is a common tactic and can be hard to spot as a job seeker. At best fake jobs are a waste of your time and effort, at worst they can be dangerous scams that can cost people thousands of pounds. Quite often my clients will tell me that they are applying for roles that they know are suitable for but not even receiving an acknowledgment, let alone an interview. When I review these applications, it is not uncommon for me to find as many as half of them being for jobs that more than likely didn't exist.
So who posts fake jobs and more to the point - why?Hot Filing - Employers and recruiters can post fake jobs to stockpile CV's, so that when they do have an actual vacancy they have an immediate pool of people to call.
Smoke and Mirrors - Often fake jobs are there to create an illusion. Sometimes this is to suggest a company is doing better than they really are, but often it is to pretend that proper process is being followed. Someone has already made a decision on who is going to get the job or be promoted, but it's important to go through the motions to validate a decision that has already been made.
To sell your personal data - Don't be surprised when you start receiving marketing emails and calls from companies you have never even heard of. Some job ads are simply a way of getting your contact details to sell on to others.
Criminal Activity - Your CV holds a lot of personal information about you and can be valuable in the wrong hands. This can be identity fraud as well as scams to get you to sign up for training, access to 'exclusive' jobs and even coaching! This is more common than you might think and young people are most likely to be targeted. Action Fraud report that 18 to 24 year old's who are targeted in this way lose, £4,000 on average.
In principle fake jobs are illegal, especially under new data protection laws (GDPR) which were introduced to protect individuals rights. Being able to prove a job ad is fake is tricky though and probably not worth the effort (unless you are being asked to hand over money, (in which case go to the Police.) Spending time applying for jobs that don't exist is also time consuming, not to mention hugely demotivating. Knowing how to spot fake jobs and how to avoid them is a key skill for anyone looking to progress their career.
As a general rule if it looks like a duck and it quacks then it's probably a duck! If you have doubts about the authenticity of any job ad, trust your instincts and do some proper research before wasting your time (and money potentially) applying. If you still have doubts then stay well away! A skilled career coach can help ensure that your applications are targeted and structured properly, and will be able to flag most fake jobs fairly easily. There are however some simple rules that everyone can follow;Avoid any job ad that asks you for money
Check if there is a physical address / phone number that you can contact.
Is is a proper company email address? Avoid gmail, hotmail email addresses at all costs.
How long as the job been posted for? If a role has been advertised for more than a few weeks, proceed with caution.
Avoid roles that you have seen advertised on multiple occasions or look very similar.
Beware of over inflated salaries or promises for the job being advertised.
Be wary of poorly written ads with bad spelling or grammar.
Keep a record of your applications and don't waste your time making further applications to companies or recruiters that didn't respond - even if that is only a standard email to acknowledge your application.
If you suspect that you have been targeted, treated unfairly or been the victim of a scam then you can report it to the Safer Jobs team. SAFERjobs is supported by the DWP, BEIS, Metropolitan Police, and other government and industry organisations.
Dave Leverton is a professionally qualified Career Coach with over 25 years experience in developing high potential individuals to become increasingly successful within their careers and personal lives. To arrange a free no obligation consultation, call 07502 082389 or click the link below to book your free career changing consultation.Back to blog