As you are learning how to detect scam job interviews, scammers are busy devising ways to attract new victims. Above all, setting up fake job interviews is a viable way for scammers to attract young and unsuspecting victims.
In a bid to protect you from the hands of scam employers, I’ve put together a comprehensive list of how to detect scam job interviews. This list will expose all their trails and loopholes, use it to identify a real from a fake invitation. To support this post, you’ll need to check this list of reported fake/scam companies and recruitment agencies.
Though most recruitment scams target entry-level candidates, this post will cover areas that will benefit mid-level and senior-level professionals.
Read this to the end, and you’ll never fall victim to any fake job interview.
If you are ready, let’s unveil the secret curtains of the scam lords!
20 Ways to Detect Scam Job Interviews
1. There’s No Clear Job Title
The number one way to identify a fake job interview is that; there’s no clear job title. An interview invite that comes with no specific job title or a vague job title, should make you scared.
What fake recruiters do is an attempt to capitalize on your ignorance or greed. Either they send you a message with no specific job title or a position that is above your qualification.
If the title is dead blunt or sounds too good to believe, don’t honour it.
2. Different Senders/Messages for the Same Interview
Scam recruiters leave trails when they want to conduct their activities.
Do not take the job invite serious if;
- You receive the invitation for the same interview from more than one mail.
- You receive the invitation more than once. (Apply discretion)
- The interview date or location is being changed a number of times.
3. The Interview is Urgent
Always be suspicious when an invite comes with urgency. No real company will rush over the recruitment process.
Recruitment is a very expensive process for any company. Therefore, HRs will prefer to take their time and get things done the right way. For that reason, when you see a supposed company giving you a day’s notice for an interview, you should not take them seriously. More so, those interviews that claim they’ll stop allowing interviewees into the venue the minute they get the number of candidates they want is from fraudsters.
4. The Stage of the Interview
An entry-level applicant receiving a call for a senior-level position is a red flag. A mid-level professional receiving an invite for an executive position is questionable.
Receiving an invite for a second stage or final stage interview when you were never involved in the first stage of the interview is also fishy.
5. The Invitation is Full of Grammatical Errors
Job scammers in their haste to send their dubious emails don’t pay attention to the message they are sending.
In reality, most of the messages they send are recycled, they don’t bother reading it. For that reason, if you receive a mail for an interview that is full of grammatical errors, don’t get excited. Don’t fall victim to a fake interview offer.
6. You didn’t apply for the job
No reputable company will request your audience in an interview if you didn’t apply for a job in the company. If the only claim is that they have reviewed your qualification, and are pleased to invite you for an interview, please run. They are scam recruiters.
If you are not certain that you applied for a job in the company, here’s how to confirm;
Step 1: Check Your Mail
- Log into your email
- Click on the search bar and type either of the following; the name of the company, the email that was used to send the interview invitation, or the position.
- If you see any message that confirms your application, then it could be a legit job interview. However, if you don’t see, it’s at best a scam employment invitation.
Step 2: Check Your Favourite Job Website
- Log in to your favourite job search website.
- Check your application history to know if you have made an application.
- Some job sites may not have such an option. But, you can search the company to know if an opening was advertised for such a company recently.
Even if you were referred to the company by someone you know, the person would have informed you.
7. The Interview is a Secret interview
Don’t honour any secret job invite or job application. However the scammers approach you or sugar-coat the offer, don’t believe their lies.
If it is a secret opening in Nigeria or India, don’t honour it. If it is being run on a low key by some in-house staff, RUN!
Here’s an example of such messages for a fake job application:
8. The Interview title
This one is closely related to Job title (point1). A job interview should be a job interview and nothing else. When the highlight of the mail says something else other than “Job Interview”, be certain that it’s something else and not a “Job interview”.
Here are some of the fancy names you’ll use to identify a fake job interview;
- Job briefing
- Leadership training
- Leadership interview
- Business partnership
- Business training
- Job appraisal
- Seminar presentation etc.
9. The Invitation Message is Generic
Real companies go through the time to customize your mail. That’s to say, when you get a mail with “Dear Applicant”, “Dear Candidate” instead of your name, become suspicious. Then, go ahead and dig deeper to confirm if they are real or fake.
10. Search the Internet
You can detect scam job interviews by searching the company or the opening on the World Wide Web.
Here are 3 places you can check for answers to a fake job riddle;
- Social Media
Check 1: Google
Although instincts may be misleading, you have to trust them when it comes to staying ahead of employment scammers. Every time you get an invite for an interview and your instincts suspect something fishy, trust your instincts.
It is better to be double sure than sorry.
Once you type the name of the company on Google search, pay attention to the results you see. A Google search will help you clear all doubts.
Check 2: Nairaland
Nairaland is one of the most used online forums in Nigeria. Nigerians gather on Nairaland to discuss anything possible. If a company has bad comments about scamming people on nairaland, then, don’t bother honouring their call.
11. Their Website and Social Media Pages
Go through the company pages to see who they are and what they’re about.
Online platforms reveal a lot about a company. If there is no news about any on-going recruitment, then know that someone is trying to impersonate them. Similarly, if you see a tonne of negative comments about the company, then you have your answer; stay clear.
To sum it up, why should you take them seriously if they don’t have any online presence? Even if they are not a tech-savvy company to own a website; a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn account will not harm.
12. They Request for money
This is one of the surest ways to detect scam job interviews and fake recruiters. All fake job interviews have one thing in common; they are promoted to exploit innocent job seekers.
They devise all dubious ways to extort money from their victims. For example, they could ask for a pre-interview fee or a post-interview fee that they would use for one unrealistic thing or the other.
13. They Hide Their Identity
No serious company hides its identity from a potential employee. Even when they are using a recruitment agency, the invitation will carry the name of the recruiting agency. But fake recruiters will prefer to hide their identity, making it difficult for you to research the company.
If they are hiding their identity, you don’t have any business with them.
14. The Company Address/ Interview Location
If the company address or interview location is in a well know job scam address, avoid that interview like a plague. The names of fake companies/interview locations are available to you online.
Also, if the company uses a confusing venue or informal location for the interview, then you have every right to grow suspicious.
15. The Job Experience Range
How can a sane company invite you to interview for a job position that requires 1-10 years of work experience?
Unbelievable job experience range is one way to detect scam job interviews. It doesn’t just add up that a fresh graduate will be invited to interview for an executive position. Whenever you get an invite like this, it is 100% scam.
Entry-level positions will require entry-level candidates, and mid-level positions will require mid-level professionals to fill it. In summary, beware of job interviews for positions with a wild range of prerequisite experiences.
16. The Channel of Communication
Scrutinize the channel of communication used to send you a job interview. For instance, a legit company won’t send you an invite for an interview via SMS. However, they could send you an email and follow it up with a call or SMS. But sending just a call or SMS should raise your security alert.
17. The Email
It is easy to identify fake job agents via email. Most of them use their emails from free email providers like Google and Yahoo.
Serious and legitimate companies use corporate email addresses for their operations including recruitment e.g. email@example.com. Therefore, when you get job placements or job interview invitation from a personal email like firstname.lastname@example.org, kindly ignore it.
18. They request for guarantors
Requesting for a guarantor for an interview is illegal. Companies can request for referees, but asking for a guarantor during an interview stage is out of place.
19. Poor Feedback/Enquiry Option
Most of the job scammers provide little or no option for enquiry. Firstly, they may not provide any means of reaching them. Secondly, if they do provide, it is always not reachable, no serious company will be that careless. Thirdly, if they do pick or respond to your call/message, it is always quick and the agent responding to you is always eager to end the conversation as if they are hiding something that they don’t want you to find out.
20. The Message Comes With a Code or Reference Number
Be sceptical of job invite messages that comes with code or reference numbers
HR=0190 or “REF=005”.
This is most time the code number of the scam recruitment agent; this helps them differentiate which of their agents invited you and which one will attend to you when you arrive.
It is pertinent that you guard yourself against fake job openings. Once a job opening or interview invitation is suspicious to you, do your due diligence. You can visit this list again and take note of places where the suspicious job falls short. If you have more reasons to believe they are fake, then they are.
Also, avoid street job offers that were shared by handbills or posted on walls of buildings. They are mostly networking agents looking for down lines.
Hope this list was helpful? Have you had any experience with any of these scammers? Is there something else you would like to add to this list? Do let me know in the comment section, I’ll be here to indulge you. Let’s connect!
Other Frequently Asked Questions
List of fake recruitment agents in Nigeria
Check this list of reported fake/scam companies and recruiters in Nigeria.
How to Identify Fake Job Offers
Here is a list of 6 ways to identify fake job offers
- The company has no credible online presence.
- The recruiters request for money for your employment letter.
- Your employment letter is not authentic/personalized.
- They claim to overlook qualifications if you pay some money.
- The job has no specific title.
- The requirement for the job is vague.
How to Spot Fake Job Adverts
- The emails they used for the advert is a private email.
- The job requirements don’t tally with the position in question.
- There’s no specific job position/title.
- The experience requirement is wide apart.
- The pay is unimaginable for the level. To confirm the salary scale for different career positions and industries, you can check mysalaryscale.
- The company name is hidden.
- The job application uses Google doc.
- The company has no online presence.
- The company website is not secure e.g. when you visit their site, you get a notification that the site is not secure. Also, you don’t see a green padlock at the top left of the website before the site URL.