Behind The Trap Door: The Scam Artists Of The Job Search

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Line of eight red flags blowing in the air.

How many red flags do you have to see before you take notice?

I base my work here at the SALT™ Blog on my personal experiences, in hopes that they help you. Logically, it would be hypocritical and foolish of me to ignore the information I give in my own posts.

For example, I recently talked about the lingo of job hunting and took a specific peek at tricky job descriptions that sound far more appealing than they truly are.

So, it would be silly if, within 1 week of writing that, I applied for one such job and got as far as scheduling an interview for it. And, of course, the worst part would be getting very excited and hopeful about this interview, only to have it all come crashing down.

Well, this all happened.


The Missteps

Amid a flurry of searching for employment, I found myself on a generic job search website. I quickly breezed through a job description, shrugged my shoulders, and thought, “Hmmm, that might work.” I filled out the very short online application and went along with my day.

Less than 24 hours later, my cell phone rang with a call from a number I didn’t recognize. In my best “potential employee” voice, I answered. It was a company calling to ask about my application. I straightened myself up and prepared to talk. After a short chat about their company, the person asked one (and only one) interview-style question. I felt like I totally botched it, stuttering my way through my response.

Despite that, they asked me to come in for an interview—preferably the very next day. I scheduled it and politely ended the phone call. Excited, I rushed to the Internet to begin my research for the interview. And that’s when things went sour.

The Red Flags

The first result when Googling this company was their own website.

The next four were all from websites like “Ripoff Report,” and they all used words like “scam.” Naturally, I checked those out. All of them told stories that seemed like mine. An eager job searcher. A cold application. A friendly phone call asking for an interview just about immediately.

The stories continued with people describing short, seemingly rushed interviews and vague job offers. One even detailed working for the company for a month, receiving no benefits and terrible pay—all for what turned out to be door-to-door sales (definitely not what I thought the job was based on the description).

A Second Look

Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, but looking back at the listed job description, I can’t believe I even applied (especially after writing that blog post). The first line of the description reads in bold and all caps “EXPERIENCE NOT REQUIRED.” Could there be a bigger or redder flag?

Reading closely, the company’s website and the job description are riddled with the kind of generic buzzwords that I advised people to avoid. I simply called the company back and told them I was no longer interested in interviewing.

I came to you in my last post with a little experience. Now, a little embarrassed and much more informed, I come back to remind you that, in the job hunt, sometimes you’re the hunted. No matter how long it takes, do your due diligence. I wish I had.

Have you encountered a misleading job description in your employment search? Share your story below.

(Photo: luchodi)

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