Job Search: Are You Being Scammed?

Conducting a job search is challenging enough without sleazy, bottom-feeding  individuals attacking you when you’re especially vulnerable. Even smart people can fall for something that’s not on the up-and-up but has cleverly been made to sound as if it is. When someone offers you an opportunity that seems to be just what you need, you could easily be tempted to take him/her up on the offer.

Job Search Scam Alert

pros and cons, for and against argument conceptI know there are plenty of good job search resources “out there.” Evaluating those and choosing the ones that make good sense for your situation is a wise move. However, unfortunate though it is, you do need to stay alert to spot the alleged resources that will suck you dry if you don’t consider your job search choices carefully beforehand.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been following a somewhat scary thread on Ask The Headhunter (Nick Corcodillos) about one such organization–if you can call it an organization. One of the posts, “SevenFiguresCareers: Threats and Fraud,” is enough to keep you awake at night if you’re a job seeker. And there’s more where that came from. I strongly encourage you to read that post and others on the same topic. As the old saying goes, “Forewarned is forearmed.”

Due Diligence vs. Scammers

I can’t emphasize this enough: Do your due diligence on every aspect of your job search. Every single one. The last thing you need, particularly if your job search situation is critical, is to discover that you’ve wasted precious resources (time, money, etc.) on something that has led you exactly nowhere and might, in fact, have put you seriously behind where you need to be in your search.

Start by recognizing that not everyone operates with integrity–which is putting it mildly! Without being unduly suspicious of everyone who offers to be helpful in your job search, understand that it’s up to you to exercise due diligence and check out each offer carefully. For instance, do you know anyone who has used–or had any previous experience with–an organization that says it wants to help you? If so, what can he/she tell you about that experience?

road sign ' Wrong Way'You might decide to discount an example that didn’t hold up to impartial scrutiny, considering that it could just be sour grapes on that person’s part. However, if you hear two or more stories that essentially “sing the same song,” I suggest it would be worth your while to delve more deeply into the initial offer of assistance. Does it hold up under closer examination? If not, you probably need to go in a different direction. It’s easier to avoid a wrong move than to retrace your steps.

More than two centuries ago, a wise man once said, “Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” (Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784) Even though you might base your own actions on integrity, it won’t be effective if you’re dealing with someone who has none and intends to build his/her success at your expense. Remember the cautionary advice of “caveat emptor” (“buyer beware”) and take appropriate precautions. Your economic well-being and overall career success–at least in the short term–could depend on it.


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