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Karen Lombardo

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10 Red Flags to Spot a Fake Job Posting
Blog / Cover Letter / General News and Information / putanotherwayllc / Resumes

10 Red Flags to Spot a Fake Job Posting

Apr 24, 2024

You’ve researched the type of job you want, you hired a résumé writer to help you craft the perfect cover letter and résumé, and you beefed up your LinkedIn profile. Finally, you’re ready to start applying for your new job. Before you submit your first application, there are a few tips to keep in mind to protect yourself from ghost job postings and job scams.

What Is a Ghost Job?

Ghost jobs are fake job listings posted by employers without the intention of actually hiring someone. This dubious practice can occur when a company leaves a listing open indefinitely (either to accumulate a “talent pool”  of applicants or while they wait for their “perfect” candidate) or when a hiring team wants to make the company appear larger or more robust than it actually is.

What Is a Job Scam?

A job scam is a fake job offer listed with the aim of stealing your money and/or personal information. In some cases, the scammer will create a fake website and online profile to disguise themselves as a real employer.

How to Spot Fake Job Postings

Phony job postings can creep up on anyone, whether you’re applying on Indeed, LinkedIn, or any other job site. To make the most of your efforts and protect your personal identity, here are ten red flags to identify illegitimate job offerings.

1.The listing contains obvious grammatical errors.

A job listing is a reflection of the employer’s professionalism. If you notice instances of poor grammar or misspelled words, this tells you right off the bat that the employer may be disreputable, unprofessional, or—worse yet—completely fraudulent.

2. The job post lacks specific details.

In a typical posting, the job description lists specific requirements the employer is looking for. These can include relevant skills, certifications, or a certain number of years in a related field or role. If the description is vague on these details, it could be a sign that the employer is not serious about hiring. And if the job requirements are especially basic (such as being of legal age or fluent in English), it’s likely a scam.

3.The job has been posted numerous times.

It’s uncommon for a job opening to remain unfilled for an extended period of time, especially for entry-level positions. If you find that the posting is older than other similar postings or has been reposted repeatedly, it could be a fake job post.

4.The salary and/or schedule seem exceptionally generous.

Before you apply to that dream job, take a few minutes to compare the pay rate and work hours to other similar job listings. Does it seem too good to be true? Chances are, it probably is. The same principle applies to job perks and responsibilities. If the listing includes extravagant perks and/or limited job responsibilities, it’s a sign that the employer is likely making promises they don’t intend to keep.

 5.The posting includes inconsistent or missing company information.

Most job posts include a brief rundown of the company’s mission statement and history, along with basic contact information like their website and social media accounts. If you come across a listing that is missing this information, do a quick search online to make sure they have an official website with all of the relevant details. In fact, it’s always a good idea to verify the information that’s presented in a listing.

6.You’re asked to pay an up-front fee.

Any employer that asks you to pay to apply for a job or pay out of pocket (for expenses such as equipment, materials, training, certifications, placement firm fees, etc.) is sure to be a scam. A reputable employer will not request any type of payment as part of their hiring process.

7.You’re asked to provide sensitive information.

Any legitimate employer will eventually ask for personal information such as your Social Security number, driver’s license, or bank account information when conducting a background check and setting up payroll. But, if they ask for these details early on, it could be a red flag that it’s a scam intended to steal your information. In any case, before sharing your information, always do your homework to confirm that the company and job openings are legitimate.

8.You’ve received no response after applying.

It’s happened to just about everyone: you apply for a job and eagerly await a reply. Weeks or months go by, and nothing comes in—not even an acknowledgment that they’re reviewing your application or that the position has already been filled. When this happens, it’s often a sign that the job posting is phony.

9.The hiring team contacts you from a personal email address.

If you do hear back about your application, but they’re writing from a personal email address (such as Gmail or Yahoo), you may want to steer clear of pursuing that job; a reputable employer will contact you from their company’s email account.

10.They offer you the job on the spot.

When a company hires a new employee, it invests in onboarding that person to its team—and it wants to ensure that its investment will be worthwhile. This is why most legitimate companies will ask for at least one interview to get to know you before they hire you. An instant job offer is likely to be a scam. Similarly, if you receive an interview request through an app like WhatsApp or Google Meet, take precautions to verify the employer’s legitimacy before moving forward.

Hire a Professional Résumé Writer

Now that you know how to spot a fake, you can put your effort to good use and apply for only the positions that are right for you. To help you land your dream job, contact The Virtual Copywriter for a polished LinkedIn profile and a compelling résumé that will score you the interview.

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Resources:, consumer.ftc.gov, forbes.com, indeed.com, seattleeu.edu, https://consumer.ftc.gov/articles/job-scams ,  https://consumer.ftc.gov/consumer-alerts/2023/05/scammers-are-hijacking-job-ads-heres-how-spot-fakes


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