How to Stay Protected from Job Scams

Graduate jobs, Advice

September 30, 2021

Did you know that fresh graduates and first-time job applicants are the top targets for recruitment scams? As an international student, you have to be extra careful as you are already on a limited period visa and the time constraint can make you an easy target for job scammers. But you can protect yourself by detecting the red flags early on. Let’s explore how.


Suppose you received a call about an urgent job opening. The person made tall claims about how much you will earn without giving you any proof or mentioning the day-to-day responsibilities. The position sounded too good to be true, so you didn’t go ahead with it. But most scams aren’t that obvious to call out, especially for those unfamiliar with the job market of a foreign country. So, here are some actionable steps to identify warning signs and avoid scams.


Conduct Background Research

Observe how you got to know about the job. Did someone contact you out of the blue, or was it because of a form you filled? Scammers target people of a specific profile and get them excited about a potential job. Usually, they don’t give you the space to ask questions. When legitimate recruiters scout you for a job, you can find out how they got your contact details, what made them reach out to you, and so on. 

As a thumb rule, do some background research to see if the details provided to you add up. 

Is the vacancy mentioned on any other job site? 

Are the contact details legitimate?

Can you find the recruiter/hiring manager on LinkedIn?


 If you can’t verify the credentials, you are not obligated to respond again.


Notice the Timelines

International students are in a time crunch to land a job before their visa expires. They present the job as a one-of-a-kind opportunity that would be lost unless the candidate acts right away. Sometimes, they lure you in with exclusive career services, ask you to make a payment, and become unavailable afterwards. Whatever the situation, there is reason to be wary if you are being pressured to answer too quickly. 

That said, there are many legitimate graduate schemes that encourage early applicants. But with the right information, you can make out the difference between a genuine deadline and a forced one..


Inspect the Company Website & Social Media Channels

A Safer Jobs survey found 98% of respondents to go ahead with an application despite feeling suspicious of a job advert. Data from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (London) reveals that most defrauded job-seekers are aged between 18 and 25. 

Employment scams occur when you respond to a job advert and go through the entire hiring process, only to realise later that the company doesn't exist. It is, therefore, best to glance over the company website and social media channels beforehand. 

Try to find the answers to these questions: Was the organisation incorporated recently? Does it have any negative reviews on employer review portals? 

Also, be aware of fake addresses and phone numbers. And if possible, get in touch with a current employee to establish that the company isn't bogus.

Student Circus takes care of these aspects for prospective job applicants. By providing filtered Skilled Worker Visa opportunities, it curates only the most credible and genuine opportunities for international students.


Pay Attention to Money Matters

We encourage applicants to make use of their University Careers Services for advice on career-related matters, for resources such as practice tests, or mock interviews. However, you may wish to use external help. It is common for external recruitment firms and career consultancies to charge a fee for their services. What's important to note is when and how they request this payment.

Career opportunity scams involve fraudsters charging an upfront fee for benefits that are never delivered. Untraceable methods like wire transfers make it easier for them to get around. Moreover, deceitful agencies can package freely available industry intel and sample tests into professional-looking templates. Hence, it is recommended to stay updated about the latest trends.


Ask for an Employment Contract 

You filled a questionnaire, went through a telephonic conversation, faced the final interview round, and got selected. Now the only thing left is to get on board as an employee and start working. But the agency asks you for one final thing: a visa accommodation fee, a deposit on accommodation, or another such payment. Before reaching this stage, you must probe whether you even received the employment contract or any official communication from the company about your hiring.


Written by Arushi Sharma

Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash


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