If you’re currently looking for a job, you’ll want to know how to identify genuine employment opportunities. And if you’re called up for an interview, you have to be sure that the recruiter is legitimate.
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There’s been a rise in the number of scam interviews reported in Nigeria. Unfortunately, victims who honour these invitations have suffered varying degrees of loss or harm at the hands of the organizing scammers. The web is rife with these stories; they are often recounted offline as well.
Job seekers need to be careful about the vacancies they apply to fill, and the interview requests they receive. If you’re vigilant enough, you’ll spot the fraud when it appears, and avoid it.
But how can you tell that a job interview in Nigeria is fake?
Fake Job Interview Features You Should Watch Out For
Here are twelve common clues that a job interview invitation is a scam.
You Did Not Apply For The Job
This is fairly common. You could receive a phone call, SMS, an email, or Facebook message, asking that you attend an interview concerning a job you didn’t apply for. Don’t fall for these messages. Unless you have previously submitted an application or made your interest in the job known to the recruiter, you should not engage them.
The Invitation Is Not Personalized
If you’ve received an email inviting you to an interview, it should address you by name (or at least have your name somewhere in it). If it doesn’t- and if other things aren’t right about its source –then it’s likely a scam. The use of a generic title (e.g. Dear Sir or Dear Madam) could suggest that the sender emailed the message to random recipients, perhaps without knowing their names.
The ‘Recruiter’s’ Email Has A Reference Code
Many scam job interview emails contain so-called reference codes, e.g. REF=1008 or HR=0009. Real interview invitations do not have these codes. It’s been suggested that scammers use these numbers to assign victims to specific members of their fraudster teams.
The ‘Recruiter’ Gets Your Personal Details Wrong
People who have been called up by fake recruiters often note this as the red flag that gave the poser away. This doesn’t always become obvious right away. In some cases, the scammer provides inaccurate information about their respondents (such as a wrong surname, location, or other personal data) only after being questioned by them.
Company Uses Unofficial Communication Channels
Expect interview invitations from an address that takes the form firstname.lastname@example.org, where ‘Seven Hague’ is the recruiting company’s name. Be extra careful if they’re using a private email address (e.g. email@example.com).
Professional hiring companies won’t connect with you on Facebook messenger or WhatsApp at the first instance. Beware ‘interviewers’ whose first contact with you is via those platforms.
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They Come Off As Secretive
Authentic companies should not have a problem explaining themselves to potential recruits. If you find that the hiring party is vague about who they are and what they do, or if they are refusing to clarify important details about themselves, you should be suspicious of their motives.
The Job Requires Way More Experience Than You Have
Be wary when you’re asked to interview for the position of MD at the NNPC when your entire work experience has only been five years as an accountant at a small retailer. When the ‘interview’ is for a job that’s far off your current career tangent, it’s almost definitely a fraud.
You Are Asked To Pay A Fee
No company worth their salt will ask you to pay any fees before an interview. If a representative of a supposed ‘hiring firm’ requests payments before interviewing you, it’s almost certain that the so-called representative is trying to swindle you or do something even worse.
The ‘Recruiter’ Gives Off A Sense Of Urgency
Legitimate companies won’t be in a hurry to interview you (unless you’re an exceptional talent). There are probably several others waiting to take the job they’ve advertised, so they can afford to skip you. If a supposed recruiter repeatedly emphasizes the limited timeframe you have to apply or get interviewed, you have a right to be sceptical of them.
Sketchy Information About The Interview Location
Do a quick Google search on the supposed interview location (and its immediate environment). Companies almost always interview at their own premises, so you’ll want to look out for this. If the search doesn’t provide any clarity, you may ask the general public about it on social media or other online forms. Their feedback you get could save you a lot of trouble.
Company Denies Recruiter Or Recruitment Exercise
This assumes that you’ll contact the recruiting company to verify that they actually invited you to an interview. You should do this if you’re uncertain about the identity of their supposed agent. Sometimes, fake recruiters pretend to act on behalf of real companies; in these instances, calling or emailing the firm about it may reveal the truth about the scammers.
Numerous Negative Reviews
Online forums can be helpful in this regard. If you have misgivings about a recruiter, you can check platforms like Nairaland for reviews on them. The abundance of negative claims about their ‘hiring’ practice could indicate that they’re best avoided.
Con artists are always on the prowl, and job seekers are among their biggest targets. Have your guards up, and take the right precautions at any point of a recruitment process. Note that false hiring drives don’t have to exhibit all or most of the features mentioned in this article. Sometimes, just a single problematic detail is enough to expose them.
Even if you’ve verified that an interview is legitimate, inform your friends or loved ones about your itinerary before attending it. Hopefully, you’ll find the things we’ve shared here useful in your efforts to stay safe.
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