We live in a world dominated by the blessings of Information Technology. As more and more businesses and people experience the exposure to the Internet connectivity, our reliance on advanced technology is increasingly becoming necessary. A lot of tasks which were done manually in the past now seem unimaginable without the utilization of modern technology. Searching for jobs, and qualified candidates for them, is one of such subjects.
While online job platforms have helped a lot of employees and employers alike, no medium is void of noise. In the case of social platforms dedicated for connecting organizations to prospective job applicants, major sources of such noise can be non-verifiable exaggerations on the part of both sides, lack of exposure or reachability, and our main topic for this discussion – fake job postings, among several others.
LinkedIn – a world-famous social network meant for professionals – is not free from such pitfalls either. LinkedIn has introduced a number of features in the recent past to facilitate posting and searching of jobs and for professionals, but people with ulterior motives have found ways to lure people with fake job opening announcements here as well.
How to Spot a Job Opening Which is Possibly a SHAM
Here are some examples of what a dubious job announcement on LinkedIn can look like:
What do all these LinkedIn posts have in common, apart from offering lucrative offers in UAE? Consider:
These posts mention no particular industry for which the supposed job is being announced but contain vague terms or multiple professions
These posts either do not mention a specific way to apply for the vacancy or ask the LinkedIn user to “Like” or “Comment” on the post, or join some internal or external group
The users who posted these announcements do not have a specified/verifiable employer
Now take a look at the number of responses these posts have gotten: over 27,000 likes, and 37,500+ comments, between just three posts! One might wonder if there is more to this than what’s apparent. Unless securing a job in Dubai has become as easy as Liking a post on LinkedIn, there definitely is more to this story.
It has become a trend of late on LinkedIn for a great many users to write dubious posts which seem to announce mass job openings and encourage the readers to Like or Comment on said posts. A profile review is promised in return, and the hope for a job in case the profile matches certain criteria. The problems in the overall scenario, however, are that no one knows what exactly the criteria are, no offer is extended, and all those Likes and Comments are left suspended in the cyberspace.
First off, no recruiter in the world has enough time to go through that many applicants, so anyone who sifts through posts to find one like it is simply wasting his/her time. Moreover, where it gets even more serious is that people even give personal information (like phone numbers) in reply to these posts without sparing any thought for consequences. This trend has caught on so much so that some people have taken to mock it by creating a parody of such posts, and behold: people commenting on these parody posts all the same — by thousands, without even reading them completely:
How many people cared enough to read the complete post as depicted in the above photo? Not a lot, apparently.
But Why Post an Opening When There is No Job?
A fake recruitment call can be posted for one or more of several reasons:
For increased visibility: As the job posts get thousands of “Likes” and “Comments”, subsequently the person who posted it will also gain “profile views” on the same scale, which will make it highly likely that the person will fare better in the LinkedIn search, “profile views” rank, the list of applicants for LinkedIn jobs, and “People Also Viewed” sidebar.
To build LinkedIn network: People who work or wish to work in HR domain will add as many people as possible to their connections, and can later exploit that number to their own ends.
To build a pool of resumes: In some cases, HR personnel/firms can build a pool of resumes by using this technique and use them later on for future projects, as they are hired by organizations on project-basis. This helps them as they are able to provide suitable candidates to organizations on short notices.
To collect personal information: In case you didn’t know, you can export the details like full name and e-mail addresses of all of your LinkedIn connections with a single click. Moreover, some of the posts (like the one shown below) ask the commenters to share their mobile phone numbers so that they can be added to some WhatsApp group (Fun fact: You can only add a maximum of 100 participants in a WhatsApp group). Needless to say, this can most likely be a trick to collect the numbers of as many people as possible, and you don’t have to be very creative to think of the ways a scammer might use the combination of your full name, e-mail address, and phone number. Some people even mention their residential addresses on their CVs and circulate them, which can only make things worse.
For marketing purposes: Selling personal information like e-mail addresses and phone numbers of people in mass quantities has become a common trade these days. Victims of such practices face spam mails and messages in most cases, which is about the least harmful thing that can happen to them.
Now that we’ve seen how and why these bogus job posts work, let’s conclude by revising a few generic pieces of advice for those who are likely to fall for such scams:
When on a job-hunt, never circulate your resumes like paper planes in a kindergarten class. Narrow down your choices of employers and be selective about who you send your CV and personal details to.
Even for the legitimate organizations, there is no need to mention your residential address on CV unless they explicitly ask for it; an e-mail address would suffice in most cases for future correspondence.
Use your better judgment to ascertain if the job post could be legitimate, especially on social media like LinkedIn. If it fails to mention a job description or requirements, only asks for personal information to get started, or lists ambiguous salary ranges, then it most certainly is a scam.
When online, do not feed the trolls. If Likes and Comments guaranteed anyone a job, no one would be jobless in the world.
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