Recruiting Scams: How-to spot them

Unfortunately, recruiting scam is a reality. Unfortunately scammers are always on the increase and fake job offerings do appear on job boards and on social media announcements. And they all have a few things in common- they pray on our need / hope / desire for employment or human greed combined with a desire for an easy job search; or they hope to find the few easily- trusting people among us – why wouldn\’t we believe in the good nature of our fellow human being?

But, sadly, plenty of unsuspecting job- hunters are being conned into parting with their hard earned & worked-for money, or becoming victims of identity theft – the new crime wave.

Here is a set of advices which might help you \’detect\’ the potential scam.

1. It is real and it is happening.
It might come in a lot of flavours. For example:

–They might be after your personal details including financial information like your banking accounts etc. Main purpose of it is ID-theft and they usually go after experienced professionals, the logic been that that for example a doctor or an engineer will have more money than a secretary or someone unemployed. In this version they will try to install a virus in your computer so they can steal all possible personal information, by asking you to download and filling an application form or their CV template. Be careful- no reputable agency will ever ask that or rather doubtful that they will have such an application for you to download.

–They ask you to pay a fee to process a visa or medical records (you can get / arrange for your own visa and medical exams- where and why will a recruiter have time to do these for you?) or some other type of high fee (usually a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand cedis)

Btw, it is always about a couple of hundred cedis minimum. Nobody will invest the time to scam you for just a few cedis.

2. No recruiter can guarantee you a job

Recruiters work for their clients not for their candidates. Sorry, but that is the truth. In extremely rare cases, a recruiter can find a job for a candidate.

I had recently one acquaintance who approached me for advice. Some recruiter in Takoradi had a 2000 cedis job for her, guaranteed, without the \’recruiter\’ or the potential employer having ever met and interviewed the candidate (she lives in Accra). She only had to pay 400 cedis by MTN and the job was her to start on Monday. Yes…sure… you offer someone a 2000 cedis Client Representative job (why such a high salary is another question), someone with no prior experience and someone you haven\’t even met and interviewed before… right… When something is too good to be true, walk away from it – please don\’t be tempted by greed.

Truth bite: with some of the clients we have worked before, they have learnt to trust our judgment, so we send them directly candidates to interview instead of CVs to check first. But the magic word is we send our pre-screened candidate to be interviewed first- the client always chooses whom they hire.

3. What to look for.

  • Google is your friend – check that person and their company- they should have at least a website. Do some research on the company please.
  • Unless that recruitment company is a few months old, they sound not be accepting CVs in a Gmail or a Yahoo account or something similar. For example we use All legitimate job- related emails should always come from corporate email accounts.
  • An unusual high salary. Without trying to be negative or pessimistic about it, there is a plethora of candidates, so why will any company offer above the market salaries? And no, there are no expat packages for secretaries or other non-senior level employees.
  • If you see a gmail account- send a simple hallo message. Does the image you see now on that account represent/ resemble that of a professional recruit or is it an add for selling real estate, medicine, handbags etc?
  • Check on LinkedIn. Does that company have a proper LinkedIn presence? Their own LinkedIn company page? How many employees? Keep in mind that if you decide to put as job- tittle on LinkedIn Head of IBM or any other big company, LinkedIn doe snot control weather tat is true. So you do have people pretending to be associate with respectable recruitment firms (we have seen plenty). Btw, does this person posts anything on recruitment topics? (ok, we do that a lot)
  • Truth is that the highest paid jobs are rarely available to people without relevant experience or qualification; yes it happens but these people are extremely experienced and have other sound professional qualifications.
  • If you see the phrase ‘no experience necessary’, you should have alarm bells going on and red lights flashing in your head, particularly if it comes with a salary and benefits package that doe snot match the seniority and complexity level of that role.
  • Ok…once in a while you might see the ‘no experience necessary’, but the phrase ‘entry-level’ is more likely to be used to describe an authentic job.
  • A legitimate recruiter has absolutely no reason to ask you for your banking details.
  • Scammers use legitimate websites to advertise. We see frequently ads even in places like Jobberman) asking for medical personnel for a new or well established hospital in an area… where no hospital even exists in 200 miles (as said, Google is your friend).
  • Language and manners of the recruiter. Be worry when you talk to someone uneducated and with no full proper manners. No reputable firm will let someone with zero- phone skills to answer their lines.
  • Work from home- get rich quick …job- offers? No comment. Use extremely critical thinking for that.
  • Be extremely cautious of emails or other communication full with grammatical and spelling mistakes (ok or two might be acceptable).
  • Request to hand out personal information. What good will it do to us at HIREghana to have your bank account, your driver license number, your National Health Insurance number, your tax-ID etc? How will these help us understand how good of a fit you are for a giver role?
  • Check Job-Title and job description. Sure there might be extra add-on tasks for a small company, but why will a big company be looking for accountants with JavaScript experience or IT developers with Windows XP experience?
  • Beware of fake corporate URLs (websites). Scammers often do buy fake domains and use this fake URLs to mask themselves as large well known companies. Anyone can get a domain like for example and even email you from Double check the URL, or the web address of the company- IBM (which we are not affiliate with but think o fit as a great company) has a different site and if you compare the read and fake sites, you will be able to tell the difference.
  • If you are requested to help any agency to sell or market their services or products (especially with no clear payment or even commission terms) before than can find you a job, that is a trick to basically get free labor from you or to hook you into something else or lead you to another level of scamming.
  • Also another rare form of scam: you qualify for the job, but you are missing a 2000-3000 specific training that they are about to sell you. Some of them are serious scammers, and the others (not the majority) unethical salespeople for that training company. Sometimes it is an idle recruiter trying to sell you services that his/her firm offers.
  • Finally there is the interview scam, where you are interviewed for example for a senior PhP Developer role, and suddenly the recruiter realizes how smart and unique you are and offers you to become partner of the company and Head of their Software Recruitment division for a couple of thousands of cedis. Besides scams, this may be happening in movies, but not in real life. Don\’t be that gullible please.

My own 2 recent examples.
I got contacted by Sayed from Peace Recruitment in Saudi Arabia to provide them personnel, a supposedly daughter company of Peace Recruitment in Scotland. When I contacted Mr. Peace, he has never heard of them not did they have any presence/office in that geography.

Similarly a Ghanaian fellow contacted us (he did not even bothered to find out that I run my own recruitment agency) offering jobs in Ghana or in the Gulf area for a well known Oil & Gas company. We contacted them- they do not operate in Ghana not do they had any connection with that individual nor had they asked anyone in Ghana to help them recruit for their Gulf operations.

In Conclusion.
Please exercise constantly critical thinking and don\’t let anyone sell you have fake hopes. Like everything else, it is too good to be true, it really is not true. Work hard in getting a job and do not get tempted by easy \’workarounds\’.

Thank you and Good Luck please.


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