Phishing Disguised As Vacancies

cautionYou can’t be too careful when you’re giving away your personal details, even when you’re applying for jobs. Luckily, some of our postgrads are on the ball, so I was grateful to one of the postgrad blog readers for raising some “unease” about one of the vacancies we’d advertised.

We had a named contact, an e-mail address, a website, a physical address, a PDF with details of the vacancy and the instructions on how to apply – e-mail a CV, covering letter and photo. However, a bit more digging around the internet, by someone interested in applying, found nothing about the organisation on the web beyond the single webpage, so they alerted us.

I can’t be sure that the organisation isn’t perfectly legit, so I won’t be naming them here, but we’ve deleted the vacancy, and we’ll look at putting extra checks in place when we get a vacancy from a new organisation. (If you’re worried, it was for an internship targeted at life sciences but it’s no longer listed on our current vacancies.)

Spotting Dodgy Vacancy Ads

Obviously we don’t want to turn down genuine vacancies in this employment climate, but that’s exactly what fraudsters will play on when trying to get hold of your details. We can’t guarantee all the jobs we advertise, but we do check basic details for all vacancies. For example, someone we don’t know, who sends a vacancy with just an e-mail address for contact details wouldn’t even get considered for listing. It’s also a recurring headache, trying to differentiate the genuine vacancies for tutors (often suitable for part-time jobs for postgrads) from the “we’ll write your essays for a fee” companies (which obviously never promote their vacancies in those terms).

We have more information on Spotting Scam Jobs to help you when you’re looking at ads elsewhere, but if you have any concerns about a job ad you see on our website, do let us know as soon as possible so we can investigate and if necessary, withdraw the advert immediately.

Grey Areas?

We also try to weed out any potentially discriminatory advertising hype when we précis the wording of ads sent to us, which has led to heated debate, particularly given the introduction of age discrimination legislation.

What are your views on the use of terms like “enthusiastic” and “energetic”?

I find it downright insulting that these are seen as potentially discriminating against older people (speaking as an older person myself – well, older than most of our undergrads anyway) but we do seem to opt for draining the life out of some of our ads. However, a new database system we’re considering may soon allow us to offer you both the short, “Careers Service approved” wording alongside the original “hyped to the skies” version of vacancy ads.

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