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Distinguish your legitimate <br />job ad from a scam

You're recruiting for a great company and have a terrific job to offer. But something's not working. While you know there are talented candidates out there, you're getting people with spotty work histories and off-target skills. Could it be that your ad isn't being taken seriously?

Unfortunately, the explosive growth in online employment advertising has had an unintended consequence: Scammers have swarmed into cyberspace, peddling phony "get-rich-quick" schemes that victimize unsuspecting job seekers and genuine employers.

The job of the savvy recruiter or employer is to be sure that your company's ad passes the sniff test. You can do that by focusing on the things that mark your ad as legitimate and avoiding anything that could be misinterpreted. Here are five strategies to help your ads rocket past the riffraff:

  • If possible, provide the name of your company or staffing service. While there may be legitimate reasons for withholding this information, some candidates will not apply to an unidentified business. They may be concerned the ad is bogus or it will end up somewhere they don't want it to go, like their boss's inbox.
  • Make sure your corporate identity hasn't been hijacked. Scammers have become increasingly sophisticated, creating Web sites that replicate a genuine site, right down to the design, logo and typeface. Then they run ads using the faux version of your site (with a fake URL) to attract applicants. Stay alert to misuse of your corporate identity, and take action when someone submits a resume or calls requesting further information about a job you haven't advertised.
  • More and more companies are using their ads to not only fill positions but to market themselves. That's generally a smart move, but there is a danger of using inappropriate language, particularly for entry-level jobs. The job may be a "great opportunity for the right person" or a "chance to break into the exciting world of entertainment," but you don't necessarily want to pitch it that way. Instead, be sure your ads follow standard protocol, specifying necessary skills, education and experience.
  • While the job you're advertising may offer some flexibility in terms of telecommuting, scheduling or other accommodations, that shouldn't be the focus of your ad. Once you find qualified candidates with the right skills and experience, you can work with them to see which of those options make sense. Scam ads almost always start out by declaring that candidates can work from home or in their spare time.
  • Be vigilant about where you post your ads. Verify the site's privacy policy as well as its procedures for weeding out fraudulent posters. Some sites also have policies that allow only prescreened companies to post ads. While the big, well-known sites may offer maximum reach, the sheer volume of ads makes them harder to police. Depending on your industry and the level of the position, it may be safer and more effective to use niche sites that are targeted to specific professions.

- Cindy Somers is an owner of Spherion Staffing Services in Champaign. She can be reached at (217) 359-4488 or

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