Recruitment processes can be stressful at the best of times, but especially when pandemic-induced layoffs are taking place and financial security is on the line.
The Great Resignation saw 3.9 million people quit their jobs in June 2021 alone. And they’re not the only ones: 41% of workers worldwide admit they’re ready to leave their jobs. With workers changing jobs at such a high rate, scammers have spotted a massive potential pool of victims—and an opportunity to take advantage of hybrid working models and virtual hiring processes.
With technology advancement and social media at everyone’s fingertips, scams are becoming increasingly more elaborate. But why target job seekers?
What are HR impersonation scams and how can you avoid them?
While impersonation scams aren’t new, the novelty in these recent scams is that they have expanded beyond traditional mediums and into social media and 1:1 messaging. Real HR employees are being impersonated in fictitious job offers sent on social platforms in a scheme to ultimately get targets to share confidential information.
Recently, Hootsuite has seen an unprecedented influx of reports about scammers preying on potential candidates by impersonating recruiters and hiring managers. Scammers are using Hootsuite branding on fake social media profiles to legitimize their conversations with these individuals. A few scammers were also reported to have conducted online interviews and offered jobs on behalf of Hootsuite to gain access to victims’ personal information such as Social Insurance Numbers, bank account info, addresses, and in some cases, even payment.
Nowadays, it is not uncommon for recruiters and hiring managers to reach out through LinkedIn if your profile matches a position they are looking to fill. That being said, job seekers should be extra vigilant when connecting with any recruiter on social media and do their research – not only on the company, but the recruiter as well.
Not sure what to look for? Read on to find out what Hootsuite has uncovered as the most common red flags in these scams.
Is a recruiter legitimate?
A legitimate recruiter will have a well-established LinkedIn profile, with old and recent account activity, a profile picture, etc. Be skeptical of a recruiter whose profile was created only a couple days ago and who has not been very active on the platform.
Is the role legitimate?
Real recruiters will provide adequate information on the role they’re reaching out about. To ensure the role is legitimate, ask the recruiter for a link to the posting on the company’s job board—and proceed with caution if there isn’t one.
Is the recruiter using a personal email address?
Any recruiter will keep the interaction on LinkedIn brief and request to communicate through email. Be wary of a recruiter who uses a personal email address (check for domains like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.). Like most established companies, Hootsuite recruiters will always use their corporate email address.
Where is the interview taking place?
If a recruiter asks to connect through an encrypted platform, such as Telegram, it’s safe to assume that they aren’t legitimate. These end-to-end encrypted platforms provide a space for scams to be carried out without a trace, making it difficult to investigate and prosecute the scammers.
Is confidential information being requested prematurely?
Under no circumstances should a job seeker provide a recruiter with personal information (like a SIN) or any form of payment during the hiring process. If they ask for it, it’s a sign to run.
Across all North American industries, 36.5% of businesses have laid off at least one employee since the start of the pandemic. In Canada, that’s led to a consistent increase in job vacancies over the last two years – a breeding ground for scammers to exploit individuals.
But, as with any online scheme, pausing for a moment and going with gut instinct can go a long way. No matter how elaborate the schemes get, instincts should be trusted. If there is an uneasy or uncomfortable feeling while talking to a recruiter or suspect a scam is in play, take that feeling seriously.
Job seekers with any doubts or concerns about a Hootsuite recruiter or employee are encouraged to get in touch immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.