Is this a fake recruiter? 6 recruitment scam red flags

December 1, 2020

Recruitment scam red flags

When conducting a job search, it’s not uncommon to be inundated with job offers from several different recruiters.

But unfortunately, not all of these are who they say they are...

Some scammers pose as recruiters to access your personal information and sometimes even your bank details.

These recruitment scams can be difficult to spot, as the perpetrators often use information from real companies and resume details they found online. This makes the job offers sound convincing.

However, there are ways to spot the signs and avoid falling for a recruitment scam. We’ve put together some top tips to help job seekers determine whether you’re dealing with a fake recruiter:

Looking for genuine jobs? Visit our job board


Six red flags that suggest a potential job scam

1. Emails from a free account

Be wary of recruiters using free web e-mail accounts from services like Gmail or Hotmail as opposed to using a business email address to contact you.

There may also be tell-tale signs within the email itself, too. While some scammers may send out well-written emails, many will seem unprofessional. 

If the email contains excessive spelling or punctuation mistakes, incorrect capitalization, or grammatical errors, it could be from a fake recruiter.

It’s also important to consider attachments sent in emails. If you are unsure about the legitimacy of the file, use a virus scanner before opening it. Some scammers may send attachments that contain viruses designed to corrupt your device and extract personal information.

2. Asking for money or unnecessary personal information before submitting your application

While discussing job opportunities, you should not be asked for payment before being submitted.

Some scammers might ask you to set up a new bank account and give them the details, or send you to a website and fill out a credit report form. In these instances, the scammer might say that they need your details to put you onto the company insurance.

Genuine recruiters may ask for your contact details, an up-to-date resume, references, and salary expectations. However, they should always be open and honest about why they need these details. They should never ask you to transfer any money before starting the recruitment process.

You should never give out your full Social Security Number or date of birth before being successfully securing a new position and starting the onboarding process.

If a “recruiter” asks you to fill out a form, always check that the website they send you to is secure. You can do this by looking at the web address bar. If the URL begins with HTTP:// then it isn’t secure; only HTTPS:// sites are secure.

3. Recruiters being evasive when asked about the job in question

Recruiters should always be knowledgeable about the job they’re recommending. If they seem vague, fail to answer your questions properly, or gloss over the finer details, this should set off alarm bells.

If they’re unable to answer your questions in a satisfactory way, it’s a sign that they might not be who they say they are.

That said, sometimes genuine recruiters have a confidential role and can’t disclose the name of the client. Nevertheless, they should still have knowledge of the industry and will disclose as much information about the role as they can.

4. Fake job offers that sound too good to be true

Scammers will make their job offers as appealing as possible to entice people to share information with them. Be on your guard if they present a job opportunity that seems too good to be true.


Whilst most job descriptions tend to highlight the benefits of a role, fake descriptions may have an abnormally long list. They may also say ‘no experience necessary and have shorter hours than would be expected of the role in question.

5. Instantly offering a high salary

Similar to the point above, fake job offers tend to include unrealistically high salaries. For example, a starting job salary that is 50-100% above the average rate is unlikely to be real.

If the salary offered seems at odds with the job role, it’s worth questioning whether the job is part of a scam.

6. Offering you the job without an interview

Some scammers may even offer you the job without even putting you through for an interview. Some will go further and have an interview with you on the phone, but this won’t be with the company ‘hiring’, you’ll just speak to the fake recruiter.

Another tactic scammers use is to invite you to an online job interview using an unfamiliar or insecure messaging service. Scammers can obtain your details by asking you to set up an account on the online chat platform. It is recommended that you research any software or websites you are invited to sign up to.

Part of a genuine recruiter's job is to spend time ensuring you’re the right fit for the company that’s hiring. If they offer you the role without even putting you through for an interview, chances are it’s a scam.

How to know if a recruitment agency is legitimate

It might seem scary that people would go to these lengths to scam somebody, but luckily, there are several ways to check whether a recruitment agency is genuine:

Ask the right questions

Regardless of whether a recruiter is legitimate or not, you should always ask questions when discussing a role. However, this is especially important if you suspect you're being targeted by a job recruiter scam.

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Good questions to ask in this situation include:

  • Have you placed any previous candidates with your client?
  • What can you tell me about the company’s culture?
  • What opportunities are there for growth in this role?
  • Please can you tell me more about the role?
  • How long has the company been operating?

Legitimate agencies always invest time and effort into the recruitment process and, even if the role is confidential, should be able to answer the majority of your questions.

Check their LinkedIn profile

If you get contacted by a recruiter, your first port of call should always be LinkedIn. If their profile doesn’t have a lot of connections or has incomplete information, this could be a warning sign that it's a fake recruitment agency.

Copy the recruiter’s profile photo and text from their bio and paste it into a Google Search. Scammers often steal information from real recruiters in order to create their own illegitimate profiles.

Finally, make sure the recruiter's LinkedIn profile is connected to their agency’s corporate page. If it isn’t, this could suggest that they don’t really work for an official firm.

Let Airswift help you find your next job

Airswift is a trusted global recruitment agency with more than 40 years of experience in helping candidates find their perfect roles within the energy, process, and infrastructure industries.

We have a team of international specialist recruiters that sit in different countries and you can be assured that we are trusted worldwide. A global team allows us to provide more coverage around the world and an international perspective of the market and opportunities for candidates.

If you ever have concerns, or doubts about the legitimacy of an Airswift recruiter, remember to check for red flags. We will only contact you from an email address and our recruiters can be found and vetted on LinkedIn as Airswift employees.

If you’re ready to find your next role, we’d love to help! Check out our jobs board for all the latest opportunities from around the world.

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This post was written by: Airswift