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How to stay safe when looking for jobs online

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Jan 31, 2024 2:16 pm

Job hunting is already hard enough, but put malicious scammers and bad actors into the mix and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster.

Now that seeking out job opportunities has significantly shifted into the online sphere, many applicants are spending more time scouring through social media to find the perfect job for them. But the online world can be a risky place for applicants, and if you’re not too savvy with these things, you may be reeled in by an offer that you’ll soon come to regret.

During the launch of SEEK’s new platform to help customers find jobs and talent more easily, SEEK Asia’s Head of Fair Hiring Scott Stiles shared with the media including PhilSTAR L!fe some tips on what to look out for when it comes to job hunting.

“The reality is bad actors are going to continue to try to insert themselves and connect with people,” Stiles stressed. “One of the critical elements of solving these problems is that we create awareness.”

Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

Professional communication

In evaluating whether an offer is legitimate, one of the important tell-tale signs is if the company is using professional means of communication to offer you that position. Case in point, many WhatsApp users have been complaining of receiving unsolicited messages that are often disguised as enticing job offers, only to end up being scams.

“Most job offers don't come from random social media or text messages from somebody you never talked to or thought of before. Too many people are falling for scams like that,” Stiles said.

Realistic and believable job offer

If an opportunity sounds too good to be true, then it most probably is.

Even if you’re feeling desperate to land a job that has seemingly perfect compensation, you shouldn't get ahead of yourself and still try to discern whether the position, salary and other benefits are realistic enough to be genuine. 

You should also check with other offers and see if the perks are still more or less in line with the industry’s standards.

Relevant and clear job description

According to Stiles, a lot of scammers are using very vague job descriptions to trick people into applying for them.

“It's like, we want a worker or we want a person that's good with people, but what they're really doing is they're just trying to cast as big a net as they can so they can get as many potential people that they could exploit,” he warned.

Thus, it’s crucial that you determine the essential responsibilities for a vacant position. This generally includes the job title, job purpose, job duties and responsibilities, required qualifications, preferred qualifications, and working conditions.

Reputable online presence

Just like how scammers hide behind fake identities online, some malicious entities also put up a farce of being a trustworthy company or hiring agent.

Stiles cautioned that if a company doesn’t have its own website, that’s a cause for concern, so you should always check if a company has a reputable presence online that matches with the industry that they're in before entertaining them.

If you’re on the hunt for a job, SEEK announced that it has merged its Asia Pacific employment marketplaces—SEEK, Jobstreet, and Jobsdb—to operate under a single platform powered by world-class AI technology, while still retaining their brands.

The move comes as SEEK aims to provide more jobs to Filipinos in a more convenient manner after the Philippine Statistics Authority announced that the country’s unemployment rate is at 3.6 percent in November 2023.

The new platform allows for an easier job-hunting process as its AI feature can match applicants to jobs they are most qualified for based on their experience and skills. For employers, AI can assess whether the talent is suitable for the position by processing data from various sources, including resumes, job ad descriptions, and the employer’s past behaviors.

With the larger dataset acquired across the Asia Pacific region, SEEK’s AI algorithms are touted to provide relevant matches between employers and talent, speeding up the hiring process on its Jobstreet and Jobsdb platforms.

You can experience the new platform by visiting the Jobstreet website or downloading the app.