Do Your Due Diligence: Research Potential Employers and Job Postings
There are several steps to searching for a job or internship and we are here to remind you that researching employers is an important element of your job search. Research is a process that should take place throughout your entire search. You may wonder to what extent you should be researching. While it is important to make sure it is a good fit and the position is one you can see yourself in, you also want to review the opportunities for legitimacy.
Does the position list the following…
• Qualifications and skills required
• Advancement opportunities
• Travel requirement
• Level of autonomy
• Transferable experiences
Does the employer’s website have the following…
• Organization size and structure
• Mission, values, and vision
• Company history
• Industry outlook
JOB POSTING AND BASIC INFORMATION
Job Postings should have the following information included to provide an accurate description of what you are applying to:
1. Heading and position information including title of position, pay grade/range, reporting relationship, schedule.
2. Summary of what the job entails
3. Minimum qualifications (i.e. education, experience, skills)
Some additional information the job posting may include:
1. Mission and vision of the organization
2. Culture and values of the organization
3. Preferred qualifications, listing the attributes of an ideal candidate
BEWARE OF FRAUDULENT OPPORTUNITIES
When you are completing a job or internship search you may come across a posting that seems too good to be true…incredible salary, flexible location, transferring money, purchasing gift cards online, vague or low level of responsibilities. However, we are here to remind you that if an opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is.
In career services, we call those who post fake listings ‘fraudulent employers’, and unfortunately, we have worked with students who have experienced negative interactions with these postings. Engaging with fraudulent employers typically has financial implications for students who are not well-versed on reading and reviewing job postings.
Here is a real-life example: recently, someone was posing as a University of Florida staff member in need of an assistant while he was out of the country providing services as a doctor. This person used what looked like an @ufl.edu email address. Once they made contact with a student, they changed email addresses to a Gmail account and began to instruct that person to deposit money through an “e-check” to start on some tasks. Additionally, the student was told to keep some of the money as “payment”.
There are several problems with this. Once the student deposited the check into their account, which is a large sum of money, they “withdrew” the funds to purchase iTunes gift cards or wire it to a different account for their employer. The catch is that the check is a fake and has no actual value. The student is now out of the money that was withdrawn (or “supplied”) to complete the task and the amount of the check. Per the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website about fake checks, “you’re out the money because the money you wired can’t be retrieved, and you’re responsible for the checks you deposit — even though you don’t know they’re fake.”
This is just one example of how someone pretends to provide our students with a job opportunity. Some fake employers even go the distance to say that they are with our Student Financial Aid. The University of Florida’s student employment office falls under Financial Affairs and it is unlikely that they will reach out to you.
Suggestions for Research of an Employer or Recruiter
1. Look at their organization’s website
2. Visit their LinkedIn profiles
3. Contact their human resources department
4. If it looks like outreach from a university department, look on the University of Florida jobs portal
5. If the position is not listed and someone with an “@ufl.edu” email reaches out advertising a position, look them up on the UF Directory and search the department for their name. You can always call the department to determine if the person works there and is actually looking for an assistant
Red flags to spot a fraudulent employer
1. You received a random email, or check, out of nowhere
2. The job only says that they need help, but there are no specific tasks or duties
3. The employer will only communicate via text or email but will not speak on the phone or meet in-person
4. The employer does not use a company email address, but communicates using a personal account and typically with poor grammar or spelling
5. They are sending you money without meeting in-person
6. You do not sign any formal hiring paperwork
7. They require that you purchase materials, software, equipment, etc. to begin your role
8. The employer indicates that they need a “virtual assistant”
9. The salary for the position is much higher than you might anticipate – for example, if they are advertising $30-$50 per hour to work “whenever you want,” that is likely not a legitimate offer
Action steps to take if you are contacted with an “opportunity” like this:
• Do NOT deposit any random checks that you receive in the mail without potential verification. Bring your suspicious checks to the bank to deposit, bank tellers are trained to identify fake checks
• Report potential fraudulent @ufl.edu emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and notify the Career Connections Center at HireGators@ufsa.ufl.edu to assist with the tracking of frequency
• If you have already lost money file a police report with the University Police Department.
If you are questioning a job posting and wondering if it is legitimate, let us help you. Send a note to HireGators@ufsa.ufl.edu for assistance.
Please note this information is for University of Florida students. If you have experienced a fraudulent job posting with another University, you will want to connect with your Career Center for more information and guidance.