Nowadays, nearly every one I know and their mama is looking for a job. Job searching used to mean scanning the classifieds in your local paper, but these days your job search probably means a lot of time spent on the Internet. And the Internet is a fabulous place to find the latest job listings from companies right next door or all the way around the world.
If a good portion of your day is spent refreshing the pages on Craigslist, you have probably seen some listings that seem too good to be true. Maybe your intuition has told you to be wary, but with more and more Americans running out of their unemployment benefits, you may just feel desperate enough to lower your guard and take the risk. Unfortunately, you don’t have to look too hard to find stories of crimes that began with contact through websites like Craigslist.
A visit to the Craigslist safety page gives you the following safety tips & information:
The overwhelming majority of craigslist users are trustworthy and well-intentioned.
With billions of human interactions facilitated through craigslist, the incidence of violent crime has been extremely low.
Nevertheless, it’s very important to take the same common sense precautions online as you would offline.
When meeting someone for the first time, please remember to:
- Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe
- Tell a friend or family member where you’re going
- Take your cell phone along if you have one
- Consider having a friend accompany you
- Trust your instincts
Taking these simple precautions helps make craigslist safer for everyone.
For more information about personal safety online, check out these resources:
These are good tips, especially for meeting someone off the personal ads, but how can we apply this information to job searching?
Since your first contact with someone posting a job listing online is probably through email, consider opening a free email account solely for the purpose of job searching. You can create a professional looking email without using your last name for example: firstname.lastname@example.org. This way if the listing is an email phishing scam, you won’t have your regular email pounded with spam. Likewise, you can use an answering service so that you don’t have to give out your actual phone number and a PO Box for a mailing address. Maybe you have a few friends that could benefit from this as well? Split the costs! For more information about cyber-safe resumes check out: Job Hunt.org.
By the time you agree to a face-to-face interview with someone, you should have learned the name of the company and hopefully received a job description. Be sure to check the Better Business Bureau for details about the company. You can confirm the legitimacy of the business and find out a lot about how they run their business by the number and type of complaints issued against them. You’ll want to find out as much as you can about the company before heading to the interview not only to assure your safety, but also to give the best and most knowledgeable interview that you can.
When you arrive for your interview, make sure the business appears legitmate and play close attention to your intuition. Certainly, tell friends and family where you are going and take your cell phone along. Just don’t forget to silence it for your interview. There is nothing wrong with having a friend go with you on an interview as long as they stay out of sight (maybe in the car or at a nearby coffee shop). Hopefully, by this point, you have done your research on the company and are ready to get that job!