IT’S A SCAM: If a job advert has these red flags, then never apply for that job (See 7 tips)


When the going gets tough and desperate, people do ignore warning signs.

As the year reaches the halfway stage, many people in South Africa are still unemployed.

According to Stats SA, the unemployment rate climbed to a high 35.3% in the fourth term of 2021, up from 34.9% in the previous period.

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Sadly, there are people who are trying to take advantage of this dire situation, so there are red flags to consider when you’re applying for jobs.

The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) has warned the public of over 50 job scams claiming to be from the department.

The Director-general of DPSA, Yoliswa Makhasi, says adverts for administrative clerks and government vacancies that are making the rounds on social media are fake, and the websites are not affiliated with the department.

Here are some of the red flags you should look out for when you’re applying for jobs:

“The DPSA advises the public to be aware that, if they use third party websites, they might be exposed to phishing and breaches to their personal information,” said Makhasi.

Here are seven things to look out for when looking for a job to avoid scams:

1. The recruiter asks for a payment

A potential employer will never ask you for payment of any sort. Scammers lure people looking for work by asking them to pay for application fees, interviews, and other fictitious reasons.

A legitimate recruiter will simply ask you to show up and request information on your qualifications and job experience.

2. Unprofessional communication

The days of using only super-high-brow English may be over, but communication from an organisation in search of potential employees has remained formal.

Pay attention to the response you may have received from some companies; check the tone, grammar, spelling and punctuation.

3. Confidential information requested

In this digital age, we barely have privacy. It is common for companies to request your address, employment information and education level.

However, this can be highly suspicious if it comes from an organisation you have applied to if you have not gone through the recruitment process of being interviewed and vetted by them.

Never give out your personal information, as this can be sold to scammers.

4. There is no contact information for the company

Companies, no matter how small, have their contact information online.

If you conduct some research and find no trace of the organisation you have applied to, it is highly likely that you have applied for a position at a “ghost” company.

5. Vague/ broad job description

A posting of a job should be clear and highlight all the key points of the work a potential candidate will undertake.

Those who scam job seekers post vague requirements and job descriptions in order to catch as many unwitting victims as possible.

6. Being offered the job immediately

Recruiters go through dozens or even hundreds of applications before settling on those that will move on to the interview phase.

If you apply and receive a job offer right away, there might be something fishy going on.

Your qualifications, experience and other achievements may be stellar, but you still need to exercise caution before proceeding.

7. Extremely high pay for a junior/mid level position

It is obvious that some careers pay more than others; however, if the salary on offer is unbelievably high, it may be too good to be true.

We all want well-paying jobs, which makes this a very easy scam. Conduct research on how much the average salary is for someone in your field, with your level of experience.

However, do not pass up a great opportunity because of being overly cautious.

As the previous points have stated, look into the company, call them, and confirm that they do indeed have that specific job advertised with that salary.