Statistics on job recruiter scams are hard to come by, but both attorneys and employers would do well to learn how to verify a recruiter and how to know if a recruiter is legit. Legal recruiters are supposed to make the search for a new position easier — but legal professionals often learn that a surprising number of recruiters are peddling frauds instead of jobs. This article will detail some of the warning signs candidates should look out for regarding fake recruiters and how to verify that a position is real.
Red Flags Candidates Should Be Aware Of
When something awful happens either in an individual’s life, to a business, or in a society, it doesn’t occur in a vacuum. There are signs, although often people don’t recognize their presence until it’s too late. In this section, we will detail some of the signs that tell you how to know if a recruitment agency is legit — or isn’t.
Being too good to be true
Job opportunities typically fall into the pattern of a normal distribution; the vast majority of opportunities will fall into a middling range with a distinct minority being incredibly poor or surprisingly excellent. If a recruiter leads with an opportunity that includes short hours and amazing benefits from a prestigious firm, that should trigger your internal alarms.
Handing you the job offer right away
Similarly, legal jobs are highly prized and generally well paid. They do not fall Newton-like onto your head, ready to be scooped up with minimal effort. Legitimate jobs require careful candidate examinations by employers. If you’re immediately offered a position and you’re wondering how to tell if an online job is legit, know that it probably isn’t.
Promises of guaranteed pay
Continuing in the vein of overpromising, guarantees of any sort of recompense as part of the application should clue you in that something is wrong. Potential employees have to wade through numerous applications, and they simply can’t offer recompense for everyone.
Unusual job descriptions
Does the job description seem a little … off? Does it fail to use common legal terms correctly? Is the verbiage off, the grammar spotty, the sentences not composed by a native speaker. All of these are warning signs.
Emails look unprofessional
Scammers put a lot of effort into parting you from your money, but they aren’t necessarily able to pull off professional content and an appropriate tone. The same isn’t true for legitimate recruiters.
Interviews through messaging
We always urge clients to conduct interviews in person if possible. Video interviews via Zoom, Skype or other similar programs are also quite commonplace these days. However, if you’re being urged to interview via text/direct message or through a seemingly random messaging app, you should be concerned. This is one of the quickest ways to spot a scammer.
Asking for account or financial information
It’s fine for a recruiter to ask you questions about what kind of salary you’d like or your preferred incentive structure. That’s normal material that a recruiter should know. But a real recruiter would never ask for your Social Security number, driver’s license, bank account info, or credit card number.
Not able to find them online
Recruiters thrive on publicity, on candidates being able to easily locate and speak with them. An inability to discover your supposed legal recruiter online likely means that you’ve unearthed a scam.
No proper contact information
Let’s say that you’re able to locate the website of your potential recruiter. It seems well designed, features smart-looking pictures of professional people — and a distinctive lack of contact information other than a single email address. Or it has an address and phone number, but when you run it through a search engine, it returns the name of a completely unrelated business. These are signs that the legal recruiter you’re dealing with isn’t actually a recruiter at all.
Trust That Feeling in Your Gut
The British scientist and philosopher Michael Polanyi argued that some forms of knowledge can’t be easily codified and are implicitly comprehended rather than explicitly expressed. This concept would encompass ideas such as intuition — which is exactly what you should be paying attention to when considering the legitimacy of a legal recruiter. If your intuition is screaming at you to run away, you’re probably implicitly matching issues up against your past experience and discovering incongruities. In such instances, you’d do well to trust that feeling in your gut.
Vetting Legal Recruiters When Applying for Jobs
While it’s important to understand how to identify unethical individuals posing as legal recruiters, there are some specific steps you should take to verify that the person you’re considering working with is legitimate. Continue reading to learn more.
Step #1: Say “no” to requests for money
If a recruiter asks you to pay a fee or some other kind of renumeration, don’t walk away: Run, instead. True recruiters get paid by the firm, not the applicant. There’s no reason whatsoever for them to ask you for funds. If someone is asking you for money, you know that it’s a scam.
Step #2: Research the company online and via social media
Although we alluded to this above, it bears repeating. You ought to do a deep dive on any legal recruiters that you’re considering hiring. Make sure they have websites. Make sure they have a presence on social media and professional associations, particularly The National Association of Legal Search Consultants (NALSC). Being featured on and/or verified by a reputable directory, such as The Legal Recruiter Directory will also go a long way in proving validity.
Make sure that presence goes back more than a few weeks. You want to work with established recruiters, and it’s awfully hard to fabricate a long-running digital footprint.
Step #3: Cross reference details with results from research
The old proverb states that the devil is in the details, and as you investigate your preferred recruiter, make sure that all those details line up. Does the email come from a free provider that anyone can sign up for? Does the address on the website seem to match up with multiple businesses (a sure sign that at least some of them are fakes)? Do you fail to find the company on established sites for job seekers? Do they contact you out of the blue and offer you a job without an interview? None of these things should happen when you’re working with a true professional.
Step #4: Always check known scam lists
The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission maintain lists of known scammers and bad-faith actors who seek to prey on the unwary. Make use of their records and expertise.
Step #5: Take a look for grammatical errors and inconsistencies
No one writes perfectly all of the time, and an occasional typo or poorly worded phrase shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. However, if the verbiage you’re reading simply sounds off, that may be because the person who wrote it doesn’t speak English as a first language — and if he or she is representing himself or herself as a native speaker, then that individual’s credibility is in doubt.
When you need to find a legitimate legal recruiter, look no further than the Legal Recruiter Directory. We’re the most reputable and comprehensive directory you’ll find — guaranteed.