Dear J.T. & Dale: How can you tell if a job is a scam? I recently got an email from a recruiter claiming he had what seemed like the perfect job opportunity for me. But when I took a closer look at his email address, it didn’t match the name of the company. And I tried to look him up on LinkedIn, but couldn’t find someone with his name working there. I don’t want to lose out on the job if it’s legit, but I’m afraid if I ask him for proof that he works there, he’ll take me out of the running. – Gino
J.T.: It definitely sounds like a scam. There are a lot of them as a result of the crisis. Sadly, these types of events cause some people to do terrible things.
DALE: Speaking of terrible scams, last year the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against a company that used fake emails, websites and corporations to lure in job seekers, convincing them they were strong candidates for an executive position. After the “candidates” paid $1,200 to $2,500 for résumé and recruiting services, some of them were then invited in for interviews – sham interviews, no real jobs involved.
That’s an extreme case, of course; the more common scams involve luring people into giving up personal information for “background checks.” That’s why you were wise, Gino, to be aware of the dangers and to do the checking you did. If you know the recruiting company to be legit, you might call their offices and ask for the person who has contacted you and see what happens.
J.T.: Further, a reputable recruiter will have no problem proving who they work for. They’ll respect you for caring enough to confirm. Simply say: “I see you are using your personal email for communications, and I can’t seem to locate your LinkedIn profile. I hope you can understand, but I’ve been told there are a lot of scams going on right now with respect to job seekers. I’m sure you aren’t one of them, but would you be so kind as to share with me some proof you work for the company?” If the recruiter gets angry, defensive or dodges the question, then I’d pass on the opportunity.
Dear J.T. & Dale: My employer of 20 years has been shut down due to COVID-19, and I just heard that the owners don’t plan to re-open it. I assumed I’d work there until my retirement – which was supposed to be in two years. Who is going to hire me now? What tips do you have for someone like me, who hasn’t looked for a job in decades? – Adele
DALE: You know what spreads faster than a virus? Rumors. So I’d start by having a heart-to-heart with your employer. After all, you’ve been with them for 20 years, they should level with you. More than that, if they really do plan to close the company, they may also have a plan to start something new in its place; perhaps they could slide you into that new venture. If nothing else, they may have connections with other employers that might open some doors for you.
J.T.: But assuming the company is actually closing permanently and leaving you without a job, I would start by contacting competitors to your former company. They will know the value of being able to grab top talent from your former employer. If there aren’t any, then work with someone to inventory your skills and map out possible career pivots.
With 20 years of experience, you just need to focus on the problems you solve for employers. The more you can articulate how you save or make a company more than enough money to justify the cost of hiring you, the more in demand you’ll be. It’s all in how you choose to market yourself. Are you the talented person who is unexpectedly available to some lucky company, or are you the outdated employee who is damaged goods and doesn’t deserve a job? It’s up to you to convey the right message!
Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.” Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2020 by King Features Syndicate Inc.