63 days ago

Warning about Scam Job Sites - a Black hole for Job Applications

Kirsty from Otumoetai

Tauranga recruitment agency One21 warns job-hunters to be wary of applying online through fake job-sites.

These websites appear legitimate as they display real NZ vacancies and well-known brands and banner ads flash across their pages. Yet they ‘scrape’ these vacancies from other job boards and use them to capture the details of people seeking employment. One of these non-secure sites Hiree Jobs.co.nz hide their identity through a paid offshore service and are associated with a number of high risk countries.

Kirsty Morrison at One21 says ‘Anyone looking for work online would assume they’re going through the right channels as the jobs appear plausible enough, but it is a ‘Black hole’ for applications. They copy and display our genuine positions (although often using expired vacancies), which attract applicants to register, enter a password and attach a CV. In the process the website captures a wealth of their personal and professional information.’

Sites such as LinkedIn are also connecting their members through to roles on Hiree Jobs.

Kirsty started investigating after being contacted by a candidate that had applied through LinkedIn, but never showed up in One21’s inbox or applicant tracking system.

I tested dozens of links myself to find out where they lead to - the Apply button on LinkedIn took me to another site called Neuvoo Jobs and then on to Hiree Jobs. After going through the registration process Hiree Jobs confirmed my application was successful. But the CV never arrived on my ‘desk’ or any of the other companies and agencies I tested.

This means hiring companies are missing out on candidates.

Job Seekers are missing out on jobs.

Applicants information is potentially being used for something sinister.

‘These fake websites attract paid advertising by looking busy. But what else are they up to? What happens to the candidate applications that we never receive? Are they building up a database of CV’s to sell? Do they target candidates desperate to gain work visa’s with promises of job offers for a monetary fee? Will they lure unsuspecting Kiwi’s to be ‘bankers’ for the numerous offshore retailers scamming online purchasers? Are they collating data for Cybercrime? Log-in password numbers for bank hackers? ID information for identity theft?

Is there someone out there right now using my name and clients job to con someone out of their money?’

Kirsty has been in touch with LinkedIn and Neuvoo Jobs, who admit they ‘scrape’ websites for vacancies to put on their own job pages and flood inboxes with daily job notifications. Some vacancies are connected to the original advertisers hiring page, but many take applicants either directly or indirectly to fake sites like Hiree Jobs.

LinkedIn Response: "Thanks again for contacting us. Your original case has been transferred to a different team within LinkedIn for more accurate handling."

Neuvoo even boasts of being the ‘Fastest Growing Job Site Worldwide, with 75 million job seekers every month, making one of the largest candidate pools online’.

Neuvoo Response: "Neuvoo is a free job aggregator whose purpose is to index jobs from across the web, in the same way Google indexes and displays most websites available across the Internet. This goes to help job seekers find all the jobs they need in one place, while also giving extra visibility to employers for free so that more qualified candidates are able to see their ads and apply for their jobs. All the information we aggregate is public information and we make sure to always credit any of it to the right source. We also redirect the candidate to this same source and forward any information written down in the application form to the employer. By partnering up with LinkedIn, we provide even more visibility to employers and their jobs, and we make it easier for candidates to apply for jobs related to their fields of interest."

Kirsty believes neither organisation are too concerned about the job seekers who are being misled, as they continue to link to sites such as Hiree Jobs despite Kirsty bringing the issue to their attention and not receiving any of the applications she made through LinkedIn or Neuvoo or Hiree Jobs. ‘I get the feeling they are more interested in increasing their ‘candidate pools’ and sponsored advertising. They say they are advertising for free but they are also making plenty of money. These ‘black-hole’ websites help them get the exposure, online traffic, applicant data and paid advertising that is undoubtably making them a great amount of revenue.’

Kirsty has connected with other New Zealand recruitment agencies, hiring companies and government agencies whose jobs are being replicated on these websites and sent them test applications that they never received.

'The HR personnel, hiring managers and recruiters I’ve contacted were either completely unaware and genuinely worried about the implications, or quietly complacent as they saw it as a free marketing tool for their job vacancies - not noticing they were losing candidates applying through those channels.

These sites unethically obtain confidential information and divert potentially good candidates away from the businesses trying to recruit.

They are literally taking jobs from our people. This must be demoralising for those seeking work, who never hear back from the employer. And those hiring risk damage to brand credibility and reputation by appearing to post on these sites, yet not responding to applicants.’

She has not had any response via the contact form on Hiree Jobs and there are no ‘real people’ to contact on that site. Hiree Jobs even has a warning page that Kirsty was directed to by Netsafe NZ. ‘I found it very disturbing that Netsafe referred me back to the Hiree Jobs website for advice on avoiding job scams – the same fake website that I was notifying them about.’

New Zealand and Australia’s largest job board Seek.co.nz are aware their website is constantly being ‘scraped’ for job ads. Seek have various checks in place to ensure they only advertise authenticated and current job vacancies on their own website and that their job seekers and advertisers are protected to a point. Yet they can’t stop their clients ads being copied and replicated either and encourage applicants to always apply online through the Seek ATS, so they receive updates on the status of each job application.

Kirsty believes these scams could severely impact the New Zealand employment market at a vulnerable time. ‘With the Covid19 crises and medical, social and economic uncertainty, we are seeing declining employment security and increasing job loss right now. There are many more people online looking for jobs and at risk of being scammed.

New Zealander’s need to be warned of these fake job sites now!’

One21’s advice for Job Seekers:

- Vacancies on job boards such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Hiree Jobs, Neuvoo Jobs, RecruitMe, Adzuna etc are no guarantee that the job is real, or that they have permission to advertise it, or that your application will ever make it through to the hiring manager.
- All major job boards are faced with employment and job scams so be wary of what and who you are applying to.
Always use a unique password when registering on any website – don’t give the same password as your internet or bank log in!
- If you have to navigate through more than two websites to apply for a job – then don’t bother. Find the original ad and apply there.
- If in doubt check who the recruitment agency or hiring company is and apply to them directly (if that is an option), or go through a reputable and well known job site that has been operating in New Zealand for a while, such as Seek or TradeMe.
- Don’t put sensitive information in your CV (such as ID numbers, passports or licenses) you can always provide these later if required.
- Follow up by email/phone after a reasonable period of time if you don’t hear anything back from the recruiter or hiring manager.
- Beware of anyone who pressures you for confidential information. An application form is standard practice, however there should be no need to give anyone your credit card number or bank account details and you should be very, very wary of sharing birth certificates, passports or social security ID online.
- If you are approached by anyone who offers a higher than average paid position for doing very little and it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
- The biggest indicator a job vacancy is a scam is if you have to pay for anything!
- Do NOT give anyone your bank account details without doing your due diligence and getting a job offer and contract from a verified company. Those offering to deposit money in your account are bound to be up to something fraudulent and illegal.

One21’s advice for job advertisers / employers / recruiters:

- Be vigilant - check where your Job Ads are being displayed and test where the links lead to – are you receiving those applications?
- Don’t be complacent – those are your candidates details they are nicking and it is your name being used and reputation at stake.
- Ask websites such as LinkedIn and Neuvoo Jobs to remove any of your Job Ads that link to these scam sites.
- Don't pay these websites - they are taking your money offshore and making millions and they don't care who they compromise! Instead put your job advertising dollars into local businesses/job sites who keep New Zealanders in employment.

Let's work together to expose these scams!

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