How to Stay Safe When Applying for Jobs

Oliver Drake

Oliver is recruitment specialist who specialise in recruiting to academic, research and university administration roles. Oliver has gained, over 20 year resourcing for the higher education in the UK and worldwide.

Many job seekers turn to job boards, social media pages and search engines to browse and apply for new work opportunities. These mediums have become the place where recruiters, employers, and candidates can connect and secure relationships that can benefit all parties. However, while there are many legitimate reasons why the internet qualifies as a hub of new possibilities, the safety of applicants remains a concern.

With scammers abound, an innocent job application can result in considerable stress and financial loss for unsuspecting individuals.

The good news is that there are easy safety measures you can implement while preparing to search for a job online. For example, you can start by staying current about the latest scams – so that you know what to look out for. You can also do your research to ensure that any websites you engage with are trusted and come with a reputation for being optimally safe. has partnered with to guarantee that all the jobs published on our site are ultimately safe.

How to Stay Safe When Applying for Jobs Careers in HE

5 Safety Tips to Apply When Responding to Online Job Ads:


1. Know How to Spot a Fake or Malicious Job Ad

Preying on vulnerable and enthusiastic job seekers is deplorable, but that’s how con artists make a living. They lurk on websites waiting for you to hand your personal information to them on a platter.

That’s why – nine times out of ten – a job that sounds too good to be true, isn’t true. This means that you need to be wary of ads that: urge you to apply immediately, emphasise that you do not need experience to qualify for the position/s, and promise salary figures that are unrealistic.

If you feel an exciting ad still holds value and potential, make sure you research the advertiser thoroughly before sharing any of your personal details. Look for online reviews or contact the company behind the ad to help prove authenticity.

Safer Jobs provides great advice on how to spot a fake job on Craigslist – which can be helpful if this is a directory you use often.


2. Research Recruitment Agencies

The thing about scammers is that they play their roles exceedingly well. Some even pose as recruiters or whole agencies that act like they’re about to offer you the world on a platter.

So, pay heed to even the most authoritative-looking recruitment agencies. For example, before you subscribe to a job board or respond to a recruitment ad, you should:

  • Visit the Recruitment & Employment Confederation website If the recruiter’s website is not found on this list, it could be a warning sign.
  • Ask for references or testimonials from qualifying clients.
  • Research to see if you can find an address or a traceable presence of the agency or private recruiter.
  • Make sure that you understand the recruiter’s terms of business and agency fees before engaging with them. Even legit recruitment agencies may follow unethical practices.

When sharing personal data with anyone, be it online or offline, it’s always important to connect the person or company with first-hand references and reviews. This will give you some insight into their legitimacy.


3. Be Wary of Requests for Money

Many scammers who pose as employers will request a payment from you to work for them.  They may also ask you to purchase brochures or software before you are “officially” hired.

Keep in mind that a legitimate recruitment agency will never ask you to hand over money to secure a position. If you see a job ad that asks for money, it should be viewed as an immediate red flag.

If you do fall for this type of scam, you may not only lose the money you transacted, you could also put yourself at risk of continued fraud, especially if you entered credit card or payment information. Unless you are 100% sure that you are dealing with a legitimate company; make it a habit to never disclose your financial details.


4. Pay Attention to Digital Security, Unsecure Networks and Phishing

Most electronic devices are sold standard with pre-installed anti-virus software. However, if this technology isn’t updated regularly, it may not be adequate enough to combat the latest malware and spyware.

Set aside some time to ensure that the most recent version of your anti-virus programme has been installed onto your device before you start applying for jobs and sharing personal details. This way, you’re more likely to be protected against phishing, malware, viruses, and spyware.

You should also familiarise yourself with other ways that criminals can enter your personal space. For example, even a legitimate hiring app could be compromised and contain a virus or other dangers. So, before you download an app, make sure to do your research; browse reviews, or look for reputable sources. The same goes for suspicious links sent via email – never click on them unless you are completely certain of their legitimacy.

And then, there’s the internet connection you use. A public Wi-Fi connection can monitor your activities and intercept private information that you enter online. Whenever you’re entering sensitive data, such as sharing CV information, try to make sure you’re using a secure connection, preferably a private one that cannot be accessed by outsiders.


5. Pay Attention to the Management of Your Account

Most recruitment agencies or job boards will ask you to create an online account. This account will link you to the information you need and often comes with handy features that can be used to increase your hiring potential.

It’s important that you take responsibility for managing your account to help prevent criminals from accessing your vulnerable information. According to Safer Jobs, account security measures that you can implement include:

  • Creating a lengthy password that features at least one of each of the following: a lowercase letter, a capital letter, a number, and a symbol.
  • Keeping your passwords safe and away from prying eyes.
  • Reporting any suspicious behaviour or concerning ads immediately.


Online job boards and recruitment sites can be a brilliant resource for job hunters, but criminals are continuously looking for ways to outsmart vulnerable individuals. This is why you need to remain guarded at all times – you can never be too careful when it comes to internet security. However, with a little caution and access to the safest job recruitment sites, your information will be kept secure – ready to be used as a stepping stone towards your dream job.

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