5 Tips for Navigating Job Scams On the Job Search with Kate Rogers

Jan 31, 2024
Jessica Grande

At Nashville Software School, we provide our students and graduates who are still on the search for their first job in tech with opportunities to dive deeper and continue their education while on the job hunt. These graduates are referred to as Seekers. 

In case the job search wasn’t hard enough, the rise of scams pose threats to unsuspecting job seekers. During a recent seekers meeting at Nashville Software School, Kate Rogers shed some light on deceptive practices Seekers may encounter on the job hunt and how to avoid falling victim to scams. 

1. Trust Your Gut

As with all scams, the first piece of advice is to trust your instincts. If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. “Your gut is going to be the best place to figure out if it's a scam,” she urges. “If something is raising a red flag, if something feels wrong, it doesn't mean you reject the person at that moment. There are people out there who are just learning their job [as recruiters], so there are reasons that you might get an imperfect email, but if that red flag goes up, just be really careful. Make sure that you're not giving out personal information that isn't publicly available elsewhere.” 

An example of not sharing too much personal information is to make sure your street address is not included on your resume before sharing it with a suspicious DM (direct message) or recruiter email. “Whether you put your address on [your resume] or not, it's not necessary these days to have your exact address. Most of the time you want your city if you're applying for hybrid or in-person roles, but you don't need to share that level of personal information with your full street address on it.” Listening to your intuition can be helpful in steering clear of deceptive opportunities.

2. Verify Email Addresses and Company Sites

Scammers often create fake websites or use deceptive email addresses to mimic legitimate companies. Before engaging with any job offer, double-check the email address and ensure it matches the official domain of the company. Verify the existence of separate job sites by comparing them to the company's main website. This step can help you identify phishing attempts.

“I know that there are people out there who are smart and they're evolving and they're figuring out how to say the right things to people,” Kate shares. “I had a [former colleague who] left to start her own business. Someone cloned one of her web pages that she doesn’t currently use. [The page] wasn't currently public and [the scammer] created an email address that sounded like her company, set up a bunch of fake job ads, and was using her company's name.” Kate recalls her former co-worker disclosing that she woke up at 1 a.m. because she started receiving text messages from acquaintances who thought it seemed off. 

“She just doesn't normally have jobs [posted], so people who recognized that it seemed odd reached out to her. So she was able to start the process of at least letting people know, ‘hey, this isn't us,’ and getting messaging out as soon as possible to help on that side.” 

3. Research Company and Contact on LinkedIn

A legitimate company or recruiter will have a presence on LinkedIn. Take the time to research the company and the person reaching out to you. Do their profiles align with the information provided in  their message? Legitimate recruiters and hiring managers will have established profiles and connections on LinkedIn, adding credibility to their outreach.

“If you are doing recruiting and you don't have a LinkedIn profile, that is a huge red flag to me, personally,” Kate says. “It does take some legwork when you get these red flags. And I kind of hate saying that because I feel like there is so much work already in the job search process that the idea that you have to do more is just mean. But if you're worried, if it does look like a red flag, you do want to dig in.”

4. Be Skeptical of Unusual Hiring Processes

Scammers often employ unusual hiring processes to trick job seekers. One prevalent scam is where individuals are offered jobs without a formal interview, followed by requests for personal information or funds. Be cautious of offers that skip traditional hiring steps and involve financial transactions, as these are definitely red flags of potential scams. 

“No one needs your Social Security number for an application,” Kate warns seekers. “No one ever should need that until you've been hired. [Only if] you're getting on-boarded and you're filling out your tax paperwork so that they can pay you [or for a background check].” 

5. Consult Others and Report Suspicious Activity

If you encounter a suspicious job offer or communication, don't hesitate to consult with others. Discussing your concerns with peers, mentors, or career advisors can provide valuable insights. If you’re an NSS graduate who is still on the job hunt and are skeptical about an onboarding process, always reach out to your NSS community for support and a second opinion! 

Additionally, report any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities, such as the company being impersonated or the career services team at Nashville Software School. Sharing information helps protect others from falling victim to similar scams. 


As the job market evolves, so do the tactics of scammers looking to exploit job seekers. By following these five tips and staying vigilant, you can improve your ability to discern between genuine opportunities and potential scams. Remember, a cautious and informed approach is your best defense in navigating the complexities of the job search landscape! 

Topics: Alumni, Analytics + Data Science, Web Development, Software Engineering