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08 November 2021

5 Min Read

Red flags to look out for during a job search

It is important to note that a red flag is a cautionary warning to look out for to avoid possible danger.

It is important to note that a red flag is a cautionary warning to look out for to avoid possible danger.

The current economic climate in South Africa has made it difficult to find a job or even be called for an interview. Before applying for a job (or agreeing to attend an interview) it is important to research the company you are interested in. Investigate the company on Who would you be potentially working for? What are the company’s reviews? If alarm bells ring, this might be a sign of a scam to look out for.

Noxolo thought she had a lead on a good job, read below her experiences:

“My experience in job hunting was eye-opening and at times bitter because of how emotionally draining they can be. This gave me a “push” to learn more and grow resilience. As promising as it was to get the interviews, it was financially draining considering travel costs to get to the offices. I had to dig deep in my pockets and sacrifice some things just to make it to the interview. The other difficulty I experienced was the lack of market rates for jobs that interested me. It made vulnerable to “exploitation” with little compensation”.

Questions one should ask themselves before applying for the job vacancy or attending an interview: 

  1. Does the company have a proper website, with a description of what they do?
  2. Does the job advert tell you what your responsibilities and duties will be?
  3. Are you being asked to pay any money upfront?


  1. If a company has no online presence:
    Do an internet search of the company before you apply for any job and have a look through the company’s website and social media profiles. If the is no sign of the company online, this might be a big sign that the job post could be a scam.
  2. You’re asked to pay money:
    If a job post requires you to pay money upfront, it is potentially a scam. Never pay money as part of a job application or to have any background checks done on you.
  3. You’re asked to provide confidential information:
    Many jobs do require your banking details, but only after you have been interviewed and a formal offer of employment has been made. Any vacancy that asks for this information before an interview might be a scam.
  4. The job description is vague or unprofessional:
    Scammers try to make their emails sound believable by listing job requirements. Most legitimate job listings have more specific and detailed job descriptions and an extensive list of qualifications. A fake job listing also often has poor spelling and grammar.
  5. You receive an email from a non-business address:
    Example: So, you’ve applied for a position at IIE Rosebank College, however you receive correspondence from a Gmail account. This might be a scam.

Don’t get discouraged when a job you want does not pan out for you. It just opens doors to other opportunities - Mitchell M.

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