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Avoid the Fake Executive Recruiter Scam

images (1)A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about resume writing scams and how to avoid them. The number of “resume writing mills” (resume companies that crank out generic, template resumes with no regard for quality) has increased significantly following the 2007 recession so it’s more important than ever to do your due diligence when shopping for professional online services.

Sadly, this isn’t the only scam targeting job seekers. I recently worked with an Executive client in the marketing profession who was targeted by a fake recruiter. The fake recruiter tricked her into sharing some highly personal information. Long story short, my client ended up being the victim of identity theft; and anyone who’s ever experienced identity theft knows the road to reparing the damage seems neverending.

After conducting some research, I discovered  this scam happens a lot more often than I realized. Here’s how it usually goes:

You post your resume on one or more job boards, hoping to catch an employer’s eye. One day, you receive an email, or phone call, from a person claiming to be a recruiter looking for job candidates for a job published online (usually a well-known company so the scam seems more legit). Since you posted your resume publically on the job board, the fake recruiter already has a copy in hand, and this is when he/she launches in to their spiel about how perfect you are for the job.

Next, the fake recruiter starts asking for personal information, like the last 4 digits of your social security number. They might also ask you to fill out an online application. At this point, alarm bells should be blaring and red flags flying.

Before you give out ANY information (personal or otherwise), research this individual and his/her credentials fully to make sure everything is on the up-and-up:

#1 Google them. Check out the recruiter’s website, LinkedIn profile, and/or company page on LinkedIn.

#2 Check to see if they are an active member of The Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC). This is a professional organization for recruiters and search consultants; and membership is a good sign of professional ethicacy and also means the recruiter has successfully passed a strong vetting process.

#3 Check for active membership with Bluesteps, a professional platform where executive job candidates can learn more about the executive search process (Bluesteps was created by The AESC).

#4 Ask for client references – and be sure to follow up on them!

Now be honest… is the resume and cover letter you’re submitting for jobs getting you noticed? Are you receiving invitations to interview? If  not, we should talk! Contact me by phone: 1-866-562-0850 or email: for a NO COST, NO OBLIGATION 15-minute consultation

Kimberly Ben is a multi-credentialed Professional Resume and LinkedIn Writer and Job Search Coach. She has written hundreds of resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and other career communications for multiple career industries and professions. Kimberly’s extensive education, training, and experience have resulted in a clear understanding of current hiring best practices and the most effective job search techniques, branding strategies, and insight on what it takes to gain the competitive edge and impress employers in a challenging job market.

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