Job Applicants Beware: LinkedIn Phishing Scams

Have you ever looked for jobs on LinkedIn? Submitted an application through its platform? Me, too. LinkedIn has typically been the number one place that I go to look for opportunities, including professional and sometimes volunteer. Given my recent experience on the other end of the job application platform, I’ll be thinking twice in the future.

As I’ve mentioned before, I serve as an administrator for Hirons’ social media accounts. This includes managing the creation of social content, posting entries on the company blog, and, more recently, coordinating online job postings via our LinkedIn account. The trouble with LinkedIn began before I even posted our jobs there.

As of a couple weeks ago, Hirons began posting a handful of full-time job openings on our website’s Careers page. At that point, the only way to officially apply for said positions was directly through that web page – but if you looked up our company on LinkedIn, you’d never know that. Myriad of job postings began to pop up on LinkedIn’s job searching platform, all of them appearing to be incredibly real. The copy on the postings was exactly the same as those on our website and our company logo was even on there, right at the top, like the cherry of top of the ultimate phishing scam sundae.

Here’s an example of a different posting we just noticed today. Looks legit, right?

Except, Hirons doesn’t have an office located in Zionsville (Indianapolis and Chicago, only). The biggest red flag on this fake posting isn’t apparent until you actually go to apply for the job itself. With every fake post our team has discovered in the last two weeks, the “Apply on company website” button does not take you to the company’s website, Instead, applicants are always redirected to a third party site.

Because of the way that things appear to applicants, this makes Hirons look suspicious as a company. Why would I want to work for a place that uses some spammy external site for their job postings? It just doesn’t come across as professional. However, Hirons isn’t alone in fighting this unexpected, irritating battle with job posting bots. There are a number of recruiters from companies across the U.S. who have reported the same problem, and LinkedIn doesn’t seem to be in a particularly hurry to offer a solution.

The general response to reporting these postings is always the same – that it’s not LinkedIn’s fault, because they’re autogenerated for the supposed benefit of companies seeking talent.

“This happened because LinkedIn retrieves free ads posted on various job boards and career sites, and posts these ads on LinkedIn to give job seekers better visibility in the market.

These ads are called “Limited Listings” because they are only visible to active search and will never be offered to targeted passive candidates. It works differently than Job Slots.

I have removed these job postings for you. I can also stop this feature for your company page. Instead of opting out of limited listings, if there a specific website we can ingest your jobs from, then we can update our settings to ensure the only jobs associated with your company are those directly from the website you provide or those posted from someone at your organization.”

As you can see, the only solution right now is to report the fake postings after you’ve noticed them, but this puts companies like ours at risk for missing applicants who might not have realized the post wasn’t legit or, they may have thought it was a problem related to our organization’s legitimacy. One user in the above-linked forum mentioned that she always puts a note at the beginning of her postings to let people know that her company would never use an external site for applications. It seems like, for now, this is the best semi-preventative solution. But as I mentioned above, phishing posts of Hirons jobs started appearing before we even paid to have a job placed on LinkedIn, so it’s not a fool-proof measure.

Although I believe that the responsibility should be on the platform itself, not the applicants who are hoping to find the right job for them, it’s important that all of us who use LinkedIn are cautious about what links we’re clicking and what sites we’re agreeing to share our information on. Just because it’s a website for professionals doesn’t mean it’s entirely legitimate – it just means that the scammers are pros, too.

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