Background checks can go both ways. If you are a job seeker, be sure to screen your potential employer just as your potential employer may be investigating your credentials. In a tough job market, some less than honest companies can take advantage of job-search desperation. Make checking up on your potential employer part of the hiring process.
Never Pay for a Position
If a position expects you to put down money in order to be hired or to pay for your own background screening this may be cause to be suspicious. Most legitimate companies budget for their own screening service because they recognize this step as an important investment. Companies that expect you to pay up front may just take your money and run without ever offering you a position.
Be careful of companies that require you to purchase your own tools, products, or leads as well, especially if you are purchasing them from your employer. While there are some reputable, established companies that do run this way, their are many that are not on the up and up. If a company isn’t budgeting for the basic necessities of a job, this should send up red flags. You may want to do a little digging of your own to see if they are a known scam.
Pyramid scheme are businesses that expect you to pay into a program while collecting your own pay from others that you then recruit. This business model is illegal in most areas. Not only are pyramid schemes shady at best, but remember: the person on the bottom of this pyramid always loses out. You might find yourself without a paycheck and in some serious hot water.
High Employee Turnover
If a company has a high rate of turnover, this may indicate some internal problems behind the scenes. You may want to ask about employee retention in your interview process. How long does the average employee stay with the company? You may also want to go out of your way to speak to the employees themselves. How many employees have left in the last year and why? Company turnover can be caused by poor pay, limited mobility, or a hostile work environment, so try to discover the root of the problem before you are committed to a new position.
No one likes paperwork, but if you are not filling out tax forms your first day on the job, watch out! If a business is cutting corners by paying you under the table, they may be cutting legal corners elsewhere. Protect yourself by demanding to be a legal employee. You are only protecting your rights in the long term.