Safe Job Searching

Careers & Experience strongly encourages students and alumni to thoroughly research employers before they apply to opportunities. Review our tips below to learn how to protect your personal information, and identify problematic employers/job postings.


If you have any questions or concerns about postings on Connect, please contact us immediately:
519-661-3619 | 

Protecting Your Personal Information

  • Do not provide personal information to organizations/individuals you do not know and trust - this includes not adding your name, email, and/or phone number to ambiguous sign-up sheets for jobs, interviews, or information sessions
  • Do not respond to interview invitations for jobs you did not apply to
  • Phishing scams - if you receive an unsolicited job offer or request for personal information through your email, it may be a phishing attempt. To see examples of what a phishing attempt can look like, please click here. If you suspect you have received a phishing attempt through your uwo email, do not respond! Please report it to Western Technology Services so that they can investigate: 519-661-3800 or 

Safe Job Searching

  • Look at the company website (if there is one): Are job and career information posted on the site? Is there a way to contact the company with questions?
  • Thoroughly review the position description: Do the duties and responsibilities of the role fit with the job title?
  • Be realistic with pay: Sometimes it really is too good to be true; for example: "Cashier, no experience needed, $22/hr."
  • Be wary of email domains that don't match the company: Does the email domain fit with the company name? For example, if Company ABC has an email address that says 
  • Be wary of generic email domains: Be cautious of recruiters who use non-organization e-mails to respond back to you; for example:
  • If something seems "off", it probably is: Be familiar with what common employment scams look like. Find examples and more information about employment scams here (Consumer Protection Ontario).

Applying for the Job

Understand which fees you are responsible for: Legitimate companies do not ask you to pay a one-time or upfront fee.
  • Example: Application processing fees, Information package, Visa fees (overseas)

Understand types of money scams: Beware of products or schemes claiming to guarantee income and job offers requiring an upfront fee or sending money through a money transfer service.
  • Example: Acceptance of a money transfer where you can retain a portion as 'payment'.

Attending your Interview

Understand which questions are valid and which are not: Learn about some "illegal" interview questions and how to avoid them at this link

Be comfortable with your interview location: If you feel uncomfortable with the interview location (for example: a non-commercial apartment), you can request a mutually convenient location, like a coffee shop.

Receiving your Job Offer

Understand your rights under the Employment Standards: There are specific laws put in place to protect its workers. Learn more at the Ontario Ministry of Labour's site.

Get your employment contract in writing: Get a copy of the employment contract with the placement firm, and read it carefully. A legitimate company will give you time to read the contract and decide, not pressure you into signing then and there. Make sure any promises — including refund promises — are in writing. 

Common Scams


The “employer” is seeking assistance while they’re out of the country. The student is sent a cheque to deposit in their own bank account and is instructed to make purchases and send them to the employer’s location. The cheque amount will be for much more than the purchases so the student is told to return some of the remaining money via money transfer and keep a portion as pay. Later the student will find out that the check is counterfeit and they have lost the money spent on purchases and transferred.


  • Be suspicious of people willing to hire you without meeting in person
  • Ensure that you have a work contract which outlines how and how much you will receive in wages
  • Your personal banking account should never be used for an employer’s business transaction

Guaranteed Employment

The “employer” asks the student to take a course or receive a qualification in order to secure the position.

The student is asked to pay a fee for the course and its materials, and sign a registration form during the job interview. The student will find out later that the employer never sends out any material to him/her, and will not refund the money nor providing a copy of the contract


  • You should not have to pay for training required for a new job
  • Don’t feel pressured to sign any document without having the time to review and understand its contents  and your responsibilities

Employment Agency

The "employment agency" contacts the student who may have posted his/her resumes online or with a job search engine. The agency then invites the student for an interview and promises an employment with good salary. The student is pressured to sign a contract and pay an administration fee or a fee that the student will be refunded later when he/she is hired. Later on, the student never hears back from the agency or he/she will be given a list of referral companies that have never heard of the agency before.


  • If you choose to use an employment agency, research their practices and reputation before signing a contract
  • Employment agencies and Recruiters don’t usually receive payment until someone has been placed or a position is filled

Work Overseas

The "employer" promises a job in a foreign country and the student is invited for an interview in a hotel suite or rented office. The student is then told that he/she must pay a fee for visas or paperwork up front. In some cases, the employer asks the student to send money for an "information package" to secure the promised foreign job. Later on, when the student receives the package, it only contains a list of company names.


  • If you choose to use an overseas employment service, research their practices and reputation before signing a contract
  • Do independent research about the requirements of working abroad.