7 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Looking for a Coding Job

Scammers exist in every job market, including the tech industry. You will likely meet several as you head out to look for your first programming job.

Scammers know that getting a job in tech is competitive. They know you can’t wait to start and take advantage of that enthusiasm. Scammers go to great lengths to construct a realistic online presence to fool you. They can create fake websites, locations, banks, and official employment documents.

The only way to beat them is to be vigilant of their schemes and avoid them. Here are some red flags to watch out for when looking for a coding job.

1. They Ask for Sensitive Personal Information

One of the biggest red flags is scammers’ appetite for your personal information. What happens is the recruiting company will ask for your personal information. It can be your social security number or bank account details.

This may happen before, during, or after the interview process. Most likely, they will earn your trust before asking for this information.

A close-up view of bank cards on a table

In most cases, they will ask for this information shortly after a short interview. They will then share a document to fill in your personal and banking information. While it’s common for legitimate companies to ask for such details, scammers go further, asking for sensitive information.

Some of the sensitive information they may ask for, which you should keep private is:

  • A picture of your Identification card or driving license.
  • Bank account numbers and passwords.
  • A passport photo of you.
  • Social security numbers.
  • Home address and phone numbers.

A legitimate company will only ask for such details once they have hired you. Keep your sensitive information private.

2. They Ask You to Pay for Training or Equipment

Some job scams will ask for money. They may disguise it as payment for expenses like training or equipment. This happens after you have already signed the contract. Most likely, the company will promise to reimburse you after onboarding.

handing over card

Sometimes scammers ask for small amounts so as not to raise suspicion. But imagine them asking thousands of people for the same amount. They are making millions. A legitimate company will at no point ask for money from their employee. Instead, they will provide you with the needed resources to get the job done.

3. They Have No Digital Presence

A hiring manager/recruiter will probably reach out to you with a potential opening at a company. They ascertain that your skills align with the position they are hiring for. They then share all the details about the job to spark your interest, but provide little or no information about the hiring company.

digital apps written on board

Usually, they will have flimsy excuses. Like they may promise to disclose the company when you move to the next interview stage. They understand that, if you know of the company, you’ll research it and find out that they are lying.

Sometimes scammers set up fictitious companies. You’ll notice they have little or no presence online. Research professional sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and review their social media accounts.

4. They Provide Vague or Contradictory Information About the Job

Scammer job listings are vague. They usually don’t state the job description; if they do, it’s something generic. A legitimate recruiter will have all the job details. The details include the required stack, location, and benefits.

They should also be willing to answer your questions about the positions. Scammers seek attention with big salaries and commissions with no clear job description.

5. Short Recruitment Process

Most tech companies will hire after a series of interviews. You should interview with several people, most likely the recruiter and the hiring manager. Recruiters provide a grace period between the interviews to allow the candidate to prepare.

A legitimate employer will do a background check with your referees before awarding you the job.

recruitment pic

Scammers do the opposite. They respond to applications quickly, interview immediately, and hire very fast. They might offer you a position after the first interview, assuring you that you’re the right fit.

Scam recruitment has unconventional processes. These may include phone-only interviews, emails, or chats through text messages. They rarely have video interviews.


6. They Ask You to Work for Free or as an Intern for an Extended Period

As a new developer, you may have to take up unpaid internships at some point. Early-stage startups may take you in, but it shouldn’t be for an unextended period. You should have a contract indicating the duration and what you are getting out of it. You are there to get experience and build your resume.

cartoons depicting an intern in an office setting

However, as an employee, you should never work for free. There are malicious tech companies that keep them on endless internship contracts.

In such cases, you’re developing for the company as a professional but on an intern salary. Some will even ask you to work for free during the training period and then not hire you afterward.

7. They Don’t Pay on Time

It’s uncommon to have employees going for months without pay, but it does happen. Companies are struggling with reduced revenues, especially after the pandemic.

You may be grateful to have a job in these hard times as a new developer. So may take the delayed salaries as an option. But delayed payment is a bad sign.

If your company struggles with basic operations like paying salaries, It’s going bankrupt. You may soon be out of the job with no one to reimburse the owed salary. When you join a company, research its prospects and financial status. You are better off earning a consistent income than a big unpredictable salary.

How to Avoid Job Scams

As opportunities in the tech world continue to grow, so do opportunities for scammers. Scammers negatively impact their victims’ social, financial, and mental states. They can scheme to fool you into giving them your resources like money or manpower.

To avoid them, secure sensitive information and avoid flashy job postings. Also, conduct due diligence before engaging with any recruiters. Use the above-named tips to safeguard yourself from scammers and get a legitimate position in tech.


🧪 |Medical Laboratory Scientist 🥇 | Mindset over Everything. 
 🤝 | Let's Grow Together.

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