Working from home – comfortably in your pajamas or whatever you’re wearing – is undoubtedly a great asset. However, you shouldn’t romanticize this idea in such a way that you overlook questionable hiring practices or guidelines for working remotely with potential employers.
The availability of remote jobs has increased steadily in recent years. The pandemic has exacerbated this trend.
The Penny Hoarder has strict guidelines for the jobs we include in ours Work-from-home job portal. With remote listings popping up everywhere, we encourage you to use these best practices when looking for remote work yourself to not only make sure the companies are real, but also to evaluate whether the jobs are worth doing follow.
Is the remote company legitimate?
The first is the first: you need to determine that the job posting is in a real company.
Use these tips to help determine a company’s legitimacy.
- You haven’t applied anywhere? Do not send information to “recruiters”. Fake recruiters will reach out to you by email or phone asking for your personal information about a job posting with a recognizable company. Don’t tell them anything if you haven’t asked to be contacted.
- Job boards are helpful, but don’t stop there. Scammers can create compelling entries and post them on third-party websites. They can use these fake entries to collect your information and prepare you for more scams. Whenever you find a job posting through a third party like Indeed, always check the owner’s website for the original listing. Instead, apply there.
- Research the company. At this point, and as far as you can tell, the company looks real. But are you serious? Glassdoor’s Company Index can be a helpful way to see what current and former employees have to say. You can also verify the company’s website URL using the URL provided on the Glassdoor profile. No Glassdoor profile? Look for social media accounts. Check the media for reports of legal disputes, major layoffs, or other factors that could affect the quality of your work.
If you’re still on the fence, don’t be afraid to go straight to the company’s human resources department and ask them if the list you’re looking at reflects a real opening in the company.
5 Other Remote Adjustment Practices and Guidelines to Avoid
Just because you’ve confirmed that an employer is real doesn’t mean they are treating their employees ethically. Here are some trending hiring practices that you should be wary of.
- Independent contractor status: Also known as the 1099 employee, this designation means that you are not an employee of the company and are not entitled to any benefits. It’s not inherently a bad thing, but some employers incorrectly classify their workers as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits and taxes. Misclassifying workers is illegal, but it is not always caught. If a job advertisement sounds very similar to a typical 9-for-5 agreement but says you are a 1099 employee, chances are you will be misclassified.
- Bring your own office: You shouldn’t be spending a lot of money on equipment that a business needs to work from home. Ideally, they should give you everything you need or reimburse you for upgrades. Even if they say they’ll reimburse you, consider how those costs add up, especially if you haven’t received a written job offer.
- Pay per minute: A remote call center listing may state that you have the “potential” to make $ 15 an hour. This number is calculated based on the number of minutes of phone time that you log. You really make 25 cents a minute. Of course, it is theoretically possible to speak to a customer for a full hour without a break, but that is highly unlikely. Spent all the time preparing, emailing, or hanging up? Unpaid.
- Background Check Fees: According to the Federal Trade Commission, having a company asking you for money during the hiring process is a clear indicator of fraud. However, in some cases, a real company may ask you to pay for your own background check to keep hiring costs down. Of course, if you pay and the background check doesn’t come back sparkling clean, you won’t be hired – and you haven’t cost that much. This practice should be high on your list of deal breakers.
- Software fees: Some companies require you to use their software or platform to get your job done and then deduct fees from your paycheck to access their software. They convince you that you are a business owner and that this fee is only the cost of doing the business. Bottom line: if you are hired by a remote call center or other outsourcing company, they should pay you. Not the other way around.
These five practices may not be immediate indicators that the job is a scam, but they may be a reason to go ahead and continue your job search.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com