When seeking employment in the classified section of your local newspaper, the Better Business Bureau urges you to be cautious of employment opportunities that exhibit the following characteristics:
- Promise high paying jobs with little or no experience necessary
- Require an advance placement fee in order to register
- Provide overseas employment especially for unskilled labourers
- Promise immediate, guaranteed openings for which you will be perfectly suited
While many legitimate employment agencies advertise in the classified sections, many unscrupulous employment businesses advertise as well. Legitimate employment agencies have permanent addresses, place applicants in specific jobs, and receive payment for their services from the employer once the applicant has been placed. Unscrupulous employment firms, on the other hand, have post office box addresses or phone numbers, provide little more than a booklet listing potential employers that may or may not have job openings and commonly ask for payment in advance.
You may wish to go to your public library and ask for the Key Contacts section. Often the information that these unscrupulous agencies are trying to sell you is available in that section, free of charge.
Before you send money or provide your credit card number to any employment agency:
- Find out exactly what services the company provides.
- If applying for an overseas position, check with that country's embassy or consulate. Many countries have strict regulations for obtaining work visas and permits.
- Request the name of employers and employees the company has actually found jobs for and then check it out.
- Check with the Provincial Department of Government Services. Employment agencies must be licensed in the province of Alberta. To check on the licence status of an employment agency, call 297-5700 or visit the Government Services online licence search.
- Make sure that all promises are provided in writing before signing any contract and make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of that contract.
- Finally, don't be fooled by a firm's promise of a refund if no job materializes. Most of the firms that require payment in advance do not stay around long enough for dissatisfied customers to get money back. It is illegal in Alberta to charge a person for employment.
For related information you may want to check out our report on Work at Home Schemes.