You’re looking for a work at home job, and you think you’ve found something. But they’re asking for some information you aren’t sure that you should share. When is the right time to share the information they’re asking for? How do you know which information you should share when looking for a work at home job?
This isn’t always easy to answer. It can depend on the kind of work you’re looking at and how confident you are that the opportunity is legitimate.
When In Doubt, Don’t Share
We all worry about being scammed when looking for stay at home jobs. It’s normal. There are a lot of scams out there.
This makes sharing even normal personal information requested on any other job application more difficult when you’re talking about applying online. You just don’t have the reassurance that you get from applying with a local company. Most local companies you can drive by and see their actual location. You know they’re real because you’ve been there.
You can do a pretty good job of researching potential employers if you know how. Look up reviews for them online. Many companies are reviewed by current and former employees on sites such as Indeed or Glassdoor. You can learn about them on LinkedIn as well. Make sure you know the company’s name and do a little research on them before you apply for a job.
When in doubt, see if you can submit the online application without all the information filled out, and use the comment box (if available) to explain why you have left certain information out. A Social Security Number, for example, is necessary for a company to deal with taxes, and may be requested if a background check is being done. It’s really not necessary to share it otherwise, and you can take the chance of offering to provide it only if you make it that far in the hiring process.
Information You Shouldn’t Share Immediately
There is some information that you should not share with a potential employer until you know that the opportunity is legitimate and that the employer needs it. This would include your social security number and banking information.
An employer only needs your social security number once you’re hired or to run a background check. They shouldn’t need it sooner than that. If they want your social security number sooner, find out why and decide if you’re comfortable with their reasoning.
Your banking information can be very high risk to share. It’s wonderful when your employer lets you sign up for direct deposit so that you get paid sooner, but there is a risk in giving them access to that information.
You also don’t need to share information about your family or personal situation more than absolutely necessary. Talking about your kids or other parts of your family life can make you look less professional, and make it less likely that you will be hired for the job. It doesn’t matter that you want to work at home to have more time with your kids. Potential employers want to know what you’ll do for them, not what they’ll do for you.
In general, not just in your job hunt, you should never share your contact information, social security number, or birth date publicly. This includes on social media. Putting too much information out there in general sets you up for identity theft. And of course, never share your mother’s maiden name or any of the other information you may have used to secure your bank account.
Is Professionally Embarrassing Information Already Out There?
A lot of people have discovered that information they’ve shared online socially can impact them professionally. More and more employers check applicants out online to see what’s out there. Employers may expect you to give them links to your social media accounts so that they can check them out easily. If they want this, take some time to make sure your social media accounts won’t mess up your job hunt.
No one has perfect control over what appears on a search for their name online. I’m not currently on the first page for my name, one of the curses of having a very common name. But since I’m not exactly going for the guru thing I’ve never stressed about getting my name up there in the rankings.
But the factors you do control you should take into consideration. Look at how you’re presenting yourself on social networks and anywhere else you appear online. Work at home jobs will mostly be concerned with your professionalism, and depending on the position you’re applying for these things can be quite relevant.
Keep It Professional
One important thing to do when you’re looking for a job online is to make sure you give a professional appearance with the information you provide. This means you don’t want to have an email address that’s fun to have socially but might make a potential employer lose interest in you. An email address based on your name is best for most purposes, and it can be nice to keep your job hunting emails separate from the usual personal stuff anyhow.
Potential employers also aren’t going to be interested in your home situation. Even if they’re hiring you for a home based position, they don’t need to know about your kids or how you’re going to handle caring for them while you work. That’s your problem and the expectation is that you’ll handle it.
What they do want to know is why you’re the right employee for them to hire. Make a good impression in that area by emphasizing your relevant skills. Potential employers need employees who know how to separate their family life from their work at home life. If you can’t do that in the application process, they may feel that you won’t keep them appropriately separated when you’re working.
Don’t Speak Poorly Of Current Or Previous Jobs
Never speak negatively of your current or previous jobs. If you worked for a company and it went out of business, you can say that. It even gives you a good reason for leaving.
But don’t go into problems you had at your old job. Potential employers will only care in that they will wonder how you will speak of them outside of work or when you leave. Speaking ill of an employer, past or present, reflects negatively on your professionalism, not on the employer you’re talking about.
Don’t Be Desperate
You may be desperate to land a job. I hear it all the time from people contacting me about finding ways to work at home. They need money, badly.
That’s not the potential employer’s problem. Some might even take advantage and offer you a lower rate of pay than they might otherwise because they know they have the upper hand.
Any situation that isn’t relevant to that employer is something you shouldn’t share. That goes double if it makes you sound desperate for a job. Needing a job badly won’t make them more interested in you as a candidate. It might make them consider paying you less if they decide to hire you.
Hunting for a job always means sharing some personal information. Someone offering you a job (not a business opportunity) without wanting to know about your work history probably doesn’t have a real job to offer you. Make sure you know what the appropriate limits are, and if it feels wrong to share a particular piece of information, find out if it’s really necessary to share it.