When you're applying for a job, it's important to be aware of the red flags that could indicate a bad employer. Many employers will post positions that are not actually open, or they will ask for qualifications that are impossible to meet. Don't waste your time applying for jobs that are not a match for you. The company might not be reputable, the work might be too demanding or the compensation might not be below your expectations. Too many company cultures lead to burnout, mental health issues, and a regret for ever working there. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common red flags to look out for in job postings. Be smart and don't apply if you spot these red flags!
Recommended reading: 6 Red Flags to Look Out for When Accepting a Job Offer
11 red flags in job postings to look out for
1. Working in a fast-paced environment:
Many employers will try to attract applicants by promising a fast-paced work environment. While some people thrive in fast-paced environments, others find them stressful and overly dynamic. This phrase could also signal that the company is understaffed that overworks employees and you are expected to wear many different "hats" in terms of roles and responsibilities. If you know that you do not work well under pressure, then a job that promises a fast-paced environment is probably not going to be a good fit for you.
2. Qualifications that are impossible to meet:
Another common red flag is when an employer asks for qualifications that are impossible to meet. For example, they might require five years of experience in a field that is rapidly changing and only has three years of history. Or they might require a degree from a prestigious university that very few people actually have. If the qualifications listed in the job posting seem impossible to meet, then it's probably not worth your time to apply.
3. Low pay:
Another red flag to watch out for is low pay. If the salary listed in the job posting is much lower than the average salary for that position. Or a seemingly senior role but the salary being offered does not match, then it's probably not a good idea to apply. Employers who are offering low salaries are usually looking for employees who are desperate for work and will accept any wage. You deserve to be paid fairly for your work, so don't waste your time applying for jobs that don't offer competitive salaries.
4. The job posting is for an unpaid position:
An employer who asks you to work for free is not respecting your time or you as a person. Do not apply for this job. Unless the position is part of an educational program like an internship where you are receiving academic credit. In that case, it might be worth your time to reach out to the organization and see if they would be willing to pay you for your time.
5. The position has no clear responsibilities:
When a job posting lacks specifics about what the day-to-day duties will entail, it’s often because the employer themselves doesn’t know. They haven’t taken the time to sit down and think about exactly what they need from a new hire. Or, even worse, they’re looking to hire someone to do whatever they don’t want to do themselves. Either way, it’s not worth your time to apply for a position that has no clear responsibilities.
6. The job requires you to work more than 40 hours per week:
Typically, most employees are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than their contractual hours per week. Some employers will try to get around this by offering a salary instead of an hourly wage. But if the job posting says that you are expected to work more than 40 hours per week, then it's probably not worth your time to apply. Not only is the expectation that you have to work extra-long days, but the company also is not willing to compensate you for your time.
7. The job posting is for a commission-only position:
A commission-only position is only worth your time if you're confident that you can sell the product or service. Commission-only positions can also be risky because you might not make any money if you can't sell anything. So unless you're confident in your abilities, it's probably best to steer clear of commission-only positions and don't apply for these roles.
8. The job posting uses vague language:
If the job posting uses vague language, then it might be difficult to understand what the employer is looking for. For example, if the job posting says that they are looking for a "self-starter", or a "guru", then it's not clear what qualifications they are actually looking for. It's probably not worth your time to apply if you can't figure out what the employer is actually looking for.
Related: 7 Job Search Hacks to Get You Hired
9. The company asks for sensitive information:
Being smart online means guarding information such as your Social Security number and bank-account information until you're sure that the company asking for it is on the up and up. Until a job offer is offered and accepted by you, a legitimate company has no need for private information such as this.
10. The job was posted months ago, or the job is constantly reposted:
If a job was posted months ago, or if the job is constantly being reposted, it might be an indication that the company is having a hard time filling the position, or the company has a high-turnover. This could be because the position is difficult to fill, or because the company is not a good place to work. And sometimes companies will collect resumes just for the sake of gathering information about current salary conditions. Whatever the case, it's probably not worth your time and effort to apply to this role.
11. The post contains phrases like "must be extremely hardworking" and "must be able to handle extremely high-stress situations":
When a job posting contains phrases like this, it's usually an indication that the company is looking for someone who is willing to work long hours for little pay. The company might also be difficult to work for, and the working conditions might be less than ideal. So unless you're desperate for a job, it's probably not worth your time to apply. you can ignore these roles.
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These are just a few of the most common red flags to look out for in job postings. Be smart and don't apply if you spot these red flags! By being aware of these warning signs, you can save yourself By being aware of these warning signs, you can save yourself a lot of time and energy.
Do you have any other red flags to add to this list? Share them in the comments below!
If you're ready to finally move forward in the next phase of your career, to make the kind of money you know you deserve, to be excited about your work, to have a career and not a job, then get your free Career Clarity Worksheet by clicking here.