Job postings can reveal signs of trouble ahead with a potential employer or role. Here are the red flags to look out for.

Job postings can reveal signs of trouble ahead with a potential employer or role. Here are the red flags to look out for.
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Some job postings are ridden with red flags — if you know how to spot them.

  • A job post is often one of the first things you encounter when searching for a new position.
  • But some are ridden with red flags — if you know how to spot them.
  • Experts told Insider what they look for in job ads that can signal trouble with the company or role.

Job posts can tell you a lot about what you’re in for, both good and bad.

If you know what red flags to look for in a job ad, you may be able to spare yourself the pain of dealing with a bad job or employer.

Here are the red flags experts say you should look for in job posts, and what they may signal about a potential employer or position.

Is the job post even real?

Before even considering if the company or position is a good fit, you ought to make sure the job exists in the first place. Sure, it’s easier said than done, but there are some signs that you may be looking at a fake job post made by a scammer. 

If the contact information isn’t consistent with the advertised employer, or if there’s vague, inaccurate, or outright missing information about the company in the job post, that should raise suspicions, said Keirsten Greggs, a talent acquisition consultant, career coach, and founder of TRAP Recruiter. Also be on the lookout for glaring spelling or grammatical errors, and remember no one should ever ask you for personal information like a Social Security Number or banking information in order for you to be considered for the job.

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In a similar vein, you should also be wary of what Katrina Kibben, a job post consultant and founder of Three Ears Media, calls “the sea of sameness.”

“You know that feeling when you start reading the exact same phrasing on a job title from three or more companies? That’s what happens when people use ChatGPT to write a job post instead of tailoring it for what they’re actually looking for,” said Kibben. In those cases, the job post and position may still be real, but beware that “the job may not reflect what’s advertised in these scenarios.”

Missing information about pay

One of the most important aspects when considering a job is compensation.

“When people ask me if they should include salary in a job post, I ask them, ‘Have you ever taken a job without knowing how much money you would make first?'” said Kibben. “It’s just basic human choice. We would never accept a job without knowing how much money we’d get in it. We cannot make a decision without that core information.”

So when a company dances around the subject or makes no mention of it at all, it’s worth noting.

“Look for vague compensation language,” said Greggs. “They should be able to give you a range.”

In practice, this means watching for phrases like “competitive salary” and “commensurate with experience” but also pay ranges that are too broad.

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Going overboard with must-haves

Meanwhile, listing too much can be a problem in other areas, particularly the requirements and qualifications section of a job post.

“Laundry lists are a huge red flag,” said Greggs. “It signals that they don’t really know what they’re looking for. When the lists are very long, it signals that they just threw everything out there to see what they can pull back and that there’s a possibility the job is not graded correctly.”

This can also take the form of excessive “testing, projects, and inflexible job requirements that become unpaid labor for the applicant” or “strict, harsh, or aggressive language” that discourages potential candidates from applying if they don’t meet all of the listed qualifications, said Greggs.

Possible signs of burnout culture or a lack of support

Some particular phrases in job descriptions can also hint there may be headaches down the road with the employer or role.

Saying your company has a “work hard, play hard” attitude, for example, can often be “an indication of a burnout culture,” said Greggs.

Pointing out a “fast-paced environment” can also signal burnout ahead or that the employer is “going to put too much on your plate,” said Kibben. “It’s usually also a hint that someone else couldn’t keep up and, rather than adjusting the workload, they blamed it on the person,” they added.

By saying the company wants a “self-starter,” an employer may unwittingly communicate to applicants that it might be too hands-off, said Greggs. “That could mean there’s no training and development available,” she said. “It could be an indication that the group doesn’t support you, and it could be an indication that they don’t know what your job is.”

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Going beyond the job post

Of course, these things aren’t always indicative of issues. In many cases, “job descriptions just aren’t written well,” said Greggs.

“Be on the lookout for red flags, but don’t necessarily count yourself out or count the employer out based off of one thing,” she added. “People should be looking for authenticity and looking beyond the job description the same way that I encourage employers and other recruiters to look beyond the résumé.”

Besides the job post, do your research on the company and role elsewhere to make a more informed decision on what to do next.

“It’s not necessarily the case that people are being insincere or that they’re trying to fool you in any type of way,” said Greggs. “It’s a matter of you asking yourself the question, ‘Why am I attracted to this job?’ If you come across a job description where you’re like, ‘Yes, I feel like I could work there,’ then those are the jobs you should be pursuing.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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