7 Potential red flags in a job posting

Potential Potential red flags in a job posting

Job postings, also known as job ads, inform potential candidates about an opening in a company and invites them to apply. They aim at attracting the perfect candidate. For this reason, a job advertisement should be engaging, brief and to the point. Job postings provide candidates with a glimpse of what to expect once inside the company. Most job seekers research a company before applying. Therefore, it is important to create a good first impression and get the candidate excited to apply.

A standard job posting structure has the title, responsibility, requirement, company bio, benefits, and instructions on applying. However, some job postings have left many job seekers thinking twice about whether to apply for a role or not. Such postings have misleading language that does not paint a clear picture of the day to day role, company culture and the company in general. This automatically sets off a potential relationship on a sour note. Below are some of the red flags that keep job seekers from responding to a job posting.

  1. Urgent hiring

Urgent hire often indicates a high turnover rate and poor planning. Replacement plans ought to begin the moment the predecessor hands in their resignation. The notice period is ideally when recruitment activities should have been going on. Therefore, urgent hire means someone left unexpectedly, and the company needs to fill up the role asap. It also means that the company will recruit hurriedly as filling the vacant position is pretty high on the urgent list.

2. Working occasional nights and weekends

This phrase has no work-life balance written all over it. Unfortunately, recruiters have gone to the extent of cleverly disguising the words by having the term flexible working all over the posting. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with flexible working or putting in extra hours, but how is flexible working defined in the employee handbook? How often is the demand for extra hours? It is not flexible working if one has to be on their desk past 5 pm.

Such phrases indicate that either the company does not value work-life balance or the company is short-staffed. For this reason, the potential new employee will be required to put in extra hours or wear multiple hats other than the role they are applying for.

3. Salary is commission based.

Commission-based salary is common, especially in sales and business development roles. This means that individuals in such jobs draw their income based on the product or service they sell. It is a highly competitive role that means a high-stress environment with no job security in simple terms. Commission-based jobs deprive employees of a stable salary; hence not ideal for candidates looking for a steady income. Commissions are good and motivate employees to increase sales figures but only when complemented with a regular salary.

Commission-based jobs deprive employees of a stable salaryREAD ALSO: HR risks and how to manage them

4. Overemphasis on cool culture

Job posting gives candidates an idea of the culture to expect once inside the company.  Today job seekers consider company culture as serious as they do the salary.  Cool culture has become a trend, especially for start-ups and tech companies that mainly target millennials. Hip, cool and lax is acceptable and such a fantastic culture. Still, recruiters also need to showcase the performance and value-based culture of the company on the very same posting to avoid misleading the candidates.

Some phrases found in job postings also leave job seekers questioning whether or not to apply for the role as it speaks volumes about the company culture. Phrases such as; fast-paced environment have never been a selling point for any role. Phrases such as roll up your sleeves scream unrealistic expectations. A highly competitive environment means you’ll burn out even before the ink dries. Thick skin translates to a toxic environment, among many others.

5. A long list of responsibilities and requirements

If the list of responsibilities overwhelms you, there is a very high chance that the actual job will also overwhelm you. For example, I recently came across a vacancy ad. for a digital marketer where the list of responsibilities included;  Content creation, graphic design, website designing, SEO and media buying. This long list clearly showed that the recruiter had no clue of what they want. The reality is they should be recruiting for five roles and not one. 

Sadly, the many responsibilities translate to many requirements, making it impossible for candidates to get past the screening stage.  An ideal job posting should not go past two pages maximum.  Short job postings perform much better than long ones as they are easy to scan.

Always trust your gut, it knows what your head hasn’t figured out yet.- Anonymous

6. Lifestyle perks

It is common to see some companies especially advertising agencies and tech startups, entice candidates by listing their lifestyle perks on the job posting. Common perks include a ping pong table, free meals, an office bar at a subsidized rate, toys, office games, Friday shindig etc. However, there are some hidden dangers in such perks. The truth is, some of these perks are meant to keep you in the office for longer periods. This indicates poor work-life balance. 

Employers who offer such perks definitely remain competitive in the war of talent. But, today’s talent is woke and can see the real intention behind these perks. It is time to offer more personalised perks. How about an education or mortgage loan repayment plan outside the instead of an open office bar. Allocating a set amount that employees and potential employees can spend on perks that best suits their need is the way to go.

7. Frequent job posting

I am sure every job seeker knows this one company that posts and reposts vacancies all the time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this as ads are posted as and when opportunities arise, the problem comes when that accounting vacancy is published a year in year out. To add insult to injury, confessions have been made of these companies subjecting candidates to interview tests, with an aim to ‘steal ideas’. 

My advice to job seekers is to not give it all away during the job interview. And if a company is constantly posting the same vacancy, it simply means the turnover rate is high. There is a problem within the company or with this specific role. 

In conclusion, a job posting is a company’s first impression to candidates. Make it a good one. Showcase how the role serves a bigger purpose. Showcase how the role aligns with the company’s mission and vision. List down the existing challenge and how the potential employee stands to make an impact. Be clear on the skillset and personality need. Last and certainly not least, state the growth prospect available. 

What are some of your biggest red flags In a job posting?

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