Looking for a job is a tedious affair. Often, we skim through descriptions and apply for the job, without being fully aware of what we are getting into. It’s OK, we’ve all done it. It was while on a recent job hunt that I realised–job descriptions can be quite deceiving. In fact, many job descriptions are embedded with cues that will tell you how much the gig will suck.
If you are in the same boat as me, watch out for these red flags in job descriptions before getting your hopes high.
No specific details
Job descriptions that do not have specific details about the role you are applying for, are a big no-no. If you haven’t understood what you are supposed to be doing, then do not apply for the job because clearly, they don’t know what they are looking for either.
Job descriptions must always give future employees a clear idea of what they will be required to do. This is essential for the person to determine whether or not they are a good fit for the role. If the description is ambiguous, we’d suggest you ignore it and move on!
Too many requirements
Job descriptions with a lot of details can be misleading too. If the gig has too many requirements and essentially describes a three-person job rolled into one position, stay away. This signals to the company’s excessive demands and a poor work-life balance, which might harm you in the long run. Sometimes this may also indicate that the employer has no clue what they are looking for, or how to get the job done. Not a fruitful environment to work in.
Is the job listing one-sided? Ideally, job descriptions should talk about the role of the company too, and how it can benefit the potential employee. Benefits such as insurance, provident fund, leaves, timings and non-working weekends are important and must be mentioned.
If the job only talks about what they expect from an employee, it points towards bad work culture and an organisation that will not invest in you and your development. This is a major red flag.
Anonymous job posting
Stay away from job listings that are posted anonymously, or do not declare the company’s name. If the company is not reputable enough to put its name out in the open, that’s a problem. You may not see it now, but you will if you end up applying anyway.
Unreal earning potential
If an ad for a job mentions an unreal paycheque, it’s surely a red flag! Rest assured, no one is going to pay you double of what your job is worth in the market. You may get lucky and negotiate a good deal, but jobs advertising unreal earning potential are almost always commission-based. In simple terms, it means that you get money for the business you bring in. This may not always work out well for the employee, especially if marketing is not your strong suit. The big numbers may make the job look glorious, but if you take the job you could end up missing a few zeros from that number, which isn’t fun at all.
Vague job titles
Many job descriptions begin with vague job titles that have been created just to lure talent. These jobs could well be describing not one but two roles, which the company has combined to cut costs. This is a ploy and you must see through it. ‘Well-spoken office admin’ could mean that they will also ask you to make marketing calls, while ‘novice editor’ indicates that they want you to do the job of an editor, with the salary of a fresher.
Too much ‘flexibility’
A flexible work environment is much desired by many job-seekers. But are you up for too much flexibility? It could just be a way of twisting words to make the job sound good. For instance, getting to choose which days of the week you work could mean that you won’t get the weekends off and you’ll have to put in late nights too. It is important that you and your employer share the same definition of ‘flexible’ before you get into something that’s tough to get out of.