Red Flags When Job-Hunting

I have done a lot of job-hunting in my day and have come across a lot of the same red flags during my searches. I thought I’d share them with you, as I know job-hunting is not easy, the process of interviewing can be grueling, and the amount and variety of job ads posted on the internet can be overwhelming.

The company is disorganized. This could mean they don’t get back to you when they say they will. They lose part of your application. Their web site doesn’t work. Or other signs they don’t “run a tight ship”. If it’s like this before you’re hired, it most likely will be the same afterwards and could prove to be a big headache.

The pay is not stated. You’ll notice job ads always include what they’re looking for in an employee and the qualifications of the job. But job ads that don’t also include the wages/salary and other employee benefits are disrespectful of a job seeker’s time, energy, and expectations. At the very least, they should offer a range (to account for differences in years of experience and education level). Best believe they will require an application and resume from you before bothering to reach out, so they should also divulge what they “bring to the table” as an employer.

They seem desperate to hire you. They don’t want to give you time to think it over. They make an offer on the spot. They receive your application and are wanting to interview you the next day. They act unhappy when you tell them you plan on giving your current workplace a two weeks’ notice before you can begin work. These are all red flags that they’re not the sweet deal you might think they are.

They violate labor laws. They ask you inappropriate questions during the interview (“Are you pregnant/have kids?” “Do you believe in God?” Etc.) or sneak legally unenforceable language into your contract, such as not sharing your salary with your coworkers. This means they’re either stupid for running a business without knowing the law, they perceive you as stupid and believe you don’t know the law, or they just don’t care about breaking the law. If they’re doing this now, you can be sure they will do more of the same after you’re hired.

They require too many hoops be jumped through for a low-paying, dead-end job. Multiple interviews, multiple assessments, multiple kinds of background checks over months. They might be unreasonable employers looking for a unicorn to fill the role. Even if you get the job, you might find you’re miserable in the role.

Job duties are not clearly defined. This might mean they don’t have a clear vision for the role themselves. This might mean they need a Girl or Guy Friday whose job responsibilities will be loosely-defined and boundary-less. Either way, it’s important for you to know what you’re getting yourself into, and it’s important for them to communicate this in the job ad so as not to waste your time.

You find lots of bad reviews online or lawsuits related to them. This means others have “run the gauntlet” before you and serve as warnings so you don’t have to find out the hard way.

They are constantly posting ads. This means a high turn-over rate, which probably means it’s not the best place to work. If the job is as great an opportunity as what’s being advertised, why aren’t they able to keep employees?

They are open 24/7 hours or say something like “Monday to Friday job but we may need you some nights/weekends.” This could mean a poor work/life balance for you if you take this role.

The ad uses flowery, infomercial-like language like “Do you want unlimited earning potential? More freedom? Do you want to reach your dreams?” These are often commission-based sales jobs which will entail a lot more work than you might be expecting. There are usually two types of people in this job: the majority who “sink” and end up quitting or being fired, and those few who “swim”, who very often have the personality traits and connections that make them good at this type of work.

They promise very high income for little to no education/credentials. If anyone could do this job but the salary/wage is suspiciously high, it’s probably not a legit opportunity. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Very high qualifications are required for a low salary. They want something for nothing and have no intentions of treating you fairly.

Pay is commission-based with little or no base pay. This can be okay if you’re not in a position where you need to be making money immediately and where you’re already a great salesperson and the product/service you’re selling is something for which there is a high demand. Otherwise, you might put in a whole lot of time and effort for little to no pay. Also, these very often entail sales jobs where you have to come up with your own leads, which means bugging family, friends, and strangers in line at the grocery store. These jobs can be very lucrative, but it takes a certain specific type of person to feel comfortable in this role.

What red flags have you identified when job-hunting?