5 Red Flags to Watch for During Your Job Search
Job seekers spend hours crafting the perfect resume to best represent their skills and qualifications. While focusing all their efforts on ensuring their resume eliminates any potential red flags for employers, they often forget to be on the lookout for red flags in the job postings they are applying for.
When job searching, it’s important to ensure you want to work for a company as much as you want them to hire you. While there’s no true way to be certain a company and its culture will be a good fit until the interview, there are some red flags to watch out for in job postings that will give valuable insight as to whether you truly want to work there or not:
A job posting should include a realistic description of the position’s responsibilities and the true requirements necessary to be successful in the role. A company’s expectations of the role and potential candidates should be high, but realistic. Having unrealistic requirements on a job posting, such as asking for 4 years of experience on an entry-level position, is a red flag. It shows a misunderstanding of the responsibilities and expectations of a specific role and the necessary skills and qualifications to succeed in it.
Extremely long/broad list of “must have” requirements
To succeed in a specific role, there is a minimum of skills and qualifications necessary. If a job posting has an extremely long list of requirements, or the requirements are extremely broad and seemingly unrelated, this is a red flag. An excessive list of qualification requirements shows the company has unrealistic expectations or a severe misunderstanding of the skills necessary to succeed in the role. It also demonstrates a potential lack of interest in employee training opportunities and the option to learn and grow into a role. An extremely broad list of requirements sends a message that the company doesn’t truly know the type of candidate they are looking for.
Very vague description of responsibilities
A job description should clearly outline the responsibilities and tasks of a given position; if you don’t have a good idea of what the job entails after reading the provided description, this is a red flag. Along with a broad description, a vague one can also signify the company is unsure about the position’s responsibilities and the type of candidate that would be best suited for the role. Furthermore, it can also give the illusion that there is something to hide.
It’s important to distinguish between a short job description and a vague one. Sometimes, a short description is all that’s necessary as the position may be pretty straight forward. As long as the main function(s) and responsibilities of the position are accurately and appropriately conveyed, the length of the description doesn’t matter.
Unclear or missing instructions on how to apply
A key component to any job listing is how to apply for the position. If the instructions on how to apply are unclear or worse, missing, this is a huge red flag signaling disorganization and a lack of preparedness within the hiring department.
Another red flag to watch for on job postings is an unrealistic pay range. Often, many companies will forego providing a pay range altogether and instead ask for an applicant’s wage requirements so they can more accurately negotiate appropriate compensation. A lack of listed wages is better than an unrealistic wage, such as offering a lower wage while requiring many years of experience. An unrealistic pay range signals the company may have a fundamental misunderstanding of compensation practices.
Keep in mind that as a job seeker, you need to have a good understanding of what an appropriate pay range requirement is for yourself based on your skills and experience, and for any given position. Just because you feel the listed wage is too low doesn’t necessarily mean it is an inappropriate amount for that position – your expectations must be realistic too.
When job hunting, it’s critical to your success that you present yourself in the best light possible while accurately portraying your skills and qualifications – you don’t want to accidentally throw up a red flag to a potential employer because you didn’t proofread your resume. Likewise, you must watch out for red flags the companies you are applying with may present. It’s important to your long-term success, as well as the company’s, that you are a good fit for each other.