Career advice delivered to you.
Looking to take the next step in your career? Hunting for a tech job can be a tricky business. While you can’t necessarily afford to be too picky, you need to distinguish great career opportunities from the entries on job posting sites that will just waste your precious time.
Online job postings always try to make the company and role seem exciting. In this post, we’ll explore five red flags in a job posting that can warn you of a potentially terrible job. Let’s dig in.
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1. A vague job description
A job description is meant to give you a clear picture of what the position involves and what skills are required. This way, you can quickly determine whether or not you’re well-suited for the job.
A vague job description is a big red flag. It’s an indication that the potential employer is unfocused, and they don’t really know what it takes to get the job done. Such a job description also means that the job will lack structured goals.
“Be cautious about job descriptions with oxymoronic or double-barreled job titles. Double-barreled job postings seek to employ one person to fill two positions.”
Also, be cautious about job descriptions with oxymoronic or double-barreled job titles. Double-barreled job postings seek to employ one person to fill two positions. For instance, a bilingual office administrator/ translator means that you will not only handle administrative tasks in the office, you may also have to translate all the communications that take place in the organization.
Oxymoronic job titles are often used by companies that want to hire experts for beginner-level salaries.
2. Too many requirements for a tech job
In addition to steering clear of job postings with insufficient requirements, you should also be wary of descriptions that list too many requirements. This is known as credential creep.
A tech job posting with numerous basic qualifications shows that the employer is not sure of what they’re looking for. This will make it challenging for most applicants to get through the screening process and almost impossible to meet expectations when hired.
A credential creep on the other hand tells you that since the employer does not have enough information about the role, you will work without enough direction and leadership.
“A tech job posting with numerous basic qualifications shows that the employer is not sure of what they’re looking for.”
An excellent example of a credential creep is where a company lists “five years of experience” for a tech job that requires software that is hardly a year old. The job posting may also require so many years of experience and diverse skills that it’s unlikely for one individual to possess them all. Another example of a credential creep is when an organization asks for advanced certification and degrees that are not even necessary for the job. This tactic is used by organizations that want few people to apply so that they have an easy time during the selection process.
3. The job posting mentions outlandish earning potential
Whenever you’re looking for career opportunities on job posting sites, don’t trust any listing that seems too good to be true.
Some job positions, especially those listed as marketing, are disguised sales roles. Some of these will even ask you to purchase products so you can resell them at a profit. This means that as soon as you pay for the goods, the company makes a profit and you’re left to try and make a profit on your own.
Such jobs may also state an earning potential with a wide range instead of quoting specific salary figures. Anytime you see such a posting on a job board, the salary is likely commission-based. You can always expect to make the lower end of the stated range. If you see an income range such as $50,000 to $100,000, you can expect to make little more than $50,000 on average.
“Such jobs may also state an earning potential with a wide range instead of quoting specific salary figures. Anytime you see such a posting on a job board, the salary is likely commission-based.”
Most people in such positions don’t make six figures, but the employers state large income possibilities to entice you into applying for the job. It’s just like in multi-level marketing. Most of the employees are earning low figures.
This is not to say that commission-based positions are always bad. Some positions can get you a good salary, but you should always be careful about applying for jobs that state exaggerated commissions.
4. Indicators of poor work-life balance
If you’ve been on job posting sites for a while, you may have come across some job descriptions that cleverly disguise an organization’s poor work-life balance.
Most job descriptions will state flexibility as a highly desirable trait, but if it’s overemphasized and repeated over and over in the job description, you might want to think twice. Overemphasis on qualities like ‘nimble,’ ‘agile,’ ‘able to work independently’ and ‘able to change directions quickly’ is a possible indication of chaos in the organization.
Other qualities that you should carefully examine include ‘must be able to work in highly stressful environments’ and ‘must be willing to wear multiple hats.’ Such phrases are used by organizations that are understaffed and have little respect for work-life balance.
“Overemphasis on qualities like ‘nimble,’ ‘agile,’ ‘able to work independently’ and ‘able to change directions quickly’ is a possible indication of chaos in the organization.”
Other job postings might indicate that you’re required to take work-related phone calls on evenings and weekends. Some may also mention that ‘most of our employees stay later’ and ‘you might need to take some projects home with you.’ Such jobs might not be a good fit for you if you value your life outside of work as you will often have to work early mornings, late evenings, and over the weekend. You will never really have off-days or free time.
5. The opportunity has been up for a long time on job posting sites
If a job posting has been on a job board for months, it could be because the company is always looking to fill high-turnover positions. It may also imply that the company is putting the position on hold and the reasons for the high turnover are not legit. It could also be that the company is collecting resumes to gather specific information or to reuse them later.
A job that keeps being reposted is also a major red flag. It shows that the organization is unable to retain its employees for some reason. Be cautious with such positions. Employees leave their jobs for a reason, and most of the time, it’s usually a bad boss or poor working conditions.
Signs of bad jobs are very apparent, and most times you’ll be able tell a good job fit from a wrong one based on your gut. If your gut says “No way,” listen to your gut! Even when you trust a company and feel good about a job title, if a job posting contains the red flags we have discussed above, you might want to rethink your decision to apply.