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A Job Ad Says A Lot About The Company

24 July 2019
Zara Woodcock
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When scrolling through job postings, the questions, “Is this posting real?” and “What does that even mean?” must have crossed your mind after looking at the vague language that many postings use. Many times, some postings sound too good to be true or just plain suspicious. There are certain cautionary signs to look out for that could confirm your suspicions. A job posting having one or two red flags doesn’t mean something is up, but trust your instincts when reading through.

Here are some signs to look out for when applying for jobs:

Salary: Competitive

Many companies put down “Salary: Competitive” or “Salary: £DoE” (depending on experience) instead of how much they’re willing to offer. All we see from that is that you ” pay more than minimum wage, but we’d like to see how much we can save without the applicant thinking we’re taking advantage”.

There is no justification for not showing the amount you’re willing to pay a potential employee unless you don’t want to pay them what they deserve. Many employers use “competitive” and “depending on experience” to see how much you think you should earn (or already earn) and then pay you the same amount.

Employers may try using excuses to avoid adding a salary range, such as: 

  • Putting a range will only make applicants ask for the top end of that range
  • The existing employees might see the salary range and notice the salary is higher than theirs.
  • I don’t want competitors to see how much we’re paying and offer more

If you as an employer are worried about those points, it might be time to pay your team fairly and in accordance with their skills and abilities.

Must Have More Than X+ Years Experience

If a company says something like ‘must have more than 8 years of experience in X’, what does that mean? Surely they don’t think someone with 7.5 years of experience will know less about the job than someone with eight years and two days of experience? Yes, they really do.

If you see jobs that indicate extremely specific years of experience, you can either avoid it or apply anyways. At the end of the day, your experiences should matter a lot more than the actual number of years working.

Someone who has worked three years may have the same exact knowledge – if not more – than someone with five years of employment.

The Job Posting Is Months Old Or Keeps Being Reposted

The obvious answer is that no one has been applying to the role or they still haven’t found anyone. However, if it is the latter, this may be a sign that they may be asking for too much or are looking for the wrong thing.

Unless it’s for a traditionally high turnover position like something in the retail and hospitality industries, this is usually a sign that the company can’t keep people. Approach with caution. There’s a reason employees leave their jobs, so it might be best to avoid applying.

Required: Postgraduate Degree In X

Many employers tack on endless certifications and qualifications needed in order to apply for the role, and half of the time it isn’t actually needed. Hiring managers usually do it simply to filter out half the candidates. They are aware that fewer people will apply, making their selection process easier.

Another reason for adding credential after credential is because the company actually has no clue what the role requires and entails. This means working without proper direction. A classic example is, surprisingly, the number of companies that request four to five years of experience with a program when it only came out two years ago. Another example is when companies require 10-20 skills and credentials when only a quarter is needed to do the job well.

Lastly, check out the reviews of the company on Glassdoor to confirm your suspicions about the job postings.