15 Things In Job Postings That Seem Normal But Are Actually Red Flags
"If it's commission-based pay, do a nope dance right out of there."
Job hunting can be complicated, especially when you're just starting out and aren't sure how to tell if a job is gonna be really great or totally bogus.
1. "Too much jargon. If the posting has a lot of buzzwords but nothing of actual substance about what the job actually is, that's a sign it's time to run."
2. "Not including the salary is a big red flag that they don't pay much. Not including a salary and using the phrase 'gain experience' is a red flag that they expect you to work for free."
3. "'Willing to take on responsibility and leadership roles within their team' in a non-managerial position means they want a manager for the salary of a non-managerial employee or they want all the employees to overwork to prove that they should be in charge."
4. "When a job for a developer requires knowledge of programming languages, test automation, analysis, management systems, bug recording, and many more. That's not a developer, that's a whole IT department."
5. "'Ability to work as a team' or any variation on that theme. Basically, that means that the boss will always have the final say and that creativity is not highly valued."
"Cute that the clueless managers who use this tired terminology think that they're 'a member of the team' though, I love that for them. Also, always be sure to look at the 'About Us' page. If the manager/director/owner/boss is the only person listed and they used 'teamwork' in the post, DO NOT APPLY."
6. "Language like 'high energy' and 'highly motivated.' It should be a given that a potential candidate would be motivated to perform their duties well. If the employer feels the need to point this out, you can bet they have a history of high turnover with unhappy former employees."
"As far as the 'energy' thing, when I see this, I can’t run away fast enough! It’s the biggest red flag I see. Someone’s personal energy levels have nothing to do with performance! We’re all different and someone being 'on,' extroverted, and running around all the time does NOT make them a better performer than the quiet, low-key types. In fact, the opposite is far more often true."
7. "If it mentions anything about 'occasional nights and weekends' on a posting for a salaried 8 a.m.–5 p.m. job, I’m out of there."
8. "If it's commission-based pay, do a nope dance right out of there. Commission pay is fine only if you're getting it on top of a good stable salary."
9. "'Schedule TBD.' Nope, nope, nope. If you’re considering me for a position, I’m considering you as a potential employer as well. We’re BOTH interviewing each other."
"Don’t let them have all of the power, guys! You have a right to know what the expectation of your hourly commitment will be, give or take a few mutually agreed upon changes after the fact. Please, please, never accept a position with a 'TBD' on the end."
10. "When a job says they offer flexible hours. They don’t mean flexible for you. They mean that they want you to have no life outside of work, and that they’re planning on absolutely wrecking your sleep schedule."
11. "'Able to work in a highly competitive environment.' Life is too short to spend your work life worried about being the best on your team. You’ll be burned out before the ink dries on your offer letter."
13. "'Clock watchers need not apply' — usually means they’ll frequently expect you to stay later than your contracted hours."
14. "I applied for a job and was asked to interview the next week. In the six business days between submitting my application and my initial phone interview, the job description was updated twice."
15. And finally, "'We’re not a company, we’re a family.' It’s almost guaranteed to be a toxic environment. Cliques, guilt trips, crossing professional boundaries, and favoritism."
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.
Now it's your turn! This time, tell us in the comments how you can spot green flags that a job actually might be great.
And for more stories about money and careers, check out the rest of our personal finance posts.