Are you looking for your next career move?
Hunting for a job can be tricky sometimes. Long waiting times can lead applicants—with bills to pay—to grow increasingly impatient and adopt a rather desperate mindset. This desperation can be dangerous, as it sometimes causes applicants to abandon their common good judgment and ignore warning signals—colloquially known as red flags. The unfortunate result is that Australian jobseekers lost more than $8.7 million to scammers posing as recruiters in 2022, but the actual number is believed to be much higher.
Job seekers accept completely unsuitable jobs, which inevitably causes stress, financial troubles, and sometimes flat-out misery. More often than not, they end up back at square one, looking for yet another new job. 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 save you precious time.
Online job postings always try to make the company and role seem exciting. If you see a job posting with multiple warning signs from the ones listed below, watch out: it could very well be a fraud. Of course, one or two of these red flags doesn’t always mean something is wrong. Let’s dig in.
An excellent way to start the search for your next role? Talk to one of our recruiters.
1. Job descriptions that are vague or too broad
A job description gives 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.
Vague job descriptions can be a red flag in a job posting because they can indicate that the employer needs a clearer idea of what they’re looking for in a candidate or trying to attract a wide range of applicants. It can make it difficult for potential candidates to determine if they are a good fit for the position or if the company matches their career goals.
Also, be cautious about job descriptions with oxymoronic or double-barreled job titles. Companies use Oxymoronic job titles to hire experts for beginner-level salaries. Double-barreled job postings seek to employ one person to fill two positions. For instance, a bilingual office administrator/ translator means that you will handle administrative tasks in the office and have to translate all the communications in the organisation.
2. No interview is required
Did you get a job offer with little to no interview process? If so, your alarm bells should start ringing. Although remote companies might conduct online interviews, you should at least meet with someone over video chat. If you get a job offer after only emailing back and forth, you should ask to Skype with an actual hiring manager before you share any private data.
“Bottom Line: Never give out your financial information during an online job interview”.
3. No contact person or website
Before applying for a job, please do your due diligence by researching the company and heading to its official website. If you’re having trouble tracking down a point of contact or even a website, you might have a scam on your hands.
If you can’t find any website or social media presence, the company might not exist. It would be best if you also were on the lookout for a copycat URL — using “.co” where the actual website has “.com,” for example — and any other spelling irregularities that could point to a scam.
You should keep hunting for a more secure opportunity if the company needs a more digital presence.
4. 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.
Frequently reposted jobs are also a major red flag. It shows that the organisation cannot 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.
5. Flexibility and Unlimited PTO
It sounds counter-intuitive, but if a posting talks about flexibility a lot, it might be a sign that work-life balance is non-existent. It could indicate that nights, weekends, and 60-hour weeks are the norms, and you may be required to work during certain situations you prefer not to. Individuals are stepping away from a deathbed to join conference calls.
Protect yourself from job scams
Thanks to online job boards, it’s easy to search for work from the comfort of your computer. But you must use legitimate sites that carefully screen job postings, and remember that fake postings can fall through the cracks even on reputable job boards. So it’s up to you to recognise the red flags and protect yourself from scammers.
Listen to your instincts, and don’t let desperation for a job make you vulnerable to fake ads. Otherwise, you won’t just be disappointed by the false promise of work — you could also end up losing money or becoming a victim of identity theft.