How To Identify A Job Ad Red Flag

A fulfilling job starts with a job description filled with green flags. We’re talking perks, expected salary, clear roles and responsibilities, and a well-reviewed workplace. 

But what are some of the no-nos that you should be equally wary of? The team at Woods & Co put their heads together for our coveted career seekers and came up with a list of job ad red flags.

For more help finding your dream job through a professional recruitment agency, get in touch with Woods & Co and let us do the dirty work. 

They can’t define the role or success

You don’t have to be a professional proofreader to know when a job description is super vague. As you seek out your dream job, be on the lookout for simple things like subheadings and bullet-pointed lists of tasks that you can expect to perform in the new role. 

If the description has simply copied in slabs of text with boring phrases like “client engagement” (emails), “internal communications” (more emails), and “data analysis” (deciphering terrible emails), then run fast and run far. 

You want measurable, actionable tasks you can envision yourself doing as you read job descriptions, so that’s what we aim to write at Woods & Co. 

No qualifications or experience required

There are very few roles where you can walk into the workplace without any qualifications or experience and get away with it. Perhaps if you’re a new apprentice or a volunteer, then we’d let this one slide. But otherwise, qualifications should be expected. 

We’re not talking about asking for 3-5 years of experience in a graduate role, but some kind of experience should be expected in most jobs. 

If a workplace is hiring people with no experience, you can expect that it’s in some kind of state and they might need you to clean it up.

“Fast-paced environment” 

Possibly the biggest red flag of all, despite appearing on a terrifyingly large number of job descriptions. A “fast-paced environment” simply means they’re overworked and you’re going to be burnt out in a matter of months. 

This is no kind of workplace for you, and you may as well try to avoid this at all costs when you’re starting fresh. 

You may also see “works well under pressure,” “excellent at multitasking” and “handles stress well.” These are all signs of a workplace that needs to hire more than one new employee to manage the workload — or fix up its processes. 

Other buzz phrases to be wary of include “we’re like a family,” “fun-loving vibe” and “must have a sense of humour.” 


Recruiter costs

We don’t mean to toot our own horn, but any recruiter who charges to find you a job is a waste of your money. Especially when there are perfectly respectable options that won’t cost you a cent (like us!)

This either tells you the employer isn’t paying them enough and therefore isn’t adequately invested in the hiring process, or the employer simply hasn’t vetted the recruiter well enough. 

No employer in their right mind should be calling on a recruiter who charges applicants. It’s hard enough to find a job without having a financial barrier to entry — especially if you’re between jobs! 

More red flags…

There are more things to consider as you move through the application phase — shifty interviews, high turnover rates, messy hiring process etc. But we’ll save that for another blog.

We hope these red flags hold you in good stead throughout the job hunt and you land your dream job soon enough. But that won’t just happen, of course. You’ll likely need the support of a credible recruitment agency like Woods & Co. So, get in touch and let us help you out with more green and red flags.