How is job hunting similar to dating? Employer’s red flags and more!
Has your secret admirer got a dark secret?
Valentine’s day is usually a time when we have our loved ones in mind rather than potential employers or job hunting in general. However, we wanted to use this opportunity to flag it how similar dating is to job hunting! When applying for jobs, remember to keep an eye out as just like in online dating, a potential employer can be a fraudster, pretending to be someone they are not. This year, we want to show you how to protect your heart from falling head over heels for a job advert scam!
Know your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as what you hope to gain from the job, and keep those things in mind as you read job listings and research potential places to work. Also, be alert for these red flags. They don’t necessarily mean that you need to avoid a company, but they can provide you with a reason to look a little closer and see if the job really would be a good fit for you.
Because, you know, nobody wants to be miserable and scrambling for another position only a few months after taking one.
🚩 Vague job description
As LinkedIn states, a job description should clearly outline the responsibilities and tasks of a given position; if you don’t have a good idea of what the job entails after reading the provided description, this is a red flag. Along with a broad description, a vague one can also signify the company is unsure about the position’s responsibilities and the type of candidate that would be best suited for the role. Furthermore, it can also give the illusion that there is something to hide.
It’s important to distinguish between a short job description and a vague one. Sometimes, a short description is all that’s necessary as the position may be pretty straight forward. As long as the main function(s) and responsibilities of the position are accurately and appropriately conveyed, the length of the description doesn’t matter.
🚩 No salary information
INC believes that it’s almost ridiculous to have to say, and yet most job listings fail to include salary information. And to candidates there’s one glaring reason many don’t: they’re not proud of what they have to offer. If you’re hiding something, there’s a reason for it–and you can’t hide from that fact. Speaking of facts, salary is the most important part of a job ad, according to research from the world’s largest HR professional organization, SHRM.
🚩 Online reviews
For the most part, if you receive adequate service at a restaurant, you probably won’t bother leaving a review. But if you end up with terrible service? There’s a good chance you’ll write an angry review during the ride home.
The same is true of an employer. Most former and current employees don’t bother writing reviews unless the company is outstanding or awful. If there are a lot of poor employee ratings for the company on Glassdoor or some other website, that’s a huge red flag.
Maybe you’ve just seen a news report about a scandal, an upcoming merger or a radical change in direction. When there’s news that indicates a company is in turmoil, that could be a sign that they aren’t going to be around for very long. Or, at the very least, it could mean that things are going to be disorganized for a while.
🚩 LinkedIn presence
Check if the company is on LinkedIn. Most of the time, whether it is a brand new startup or an old company, they will have an online presence on social media. Read the reviews, connect with current employees, see the amount of activity, followers and engagement. Lack of any presence on LinkedIn can be a little bit suspicious and if there are no current employees available on the site to connect with, that is definitely a red flag.
🚩 Lack of company mission or vision
“Work an Money” rightfully points out that many of us like to feel as though we’re doing meaningful work. Look on the company website for its mission or ask the hiring manager what they feel is the purpose of the company. A well-defined mission can indicate that the company knows where it’s going and has defined goals.
An ill-defined mission can indicate that a company doesn’t have an overarching purpose — and therefore doesn’t have a plan for reaching its goals. Without a good plan, a company is more likely to fail, resulting in job loss for employees.
🚩 High turnover
As Forbes recommends, you can learn a lot by asking why a position is vacant, so make sure this is one of your questions. If it seems it’s been tough to retain someone in the job or the department has several open roles they’re replacing, probe deeper. You won’t likely get the whole truth, but trust your Spidey sense. This is a warning sign that you’ll likely be in another job search soon if you accept this offer.
🚩 They offer you the job on the spot
It seems perfect: They make a job offer to you during the interview. But wait a minute. Why are they so eager to nail you down?
Perhaps they’re trying to force you into accepting certain terms immediately, not allowing you time to think through the offer. They might be afraid that if they give you time to think about the offer, you’ll find some problems with it.
Another consideration might be that the job has high turnover and they need to fill the position quickly. If they have that much trouble retaining employees, there might be underlying problems that make the company a terrible place to work.
Most job seekers complain about how long and drawn out the hiring process is, so if you find the process moving much faster than you anticipated, explore why. Both hiring a candidate and accepting a new position are big decisions and most employers and job seekers want to get as much data as possible to make an informed choice. If you feel rushed, ask to slow the process down so you can gather more information, and be very wary if this request is rebuffed.
🚩 Unpaid trial period
Perhaps you’re being asked to do sample work without pay. That addition to an application process is a definite indication that your potential employer doesn’t value you or your time — and that could be telling in the work environment.
🚩 Company culture
Will you be expected to be on call on evenings and weekends? Does the hiring manager say things like, “Many of our employees stay later” or “Don’t be surprised if you take some of your projects home with you”?
There’s nothing wrong with working hard and putting in a little overtime. But if it looks like the normal state of operations is for most employees to be coming in early and/or staying late, you might find it hard to strike the work/life balance you want.
Although the pandemic has likely changed our relationship with the office forever, companies that offer on-site dry cleaning, gyms, nap pods and ping pong do so to keep you at the office longer. While some employees may relish creating their personal community at the same place as their work one, many others value work-life balance and autonomy. Inviting employees and their immediate families to a full-on Thanksgiving feast in the office cafeteria is not a perk now, and wasn’t then, either.
🚩 No written contract
My word is oak. Employment is a contract and terms should be outlined in writing. If an employer is hesitant to put key details like salary, benefits and other agreed-upon perks into a signed letter or another type of formal agreement, you shouldn’t count on those promises materializing. Even if made with good intentions, bosses leave, conversations are forgotten and power dynamics shift. Without a paper trail, your expectations are just wishes.
🚩 You can’t see the employee handbook
An employee handbook is a document that helps you understand your rights, as well as responsibilities, with the company. The company should allow you to read it and ask questions before you make your final acceptance of an offer.
If the company expects you to accept an offer before seeing the handbook, that could be a red flag indicating that they have something to hide. Or, even worse, there might not be a handbook for you to read. Without a handbook, it’s hard for you to know what recourse you might have in certain situations, so consider running the other direction.
🚩 Asking for investment
A lot of the time, when applying or offered jobs on Facebook, a platform with very little quality control when it comes to job offers, you might be asked for an up-front investment. These are the kind of offers you should avoid. While you might find some real job opportunities on Facebook, it is much safer to apply for jobs on sites (like PitchMe!) that check if the employer is real and whether the advert is a real job offer and not a scam.
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Don’t send strangers money,
If it feels too good to be true!
Dating or Job Hunting tips
It’s February 14th and you are sitting across from your beloved at a romantic, dimly lit restaurant. Your significant other pulls out a small box, wrapped in gold paper and a bright red ribbon. You slowly unwrap the box, and inside you find the gift you’ve always wanted…your dream job!
Okay, maybe that’s too fantastical but dating and job hunting have some things in common and on a day like Valentines it is fun to compare them to each other! In fact, many of the “rules” of successful dating can prove helpful in your career planning and job hunting:
❤️ There is plenty of fish in the sea
We’ve all become smitten with a person or job opportunity that seemed to be absolutely perfect for us. Well, as a job seeker in a challenging job market, it’s actually quite dangerous to set your sights on one absolutely perfect position. You’re likely to be disappointed, and you’ll be ignoring all of the good positions that might have great potential. Smart job seekers cast a wide (but focused) net.
❤️ You call it madness but I call it love
Looking for “the one”, whether it’s a partner or a job, can seem a lot like madness. If love letters and cover letters suddenly all start to look the same, perhaps it’s time to take a step back. The pressure of finding the dream job can be as exhausting as the pressure of finding the ideal partner. Don’t let it crush you. Make sure that while looking for “the one” you don’t lose yourself!
❤️ A life lived in love will never be dull
They say that if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life. It’s challenging to find a job that you will truly love, but believe us, it’s worth the search. Once you find the perfect role, with a competitive salary, great teammates, all the flexibility you need but also, the “love”, you not only will never work a day in your life, but your life will never be dull either. To get more tips on how to find the perfect job for you, make sure you check out our other articles on the PitchMe blog!
❤️ True love stories never have an ending
Don’t settle for less than you deserve! Make sure you find exactly what you want so you can live with your job “happily ever after…”. Looking for a new gig every few months is exhausting. If you can, try to find a role that really suits you, rather than just “something to let you survive for now”. Not everyone can have a chance to do that though. It requires patience, time and different types of support. We recommend always looking for a better job when you don’t need one! This way, you can reject all the offers you want and really settle for “the one”. It only takes a few minutes to create a profile on PitchMe and it’s completely free. It doesn’t hurt to just see what’s available out there. Who knows, maybe your perfect date this Valentines will be with your dream job?
PitchMe or Dating Apps?
There is no better day to bring up the similarities between PitchMe and famous online dating, than Valentine’s day!
Forget endless swiping, forget endless pages of job adverts! Imagine if instead you could be matched with your ideal job, based on your exact preferences. Rather than having to go through all the jobs and chose them based on irrelevant information (star sign, competitive salary?), we will match you with the jobs that require your exact skills and meet your expectations.
Unlike dating apps, you will not get catfished on PitchMe. We have a quality control team making sure every job on our site is real and every employer legit. We also do not offer any subscription plans, as we don’t want to put money between you and your dream job. Registering and applying for jobs is free and there is no limit!
Whether you are “single”, happily employed or just keeping your eyes peeled on what’s out there, let PitchMe be your cupid this Valentines and just like a dating app, match you with the perfect role you were searching for all your life!
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