September 15, 2011
6 Potential Job-Post Caution Signs
Wondering whether a job post is worth the effort that applying will take? Monster customers pay to post jobs on our site, and we work with them to craft effective posts -- so you have much less to worry about on Monster than on, for instance, job boards where potential employers can post for free. (And if you suspect that a job post is a scam or is unethical, we want to hear about it right away! Check out our Monster Security Center for more information.)
Nonetheless, it's the companies themselves that are responsible for the actual application and hiring process (as well as, obviously, the working conditions and so on), and there are some caution signs to beware of when you're looking at a job post. Note that these signs don't necessarily mean there's something wrong -- but they are clues that you should perhaps proceed with a little bit of caution.
1. The job was posted months ago, or the job is continuously reposted.
Often, the reason for this is perfectly legit: a large company simply may have lots of similar positions to fill, or an employer may have typically high-turnover positions (such as seasonal hospitality jobs). But if that's not the case, this may be a flag that the company is has put the position on indefinite hold or has high turnover for reasons that might inspire concern. (The employer might also just be waiting for the absolute perfect match for the description, so if you're it, you'll want to apply.)
2. The post says "Company Confidential."
You have to ask yourself, "What's going on here?" Is the position not truly open yet? Is an agency collecting resumes without a company’s consent? Why the secrecy? There may be no cause for concern; however, a post like this makes it difficult to tailor your resume and do the appropriate research.
3. The post says "Fax your resume to ..."
This may be a company that isn't keeping up with the times. (Then again, the company may just be testing your ability to follow instructions.)
4. The post has lots of phrases like "Must be extremely hard-working" and "Must be able to handle extremely high stress."
An ability to work hard should be a given, so if a post says "extremely hard-working," know that it means "extreeeeeeemely hard-working." For you, such an environment might be perfect. And lots of high-stress jobs are extremely rewarding. But if a job post is focusing on the difficulty of a job (instead of selling the company as a great place to work, in order to attract the best, most-appropriate candidates), you should at least go into the application process knowing that your life-work-balance issues will not be a priority at this company.
5. The post lists the salary as "Earn up to $500k per year."
This is another matter of simply being aware of what you're signing up for. Speaking aboout the salary in terms of "up to" indicates that the job pays on comission, and that's usually fine. Just be sure to ask about base salaries and average incomes when you get to discussing things with a hiring manager. If something sounds too good to be true, it just might be.
6. The post is discriminatory.
In most cases, this is illegal; in others, there is a gray area -- for example, if a company states that it is not considering unemployed people. (Of the more than a million posts on Monster.com, we haven't seen one like this in a while, we're very happy to say.) Although this form of discrimination is not illegal, such a statement of bias is a clear indicator that the company is not one you'd want to work for (clearly, just for starters, the people doing the hiring aren't doing a good job of looking for the best and brightest employees!).
Maybe it's good that the rare companies that do this also advertise the fact that they're engaged in this practice, so you don't waste your time with them. But you might consider writing a letter to someone in the company's public-relations department or to senior management -- because they might not know what their recruiting department is up to.
Wondering which companies are the best to work at? Check out Fortune magazine's 2011 list, as well as WorkingMother.com's brand-new 2011 list. or more tips on avoiding a questionable employer, read "10 Warning Signs of a Toxic Boss."
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