10 Red Flags in Job Ads and How to Avoid Them
Is it possible to tell a toxic culture from a job ad?
Different phrases, omissions, and tones used in job ads can create all kinds of impressions on prospective job candidates – for better or worse.
Here’s a closer look of ten of the most popular red flags, and how you can avoid them:
Lack of transparency
Gen Z famously won’t even apply to a job if the salary isn’t listed, and many candidates are pushing for more clarity in job ads and interviews around compensation, culture, and the business they may be getting into.
Give as much information as possible in the job ad, so that candidates are fully informed and have a better idea of if they’re a good fit for the role and organisation. If there’s anything you’re unable to include in the job ad, make sure it’s covered by the end of the first interview to prevent wasted time on either end.
When candidates see the same job posting over and over again it can indicate a company is struggling to keep a person onboard in said role, or that they’ve been unable to identify the talent they’re looking for. Either way, it can set some candidates on edge.
Being clear on the ‘must haves’ versus the ‘would be nice’ traits you’re looking for in your talent, as well as investing in a top-notch recruitment and onboarding experience can help prevent this issue occurring.
Low salary with high expectations
Most people have seen the jokes online about ‘entry level’ roles which require 3 years experience, or advertisements for positions which pay a low salary while requiring a Masters degree.
Ensure what you’re asking of your potential new employees balances well with what you will be giving back. Vet your job postings to ensure the experience you are asking of people matches with the compensation and responsibilities they will be given in the role.
Lack of interview plans
The interview process is what sets the tone for someone’s impression of your company. If a candidate gets the impression that your team is disorganised or undecided on aspects on the recruitment process, this can create a negative employer brand.
Prepare this process in good time, to ensure everything is organised for your candidates. Make sure you are ready to accommodate for different people’s needs during the interviews, such as disabilities.
Waiting weeks to schedule an interview, hear if you’re moving to the next round, or receive your contract can leave anyone wondering if they should continue the hiring process with a company.
Recruitment teams can face overwhelming workload, so investing in an ATS which can automate or take care of the admin for you can improve your team’s bandwidth while also keeping candidate’s happy.
Listing the bare minimum as benefits
Fruit available at the office. Bank holidays off. Great team.
With the cost-of-living crisis many businesses are having to look at more cost-effective benefits to offer their employees and candidates – but this doesn’t mean they have to be underwhelming or outdated.
Some ideas for budget friendly benefits include:
Mental health days – As Gen Z enters the workforce, their focus on mental health means benefits which combat this can be highly attractive.
Paid training and development – there’s a plethora of affordable online courses which you could sponsor employees to take, helping them remain competitive and filling your own internal skill gaps.
Flexi time – this refers to a system where employees work their set hours, and they have flexibility about when exactly they work them. This can be brilliant for working parents, students, carers, as well as overall work-life balance.
Many people have phrases where if they see them in a job ad, it immediately puts them off.
In our poll on Hireserve LinkedIn, ‘like a family’ scored the worst, racking up 45% of the votes.
HR Magazine suggest this is because the term indicates the company may be cliquey, aren’t open to new ways of thinking, and raises the question – who are the parents and who are the children? Do I want to be treated like a child at work? Do I want to parent in my job?
If you want to communicate that your team is close-knit and social with each other, stick to these more neutral phrases.
Failure to properly brief
It’s understandable that it can put a bitter taste in a candidate’s mouth if you tell them an interview will cover one topic, and then you switch it up. For example, inviting a candidate to a ‘Culture Interview’ where you say you plan to ask them about themselves and their working style, but then sprinkling in some technical questions when they turn up.
Candidates often put a lot of time into preparing for interviews, so changing the game can be frustrating and lead to a poor perception of your company.
Ensure your briefing is accurate, so candidates know exactly how and what to research.
A messy Glassdoor
Most of us will go to Glassdoor to get some inside reviews on a company’s culture. Not every person can be pleased, so most candidates won’t expect to see 5 stars across the board, but if they see reviews which look staged, or HR teams replying to reviews with an inconsiderate tone, it can reflect poorly.
Recruitment and HR teams should be sure to sync up on how to approach any issues on Glassdoor, and implement any constructive feedback received on the platform where possible.
Unclear job spec
Many of today’s jobs have varying responsibilities and allow people to work in numerous areas. This can be a green flag for some candidates, as many thrive with the chance to take on new projects and expand their skillset. However, if the reality of a job totally mismatches what the job ad listed, it can cause poor retention, as well as low employee performance and satisfaction.
Coordinate with the hiring manager, team, and any other relevant individuals to make sure the job spec is as accurate as possible, and make sure any candidates are aware if their duties will span over a few different areas.
Everyone has their own pet peeves and opinions when it comes to what is and isn’t attractive in a job. You’re never going to impress or be the right fit for everyone, and that’s okay. What’s important is to stay on top of how the current market of job seekers are feeling about hot topic issues, and what your specific target audience are keeping their eyes out for – good or bad.