Red Flags To Look For In Employment Listings: Employers Lie Too

Updated on September 13, 2016

Employers Lie Too

Most of us know that some people lie on their resume. You might be one of them or know one of them. It is a very common practice that employers love to joke about. I have read many blogs of HR managers laughing about the ridiculous lies people put on their resume.

What employers don't talk about is how much they lie and give false information, or information loosely based on fact. The employer uses some of the same tricks as we do to accomplish things they want. Even worse, they can trick you into taking a job with a company that isn't worth it. These listings often feed on people's desire to find work and say things we seem to ignore when reading them.

Things To Look For In Job Listings Before You Apply

Employers have a huge advantage when it comes to posting horrible job postings. They already know who they want and what price they want them for. That is, if they want anyone at all!

Top Lies In Job Listings

  • "DOE (Depends On Experience)." Let's be honest, experience is great, but if it mattered to them so much they would just hire the most experienced people they could find. So what gives? Why don't we mention a base salary that this DOE builds upon? The truth is they do not want to pay you what you are worth. DOE allows them tell you what you are worth with little room for you to object. You may think this isn't a huge deal, but if a company is trying to shortchange you before you're even hired, it doesn't exactly indicate rainbows for the future. DOE listings are basically power grabs over your salary before you've even been hired.
  • Insane qualifications. When you find an entry level position that requires years of experience, it is safe to say that job is being held for someone else. The reason employers post these jobs is that the HR manager is required to. The job is either being outsourced, sold to the lowest bidder, or held for internal promotion. Some HR managers will really go out on a limb as well, asking for things like ten years' experience using Windows 10. If you didn't catch that, Windows 10 has only been out for a year and half.
  • Praise for the mood of the workplace. Moods are a matter of opinion and the HR representative knows this. While she may find the environment exciting with tons of potential and fun, she also may work on the fifth floor and never actually spend time with the workers. Some listings will say things like "fast-paced, hard-working," when what they really mean is "unrealistic standards, high turnover rate." Beware of terms like this. Subconsciously you may even realize this deception; you may be tempted to take the job and see if you can fit that standard. The truth is that a job shouldn't require above and beyond to be performed; if you take a job that does, you will likely be underpaid, and overworked. Take time to study the company on sites like Glassdoor, the Better Business Bureau, and Yelp. If too many ex-employees or customers are complaining this might be a sign of trouble. Another good tip is to check the Department Of Labor And Statistics to find out the turnover rate of the industry you are applying for. During the interview ask about their turnover numbers for the company. This may seem aggressive, but if they seem upset that you have asked, it is likely you do not want this job. While you are interviewing take time to study the faces of workers around you and ask for a tour of your work space if possible. Make sure you are kind and sincere in your request. If the workers appear stressed and disorganized, then you just saved yourself from that life.
  • "Decide your own salary." I actually got caught by this one once. I went to an interview for a position I believed to have potential. We sat in a room filled with people in chairs and an employer spoke to us, preachinG about having 'the right stuff, while several other people were monitoring our group. He then asked questions of some of us, including me. After a short break he sent most of us home; I was one of the ones who got to stay. I thought I surely had a job, but then he began to speak about their product: knock-off cologne." All we had to do is pay an up front fee for our material and we could sell it like hot cakes! What I had interviewed for was a pyramid scheme. You will often find that these schemes mention unlimited income potential. Some of these are legit sales jobs, but even sales jobs are risky. If an employer's listing isn't upfront with a per hour salary, you should ignore the listing altogether.
  • "Part-time with room to grow." Bullshit. If this company was going to need anyone full time anytime soon, they would hire you as that. This is a ploy to either work you as much as they want without giving benefits, or trick you into a job that will never grow. Don't get me wrong, if you are absolutely the best ever at this job, then sure you'll get on full time. Are you going to be the best? Do you really believe the early bird gets the worm? Or is it the bird who chooses a piece of wood he likes and pecks under it at three in the afternoon while the worms take shelter from the heat? Your work ethic means nothing to someone who values you as just help instead of as a team member. That way of thinking was our grandfather's and father's generations but that is not America anymore and that is not your employer; Home Depot might be the one exception on Earth. If an employer doesn't have the work for you to become full time, but needs you to work part time for a short period, they will still hire you full time. Why don't they avoid the logistics of switching you over and make you full-time now? If you agree to work part time, you won't get the hours and therefore won't qualify for the benefits. That's the truth, period, end of discussion. Don't let yourself fall into the part-time trap, because you will be very angry after months pass and your hours are so random you can't even make a budget.
  • Monster listings. Monster often boasts about how many jobs it has listed. But a lot of these job posts are misleading; in some, the HR rep doesn't plan to hire at all. On Monster, make sure that the salary or compensation is listed. Consider the examples above as well. Plenty of Monster-listed jobs turn out great, but the requirements for employer's posting should be tightened up. I find Craigslist has better details in its job postings. That isn't very good, considering most jobs on Craigslist are not of a professional nature.
  • "Unlimited growth potential." Like the pitch that you'll have unlimited income, this is likely a scam. You are told you will open "your own business" where you spend your money buying products from a "vendor." What? You can go on Amazon and open a business account for free. Why would you pay a yearly fee to be a part of a group of "business owners" recruiting more "owners"? At some point, America will have its need for bath salts fully satisfied. If companies list "growth potential" as an eye-catcher, ask questions. How can a HR rep sell you on growth when they don't even know if you can do the basic job? It's likely you'll never grow at all.

Pick Your Employer

Don't let the need for a job ruin your chances of finding a career. Your boss is going to matter. If they fire you in a few months you'll be back to square one. We all know that working for a company while looking for a job rarely works. Take your time and pick a company that is worth working for. The only people who should jump into a job they will probably hate are those who are looking for experience or switching careers. If you have experience, know your worth.

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