Jobseekers warning: Trigger phrases to watch out for in job descriptions

Martin Lewis warns of unemployment after end of furlough

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As the working world moved into people’s homes during lockdown, more and more people realised the detrimental effect a negative work culture has on their mental health. And with more jobseekers valuing mental health over salary, it can be difficult to decipher just what a company’s work culture is like through a digital job description or virtual interview but certain phrases used in either of them can indicate a negative office environment.

Vague tasks

If a job description has very vague tasks, responsibilities and duties for a role, it is likely that the person who wrote the job description isn’t even sure what they are expecting from people in this role.

One example of this trigger phrase is: “We’re looking for a person who’s ready to get involved in all aspects of the business.”

Long-term vacancies

Companies may try to excuse their 11 month old job opening by saying they are looking for the right candidate, but more likely than not it means that they have gotten to final interview stage with candidates only for them to be turned down because the salary or benefits weren’t as promised.

On the other hand, a long-term vacancy can indicate that they expect too much of a single candidate in terms of experience, qualifications and skills.

Training

It is argued any decent employer will not ask an employee to pay for their own training before they even begin working.

Many online job scams also use this to get money out of candidates only to completely disappear once the payment clears, leaving the candidates unemployed, untrained and out of pocket.

Missing requirements

Even if the role doesn’t require prior experience or training, there should still be personality traits listed that would serve an employee in the role, something as simple as an outgoing attitude and willingness to help.

Alternatively, if it’s an advanced or managerial role with only a few requirements this may indicate the employer likely does not know what the last person in that position was doing so there will be a lot of trial-and-error work to figure out the company.

This can also be said for having too many requirements, which will make it impossible to get through the screening process in any case.

Overemphasising certain traits

If a description seems to keep repeating “flexibility”, it means they likely expect a candidate to be available to do anything at any time, increasing a bad work-life balance as one progresses in the company.

Other staff

If other employees seem unexperienced in their role, or if one constantly sees a range of job ads being sent out from the same company shows that their employee turnover is quite high.

If this is a new company is they are most likely just recruiting for all the open roles, but once a company reaches the 10 year mark, most employees should be quite familiar with the processes and office culture and having high turnover at this point indicates a range of issues that could be affecting work culture.  

These issues include: bad work-life balance, unreasonable expectations, pessimistic personalities in managerial positions or salaries and benefits that didn’t match what was promised during the recruitment process.

This is different to having long-term vacancies as these open jobs are consistently being filled but end up empty far again far too quickly.
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