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Warning signs in the job ad

The job ad can be the first step to your dream job, but it can also be a big disappointment if you miss potential warning signs in the ad. So before you apply for a job, it's a good idea to take a closer look at the job ad. Here's what you should look out for when reading a job ad.

Job ad: How it is structured

The structure of a job ad is an important factor that determines how much effort a company puts into scoring points with potential talent. Therefore, a job ad should always include the following points:

  • Position sought
  • Introduction of the company
  • Tasks, qualifications & benefits

☝️ By the way: If you read a job ad carefully, you will not only discover warning signs. You'll often find helpful information that you can use in your application.

Red Flags - What job ads really say

Job ads often contain more than just the obvious information. This makes it all the more important to critically examine job advertisements. This way you can identify possible weaknesses or disadvantages of the job in advance. In the following, you will learn which phrases are potential warning signals and why.

Warning signals in the company presentation

The way a company presents itself in the job posting can already give you some initial clues about the corporate culture. You should be careful with the following phrases:

🚩 "Dynamic work environment"

The promise of a dynamic environment in job postings can trigger mixed feelings in applicants. On the one hand, it promises variety and new challenges. On the other hand, it can also mean chaos and stress. So here you should critically question: What does "dynamic" really mean and what impact does it have on working conditions?

🚩 "Traditional company"

The word "traditional companies" is also associated with great challenges. These rather conservative companies often offer new employees little room for change. New ideas are often difficult to implement due to outdated structures and processes. It is a warning signal in the job advertisement above all because it can lead to a major contradiction between the company's expectations and one's own career goals.

🚩 "We are one family"

Many companies advertise that their company is like one big family, but beware: red flag! While a family is about trust and love, employees and companies are about a professional and purposeful working relationship. These companies often expect workers:inside to go above and beyond. Conversely, this causes an unhealthy work environment. For many job applicants, such phrases create unrealistic expectations with a nasty surprise.

☝️ By the way: When you carefully read a job ad, you can not only avoid potential warning signs but also find helpful information about the company that you can use in your application.

Possible warning signs in tasks & qualifications

Pay attention to the following key terms as they often contain hidden messages about the company's expectations of applicants:

🚩 "Resilience"

If a job ad explicitly asks for resilient employees, it could be a red flag. This may indicate that the job comes with stress, overtime, and even weekend work. Ask yourself if you can work happily under these conditions before applying.

🚩 "High level of commitment"

A job ad that calls for a "high level of commitment" can also be a potential red flag. This could mean that employees are expected to be on call and that overtime and weekend work are standard. This can make it difficult to balance work and personal life.

🚩 "Mobility"

When a job ad mentions "mobility readiness," it could mean that the company requires employees to go on business trips, attend client meetings, or attend conferences. This may not be suitable for those who prefer a regular daily routine.

Tricky information about salary & benefits

The topic of salary in the job advertisement is important for applicants, as it defines the value of the position. It is important to carefully examine the wording regarding salary, as certain formulas and expressions may be used to disguise the future income.

🚩 "Performance-related remuneration"

Job ads that mention "performance-based compensation" should be viewed critically as this could be a warning sign. Employees may need to rely on commissions to earn a higher income, which could be stressful for some.

🚩 "Usual social benefits"

When a job ad mentions "usual employee benefits," the company may be unwilling to pay more than necessary. Additional benefits may also be so small that they don't make much of a difference. It's best to ask the company directly for more information.

The job advertisement - important, but not a criterion for exclusion

While it's important to carefully review job advertisements for potential red flags, it's important to remember that not all warning signals are dealbreakers. After all, a job ad is just a starting point, and the interview process can provide valuable insights into the company culture and working conditions.

If you do come across a warning signal in a job ad, it's best to follow up on it during the interview process. By asking direct questions and getting detailed answers, you can gain a better understanding of the company's expectations and whether they align with your own career goals.

It's also worth noting that perceptions of warning signals are subjective and individual. What may be a red flag for one person may not be an issue for another. Ultimately, it's up to you to weigh the pros and cons of a job opportunity and decide whether it's the right fit for you.