“We’re like a family!” “Hiring rockstars!” “Show up for the group interview.” “We’ll discuss salary during the interview.” All of these statements signify red flags in the job search world. One popular internet thread discusses other toxic traits to watch for when job hunting.
1. Use of the Word “Rockstar”
“Everybody wants Bobby Flay, but they want to pay him like Arby’s.” Let that quote from an unnamed restaurant worker simmer. Another worker adds he experienced the worst job of his life when he applied for a position seeking a “rockstar chef.” Despite completing all his duties and turning out Michelin-star quality food, the owners would rather have had an incompetent chef with a pretty smile.
2. Group Interviews
Over a summer respite between collegiate years, I tried to find a job anywhere that would give me a chance. I thought I lucked out when I applied to the Coldstone Creamery down the road. I went to the in-person group interview an hour from the store and met the other applicants. About 100 other eager youngsters bobbed around the premises, hoping for the prosperous profession of scooping ice cream. The interview started, per usual, with an introduction game and icebreakers. Soon, we learned we needed to freestyle an ice-cream-themed rap, perform an interpretive dance, and put on a skit to advance to the following interview. This stunned me, considering every Coldstone employee I’ve ever encountered never introduces the ice cream with an over-the-top performance.
3. Salary to Be Discussed
A job posting advertising an undisclosed salary is a glaring red flag. Why would a promising profession hide its pay and benefits? What else is the company hiding under the surface?
4. Competitive Wages
Competitive against who? Competitive against what? Why is it a competition? Job listings should advertise their wages outright for transparency and to avoid wasting time. One employee who fell for the facade of competitive wages shares their experience of receiving compensation that competed with their bills.
5. Urgent Hiring
Any company compelled to write “urgent hiring” in the job description tends to maintain a high turnover rate. One worker said their three-month stint at their previous position ended after the company overworked and mistreated them. Following their resignation, the company reposted the job with fewer benefits and lower pay.
6. Work Hard, Play Hard
If you ever encounter a company promoting a motto of “work hard, play hard,” run. Individuals who’ve experienced this behavior in professional environments suggest the motto means the workplace favors abusing alcohol after hours (sometimes during work), which fosters an unhealthy workplace scenario. One worker said their company’s motto did not refer to alcohol indulgence but a large number of mandatory after-work outings at random places. This person says if they didn’t turn up at the work outing, they’d receive ridicule and harsh judgment from coworkers and management.
7. Advertising a Start-up Culture
Have you ever embarked on a job opportunity with endless promise and great ethos, all under the ruse of a start-up? According to Investopedia, start-ups “are companies or ventures focused on a single product or service that the founders want to bring to market. These companies typically don’t have a fully developed business model and, more crucially, lack adequate capital to move onto the next phase of business.” Given that these founders don’t have much backing from established companies, they fund the project themselves, meaning your pay may alter, diminish, or disappear.
8. Must Have a Bubbly Personality
Personality hires populate the workplace in customer service, retail, and food industries, but not all jobs need an exuberant person to complete the duties. A “bubbly personality” is generally a euphemism for an attractive young girl instead of a qualified professional.
9. Looking To Fill a New Role
Another informed user comments that this language indicates the company has not solidified a specific role for the new hire. Still, they want to test the water and the permanence of the position. More often than not, this approach results in layoffs a few months or years into the position.
10. Rapid Growth
Be cautious with job postings declaring their rapid growth in the workforce. Numerous people relayed their concerns regarding this phrase, insinuating it’s probably a recruitment for an MLM scheme no one’s ever heard of.
11. Be Your Own Boss
You are not your own boss unless you’re a freelancer or independent contractor. An anecdote posted by one user expresses an incident where they took the “be your own boss” requisite to the job interview, asking if their pajamas served as a suitable uniform for their shift and if they could eat chips the entire day, given they were their own boss. The company did not continue with the applicant.
12. We’re Like a Family!
Countless people consider the “like family” catchphrase a red flag when looking for a new job. While the sentiment sounds alluring, most workers say this means the company will overwork, underpay, and treat you with toxicity.
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