Thursday, February 21, 2008

Employment Red Flags

"I got your back".

I'm not going to get into the grammatical complications but you get the idea.

Sounds like many of my friends are beginning the process of looking for new jobs. Let me just say before this goes any further that I wish you the best of luck in your search. A few folks are diving into their stacks of business cards to find new leads or are jumping into resources like to get that networking ball rolling. Many still have decided to try their hand at searching the job postings on sites like and

While I don't blame many of you for wanting to get out of dodge and on to much better working conditions, I must warn you that there are some very cheap, nasty, and conniving posts you'll likely run into on these job sites. These things might not necessarily be illegal but they should definitely have you seeing red flags that this job opening might not be for matter how unbelievable it sounds. I know; I've looked...and what I found online was nothing short of extraordinary!

Here are some red flags I found myself online:

  • Seeing the same company listing multiple openings on more than three job sites. This should tell you that they aren't too picky about who they hire just as long as they find someone to fill the spot. Do you want to be treated like a prized employee or the quickest patch job in the west? This should also make you wonder about the opening itself. I mean, really, if it was such a highly sought-after and important spot, would it need to be listed so much?

  • Discovering that the company president is 33 years old. Run the other way. Likely what you have run across is a recent graduate of a pyramid company who has just opened up his new digs and is looking for anyone to beat the pavement selling coupons door-to-door and calling it a "marketing opportunity".

  • The educational criteria is listed as "High School or equivalent". Now, do not misunderstand me on this one. Everyone deserves to find a good job no matter their educational level. However, all of my friends have completed four-year degrees or higher so, in this case, you know from the get go that you are over-qualified for whatever this job posting might be offering. I don't care if the listing guarantees "rapid advancement from within", you don't want what they are selling. Leave this one alone!

  • The listing reminds you that all interviews are professional dress. For those of you who are not yet laughing at the absurdity, if you have to remind the applicant that you wear nice things to an interview, the job isn't that desirable (and neither is the applicant).

As it turns out, the best way to get your foot in the door of your dream company is still the old adage, "It's not what you know, it's who you know". Those with the best, largest networks tend to get the interviews. So talk up your friends and business contacts and ask them to keep their ears to the ground for employment rumblings in the department of your interest. You never know who went to church with whom years ago or who was college buddies with the CEO. It pays to have friends on the inside, sometimes.

In any event, good luck with your job searching.

And, if it's any help, I have your back. ;)


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