December 8, 2017

Avoid These Red Flags During Your Job Search

When it comes to looking for a job, Americans are working it, working it hard and doing a lot of both preliminary research and direct applying online: Fifty-four percent of Americans are going online seeking job information, and nearly half of job applicants have applied for work online. On average, every corporate job attracts 250 resumes, and four to six of those job seekers will get the call for an interview. Fifteen percent of millennials ages 18 to 24 are employment scam victims, and 30% of those ages 25 to 34 have fallen prey to these scams.

With so much on the line, whether it’s your first job or latest big career move, the era of the paper application and long periods of time required for background checks and verification is changing. Hiring decisions come faster, based on precise information from applicants. Here are eight job search red flags for applicants as they read through the want ads and go to interviews:

  • Personal information pitfalls

Is the job ad more interested in your looks than your job skills? Asking for your height, weight, or measurements? Is the employer specifically asking for “attractive” or “young” people to apply? This is possibly a front for a less-than-legitimate business, or a lonely owner looking for an employee competent in something besides standard office procedures.

  • Age discrimination

Certain government positions require applicants fall into particular age ranges (special agent positions with the U.S. Marshalls and the FBI) because of the jobs’ physical requirements. But most potential employers cannot even ask about your age on the application. If the ad specifies an age range, especially a young range, it’s possibly less than legitimate work or an owner looking for arm candy. 

  • The business does not provide a name in the ad

Sometimes “blind” ads are blind for a reason: it’s a means to control excess direct contact from recruiters or vendors. But without a human contact person, address or phone number, there’s no way to find out if anyone who matters sees your resume or application.

  • What’s it all about?

Little or no job information in the ad, or during the interview. It makes you wonder what the employer is hiding from you and why. This is a major job search red flag and you’ll want to do your best to avoid applying for a job such as this. 

  • It’s an unhappy workplace

You notice it right away during the interview: You don’t walk in expecting people dancing on the desks and quaffing adult beverages midday. But sad faces, angry and loud voices, swearing and shouting, slamming doors and people giving you the stink eye as you walk in and out of the interview room are not a good sign.

  • They like you so much, they want to hire you NOW

Without a background check or reference calls. And they put pressure on you to accept NOW. Again, what’s going on here? How many people accepted the job under the same pressure before you, only to walk out a week (or less) later? And once you accept, what else will the boss pressure you to do?

  • Online reviews that are one-star worthy

People are mean online when it comes to companies they’ve left or employers who have done them wrong, especially when they can get away with it anonymously. But a pattern of poor reviews, referencing specific on-the-job incidents, is worth a look. You can find reviews of companies and more information about them through sites such as and 

  • The employer needs financial information from you before hiring

A credit report check is a common part of pre-employment screening. A prospective employer is looking at your past insurance, legal, credit and employment history when they pull this report. They do not need your bank information to retrieve it. This is a big job search red flag you want to avoid at all cost. 

Korey Howell Photography helps you look your best for your first job or biggest career move. A professional headshot, combined with a sharp resume, is the difference between an application hitting the rejection pile and hearing the words, “You’re hired!”

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