3 Crucial Red flags – Job Application edition

What do you look for when applying for jobs? Are you aware of certain red flags when it comes to job applications? 

Although I’ve had my fair share of interviews when I was looking for full-time jobs, I tend to notice these red flags more as a freelancer. I try to weed out all the suspicious job ads. It’s good to have your guard up whenever applying for jobs!

Credits: Unsplash

Here are some of the red flags to watch out for when applying for jobs: 

1) Unprofessional Communication

Two years ago, I applied for a freelance role with a Japanese company (or so they claimed to be) through a Facebook group. Red flags – client only communicated with me via FB message, tried to add me as a friend on Facebook, refused to email anything official, only shared vague job descriptions, and gave a website with limited information but insisted that the details were there. To top it off, they got offended when I questioned the legitimacy of the job offer (because of everything mentioned above) and told me that they can’t work with someone who doesn’t trust them. If asking a question led to this, what else could they be hiding from future employees? 

Although you might not encounter the exact situation, be wary when recruiters refuse to communicate properly. Why aren’t they sharing the full details? What are they hiding from you? As a future employee, you have every right to ask questions! 

2) Verbal Job Offers 

Why is a contract in writing important? When you communicate via calls, WhatsApp, you are only getting a basic overview of your job. A job contract contains your offer, salary, benefits and everything about your job. What happens when you agree to a new job without an official signed offer letter? Right up to the starting date, companies can choose to take back their offer, and you can’t do anything because everything was done verbally. They can also choose to change the terms freely. 

I’ve heard of a few instances where people accepted roles via Whatsapp/SMS/calls (after quitting their current job) only to find out that the company decided to go in a different direction a week or two before they were supposed to start. Here is a piece of advice – make sure you have a solid contract and don’t quit until your current job until you have a contract in writing. 

3) Misleading Job Descriptions 

As a writer and social media manager, I’ve seen way too many of these misleading job ads. The title – Social Media Manager. The job description – manages social media, runs marketing events, can take product photos, is proficient in Adobe Photoshop, and great copywriter. Hold up, what is your actual role in the company? Are you compensated for multiple roles disguised as one? While some of these may overlap, it’s still different roles with different levels of expertise. 

Job descriptions have to be clear and comprehensive. When companies don’t share details, potential employees can’t tell if they are the right fit. If the job description is misleading, clarify with the HR department. 

Whether it’s one of the red flags above or your gut telling you something is off, make sure you have all the relevant information before making a decision. Don’t feel pressured into accepting a job! 


Stephanie Aeria is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
Register at headliner.newswav.com to become one of our content writers now!

*The views expressed are those of the author. If you have any questions about the content, copyright or other issues of the work, please contact Newswav.

Stephanie Aeria
Author: Stephanie Aeria

Writer. Loves creating. Netflix and Disney+ aficionado.