Everyone is looking for their dream job. But how can you tell if it is a good job? How can you spot the red flags when actually job seeking?

Everyone’s radar should be on full alert during their job search. Obviously, enthusiasm to get a new job can prevent us from spotting the tell-tale signs that something is wrong. Employers will also be trying to present themselves in their best light, selling the perks of joining their company and all the reasons why their job is a great one. 

I’ve identified 10 top job search red flags you should look out for. Each in their own right might be explainable but when several flags pop up, you need to proceed with caution. Apply deeper due diligence. Challenge and question deeper to alleviate your concerns or expose them for what they really are. It’s important you know what’s really being offered and what you’re getting yourself into. Even to the extent of questioning whether this job really is the dream digital marketing job for you or walk away. You don’t have to accept this job.

So how do you know?

Some of it is gut feel but I can highlight the big red flags that, usually with hindsight, are glaringly obvious signals that the job or the company is not what they’re saying it is. In this world where toxic work environments are far too common, keep an eye out for the red flags

Here are my top 10 job search red flags to look out for:

  1. You just don’t gel. If the interview process leaves you cold or maybe they don’t even bother to try and get to know you. Maybe it’s just how they are. Remember people are important, it’s good to find that connection

  2. Timing of the interview process is extreme. Either incredibly quick or extremely long and drawn out. Similarly, if the company is disorganised or not prepared to accommodate your needs, it might be an indicator they’re not flexible.
     
  3. Vague job description. The company should know exactly what they’re trying to recruit. If they’re unable to pinpoint the job responsibilities, accountabilities and career path, how are you ever going to measure up? What will your KPI’s be? Will the goalposts keep changing?  

  4. Low balled on the job offer. Good employers have transparency. If after interviewing you’re unexpectedly low balled with no explanation, is this how it’s always going to be? What’s the trade-off? Are there unmentioned perks, incentives, or reasons why this offer could be acceptable? If not, don’t compromise.

  5. Culture of work. Ask around. It’s one thing being told a company is friendly or flexible but if existing employees don’t back this up; are you sure that’s what you want for your future job?

  6. Fluffy Answers to your direct questions. If the interviewers dodge your questions or aren’t able to answer them properly, you’ve got to question why.

  7. Free work. It’s common to be asked to complete a task as part of your interview. In fact, I encourage tasks as they give a more real-life investigation than competency interviewing. However, it shouldn’t be so extensive that it can be mistaken for unpaid work.

  8. Industry hearsay and gossip – If there’s sketchy online information about the company, CEO or employee reviews, it’s worth investigating but take it with a pinch of salt. Everything you read is not always true.

  9. Churn, this is the turnover of employees in the company. Staff retention is an indicator of a happy workforce. If people are continually leaving, there could be lots of reasons for their exit but unlikely any of them are good. Where’s the career progression or loyalty within the company? Why do people often leave? It might have been resolved, so do ask.

  10. Difficulty in getting hold of the hiring representative.  If you’re struggling to reach the hiring manager or interviewer, question what’s going on. Can they not make the decision or has something happened? If they’re not good at communication now, what are they like once you’ve joined?

When in doubt, trust your gut. If you’ve got a niggling feeling that something is wrong, follow your instinct. Question it. Ask around. Do some extra reading. Interviews are supposed to be two-way streets and you don’t have to accept the first job offer to come your way!

Looking for more job seeking tips? We’ve got you covered:
💡 You’ve Been Made Redundant- Now What?
💡 Think you’re under-qualified? So what!
💡 How To Find A New Job Without Your Boss Finding Out


If you’re looking for help finding your new digital marketing jobs, email your CV to our recruiters on jobs@clockworktalent.com so we can arrange a discreet consultation about what you’re like to do next and the experience you already bring with you.