Job Search Tips

4 things you don’t want to see in a job listing

Written by Eric Titner

It’s no stretch to say that today’s job search barely resembles what the process used to look like in generations past. In fact, it’s evolving so rapidly that it hardly looks like it did even just a few years ago. In addition to major shifts in technological innovation that continually disrupt and upend the job search process, companies and employees alike are constantly reimagining what the nature of work even looks like—witness the rise of the gig economy and freelance and project-based employment. And of course, COVID-19 has radically and abruptly altered when, where, and how many of us perform our jobs and engage with our colleagues.

Sure, the nature of work and how we search for—and land—our next jobs are currently in a state of rapid flux, but there are some elements of the job hunt that change at a decidedly slower pace. This includes the basic architecture of a job listing and what to look out for when you’re on the job hunt trail. Just as in all of life’s endeavors, red flags you see while reviewing a job listing can help keep you from making potentially bad employment and career decisions—so it’s in your best interest to keep a sharp eye out and avoid them whenever possible.

The following 4 items are good examples of things you may not want to see in (or missing from) a job listing. While finding or not finding them may not necessarily mean that the job in question is a wrong move, it’s a good idea to keep your senses sharp and stay extra alert to whatever follows in an effort to ensure that your next career move is the right one for you.

Missing salary and benefits information

While it’s long been the case that many employers prefer to refrain from getting into discussions regarding money and perks until an offer is made, times have changed. Today’s employees expect and deserve to know what they’re in for in terms of compensation and benefits before getting too far along in the hiring pipeline, which stands to reason—why waste time on pursuing positions that don’t meet your baseline requirements? Furthermore, if you are a candidate in an in-demand field, lack of information about salary and benefits (or at least some basic details or a general range) may be a sign that an offer will not be competitive. While it may mean nothing, proceed with caution if you fail to see this information in a job listing.


While no one is perfect and making mistakes is just a part of life, one of the last places you want to encounter errors is in a job listing. Simply put, we only get one chance to make a first impression, and that includes employers. A company’s first impression to potential employers is usually through a job listing. If that first impression is one that includes typos, it may be a bad omen for what’s to come and what working for that company might be like—so be careful.

Unpaid trial work periods

The truth is, you never know what will happen during the hiring process and what hoops a potential employer may ask you to jump through in pursuit of a coveted job offer. It isn’t abnormal to be asked to perform a trial work task without pay, but be sure to use your instincts. If it feels like you’re being taken advantage of and are being asked to do more than what’s reasonable for free, trust your gut feeling and move on.

Requests for personal data

These days, job listings can be found in all sorts of places, including anonymous job boards with less than stellar procedures for verifying employers. Depending on where you search, you may be stepping through a potential minefield of less than reputable listings that are looking to take advantage of overly trusting job candidates. Requests for personal data beyond what’s typically found on a resume should be approached with extreme caution unless there’s a real compelling reason for the request.

Are you on the job hunt trail? If so, stay alert to the 4 items listed here to help guide you away from possible red flags when reviewing job listings and towards a productive and effective job search. Good luck!

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.