If you’re looking for work-life balance, beware these red flags in job postings

Most job applications at least start online, and job hunters have pet peeves about the process.

A survey of about 1,400 recent job seekers and managers with hiring experience by employer review site JobSage found some common phrases in job postings that made applicants concerned about work-life balance at the company.



“If you see terms like ‘fast-paced,’ ‘work hard play hard,’ startup mentality,’ or ‘self-starter,’ these are all signs that you should say to yourself that maybe this place just doesn’t prioritize work-life balance,” said Jacob Rios, co-founder and CEO of JobSage.

There are also some overused words used to describe the kind of candidate the company is looking for that survey respondents called annoying, such as ‘rock star,’ ‘ninja,’ and ‘guru.’ Rios said using those words is not necessarily something hiring managers should avoid.

“You are trying to speak the lingo, and my personal point of view is you should be authentic to who you are, so maybe if you are the kind of manager who uses those words, maybe that’s an OK thing because the person who applies knows you are going to use those words,” he said. “If it is inauthentic and those aren’t words you’d use, avoid them.”

Other top complaints include job postings that don’t include specific salary information, application portals that require manually typing information that is already on the resume and application portals that are difficult to use.

Of the top five complaints about the job application process was when a cover letter was required. But Rios said applicants may not fully understand how important a cover letter may be to the hiring manager.

“My own personal point of view is from a hiring manager’s point of view. I appreciate a cover letter. Sometimes making a job too easy to apply for can be a bad thing. Cover letters end up helping me, in my mind, understand who really wants to work here and who maybe just clicked one button and, therefore, they applied,” he said.

Getting past the application process and on to the interview process brings a new list of pet peeves.

The complaints ranked highest in the survey were getting ghosted, finding out the job description doesn’t match the role, the interviewer missed the interview, three or more rounds of interviews were required and the interview was rescheduled at the last minute.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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