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Career Advice

Misleading Job Descriptions – Some things to look out for

psychometric-testsThere are few things as stressful, overwhelming and  time consuming as searching for a new job… it’s like really really difficult… But it’s at this time, when you are up to your eyeballs in job specifications and essential criteria that you most need to keep your wits about you and be aware of  the potential pitfalls of the  misleading job description!

After all Job Adverts are not placed for the good of a writer’s health, they are there to encourage suitable people to apply and as such are designed to be, shall we say, persuasive… However it is very important to note that “persuasive” does not mean “fraudulent”- a persuasive job description will try and project the duties of a role in as positive a light as possible, a fraudulent one will deliberately mislead in the hope of contractually obligating someone to carry out duties which they were not made aware of!

That’s not to place undeserved criticism upon the HR/recruitment folks of this world (most do a really cracking job) but everyone expects a little bit of artistic license when its comes to the wording of job advertisements… but some go a little too far.

So in aid of saving you from the despair of discovering a role is not what you had expected, here’s 5 potentially misleading things to look out for on job descriptions…

The Salary

This is a really tricky one to gauge for a number of reasons… As a rule beware of roles which give a very wide possible salary range e.g. £12,000 – £30,000 because this probably means that the basic salary of the role is the lower value and anything thereafter is based on commission through sales. This also goes for roles which state something like “earn up to £50K” as they too are likely to be heavily based upon commission.

Be particularly savvy about spotting jobs which don’t state a salary at all (this doesn’t necessarily mean that there is anything untoward going on) but you should question “why would the employer wish to conceal this information from potential employees?”

No experience necessary

Sometimes (but not always of course) the grand proclamation of “No experience Necessary!!!!” is code for “a job that is low paid and doesn’t require any specific skill or knowledge” or even worse “We are so desperate for workers that we will take anyone!

This of course is absolutely acceptable… but the phrase is often used by companies which have an extremely high turnover of staff due to the generally undesirability of the role they are advertising for. This might include roles in which you are required to do perform cold calling and telesales for hours on end.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but be aware (particularly if you have never worked in an intensive sales role before) that people generally fall into 2 categories a) Those who love telesales and b) those who despise them.

Of course the presence of this statement alone should certainly not be enough to put you off applying for the role, but it should prompt you to take a closer look at the job description and perhaps do a little bit of research about the company/role.

Convoluted job titles

This is not a new phenomenon…for well over a decade there has been an upward trend of employers bestowing highly aggrandised tob titles on certain roles to make them sound less menial.  Whilst the jobs listed below are perfectly good jobs, the titles used to describe them could be seen as misleading…

Accounts Manager= Telesales/ Cold calling

Production operative= Factory floor worker

Marketing Strategist= Door-to-door salesperson

Sandwich Artist= Sandwich maker (Is a registered trademark of subway!)

Revenue Protections Officer= Ticket Inspector

Night-time events promotions host= Club door staff

Drinks Brand Ambassador=  Bar shot seller

the list could go on and on…

Missing Company Info

Sometimes this has a perfectly innocent explanation, particularly if the job is being filled by a recruitment agency on behalf of their client. Agencies will normally withhold the name of the company they are working for to prevent rival agencies from undercutting them- you will be able to spot when this is the case because the job description will be worded something along the lines of “Our client is seeking a …”

But sometimes the details of the company are omitted for more underhanded reasons.  For example within a particular industry, a company may have a poor reputation as an employer- a reputation which could put off potential applicants. So in order to avoid this they fail to mention the name of the company in the hope that the offer of an interview will be enough to override any misgivings an applicant may have.

Again you should ask yourself the question “why does this company not want me to know who they are?”


It’s kind of a no brainer… if the writers of the advert have to work this hard to encourage applicants then there is a fair chance that everything is not as it seems. Of course this is not a hard and fast rule, but it would definitely warrant a closer inspection of the job description and perhaps some further research before making an application.

Whilst none of these things absolutely guarantee that an employer is trying to hoodwink you into applying for a role, the unfortunate situation is that you need to be very vigilant when applying for roles to ensure that the applications you make are for jobs that you actually want, would enjoy and that would provide you with the salary you need!

We have loads more helpful tips and advice on all manner or job search and employment related topics, so why not have a look around?


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