Ever come across a job advertisement that sounds just divine? Could it be a little too good to be true? Perhaps.
At the risk of sounding cynical, I wish to tell you this today: Always be aware that Job Advertisements use double entendres.
There are various reasons for this but primarily it is because employers are legally not allowed to advertise certain requests. For example, when the recruiter is seeking an “energetic” person for a “vibrant environment”, it is possible that they are actually looking for a very young person with no major life commitments (no non-sleeping babies through the night) for an environment that is actually vibrant because it is a high-energy and over-committed type of environment. Think of those types of workplaces where the people seem to THRIVE on drama and nervousness, pulling late nights to meet the customer’s (or the industry’s) insane demands.
Being aware of this can open your eyes to that ‘something else’ that the Job Advertiser is seeking and/or actually offering. Today I am pulling apart a job advertisement that has caught my eye. Following are excerpts from that job advertisement and the immediate questions that popped up into my mind:
- “…effort and customer service focus are noticed and rewarded”.
This sounds wonderfully positive and promising to the person who has a great work ethic and has a strong career in customer service already. But it can also mean that the employer holds the keys in regards to what ‘effort’ and ‘customer service focus’ is. Did you notice they are not saying, “Show us / bring to us your effort and customer service focus.” From the outset, they are calling the shots as they make it clear that THEY will notice (or not notice) your effort. THEY will determine what is acceptable work and what is not. This is the employer’s right, as they are paying $$$ to you. However, it may also denote the business culture you are walking into.
- “… our staff are the key to our success.”
Another one that sounds wonderfully positive and promising to the job seeker. It sounds like they VALUE their staff and treat them accordingly – warmly and with respect. However, it may also mean that the employer WILL lay all the responsibility on YOU for their success or failure. Are you prepared to take that on your shoulders? The truth is that business success depends on numerous factors and staff are but a small fraction of the equation. An important fraction, yes. But are staff really the KEY to the success of any business? Did you notice they are not saying, “Teamwork is the success of our business.”? So be aware that the heads at this workplace may consider themselves ‘the heads’ and the staff are ‘their’ workers. Again, denoting the business culture you are walking into.
- “… our team is going places and you can work in an environment where you can love your job!”
…. OR ELSE. 😉 Firstly, the phrase ‘going places’ means nothing. In colloquial conversation, it means that you’re getting ahead in life. The reader will naturally assume that this workplace is also ‘getting ahead in business’ and growing from strength to strength. But this phrase leaves itself open to interpretation because the words, in and of themselves, mean nothing. “Going places” – what does that mean EXACTLY? Do not underestimate the fact that a transport company, a logistics company, a mobile service company can ALL legitimately use that phrase. They are all “going places”. Quite literally. In this case, the Job Advertiser is a real estate agent. And guess what their agents are doing all day – going places! Secondly, in light of the previous statements they have made, it is easy for me to read “you can love your job” and end it with “or else” in my mind. They have already hinted at a very authoritative environment so I can’t help thinking that if they assume you do not love your job, that your job will easily be on the line at any time (at an extreme). Not so extremely, it can also mean that there will be no excuses – you WILL love your job and turn up every single day with an expectation that you will have no other commitments but turning up to work. If that doesn’t faze you, you will fit right in.
The aim of my sharing this today is not to put you off applying for such jobs because the market is quite compeititive at the moment and we can’t always be choosers. However, go in with open eyes when reading Job Advertisements, knowing what they are stating between the lines in order to gain a bigger and wider picture.