Company Red Flags to be Wary of Before Applying For a Job

| 5 min read
Company red flags to be wary of before applying for a job (1)

Ways to spot a scam company before you apply

Are you a fresh graduate applying for a job in the hope of getting hired? This period can get daunting because you have just left the familiar confines of school to venture into a new territory. Are you a regular employee who’s looking to expand your career aspirations elsewhere? It can get frustrating to feel like you’re back at square one.

Whatever your current situation may be, you may be encouraged to know that job-hunting is easier today than it was many years ago.

Now, you don’t have to wake up early, brave the traffic, and queue in to submit your application or show up for work. This ease and convenience may benefit companies and job-seekers alike, but it has also opened a whole slew of liabilities in its wake.

Because the hiring process is done online, scammers can easily pose as staffing companies and get you into all kinds of trouble. How can you tell the difference between a legitimate company and a scam?

Here are the different red flags you should watch out for when applying for an online job:

Company red flags to be wary of before applying for a job (4)

Red Flag #1:

When the Offer is Too Good to be True

Brace yourself because it probably is.

Here are instances when a job is not as good as it claims to be:

  •     When the company promises a handsome pay for a basic position.
  •     When the company initiates the contact and is being vague about how they acquired your information.
  •     When you get hired right away without so much as an interview or qualifying test.

Remember that legitimate companies have a recruitment system set in place. They will not be vague especially with matters concerning your personal information. If they are a good company, shouldn’t they get only the best people to work for them by implementing a series of tests and interviews?


Red Flag #2:

When the Emails Sound as If Written by Amateurs

Watch out; they probably were.

Even though there are well-written emails from bogus companies, many messages with blatant errors still pour in.

You can spot these emails by checking for the following:

  •        Misplaced or missing punctuations
  •        Grammatical blunders
  •        Capitalization mistakes

You can also tell that an email is dubious if it does not include a company header and contact information or is sent from a personal email address.

Company red flags to be wary of before applying for a job (2)

Red Flag #3:

When There are Signs of Illegal Activities

Be wary; they cannot be trusted.

Does the company ask you to pay a certain fee to get accepted? Is your prospective employer offering to send your pay through a shady transaction?

Other signs of illegal activities may involve the job you will be paid to do. Read the job description and watch out for tasks that may get you into trouble such as plagiarism, false advertisement, piracy, and phishing of sensitive information from other people.

Would you want to work for a company that you would otherwise avoid as a consumer?


Red Flag #4

When the Job Description Contains Clichés and Ambiguous Remarks:

Be alert. What’s the catch?

Some employers are not straightforward about what they will require you to do. You will know you are just presented with the tip of the iceberg when the job description calls for the candidate to have the following:

Schedule flexibility – It means they will hunt you down after working hours.

Open to perform other tasks – Not having a clear set of responsibilities means they can heap tasks on your desk even when these tasks are outside your scope.

Ability to work under stress – This may just as well be translated to constant pressure and not receiving sufficient help.

Why would you want to work for a company that isn’t being honest with you from the start?

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Red Flag #5

When the Company Gets a Lot of Bad Reviews

Be wise and learn from other people’s experience.

It pays well to research about a company before deciding to join it. Has its name been associated with any sort of illegal activities? Is it getting a lot of backlash on social media?

You can tell a lot about a company by how much it is esteemed by its employees and patronised by its clients. A good company has nothing to hide. Instead, it will proudly display testimonials from clients and employees to encourage others to join its ranks. Sometimes the testimonials can be found in a client’s personal blog. This is where you can find if the service or product that the company offers works or not, and if their customer service is good. For example, Lisa wrote a review of Nutrisystem where she attests to the fact that Nutrisystem is a leading provider of world-class weight loss solutions, helping customers lose weight and live healthier.


Final thoughts

Discovering these red flags will help you zero in on the right company for you. Are you ready to find your dream job?

Samod Biobaku
A Nigeria-based writer and blogger who has written and edited for top brands including The SUN, Punch, Newswatch,, Bigsam Media, Nigerian Bulletin, Swish Interativ, Hello Nigeria, National LIFE, iCampus, Jobberman and Cheki.


  1. Well said but here at Jobberman, most companies are literally fake! Only 1% of all job adverts here on jobberman are genuine. (My thoughts and the opinion from other applicants sampled)

    Companies not acknowledging receipt of mails. For heaven’s sake, there should be a mail either inviting you or declining your application.

  2. Desperation can make an unemployed person to fall prey to this kind of scam .Thanks jobberman for drawing attention to such sensitive information .

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