Janky Job Jamboree #1: Job Posting Red Flags

A decorative image with a white background, a yellow ruled Post-It note in the upper left hand corner with a piece of tape on it, a sketch rendering of a file folder with a piece of paper hanging out of it in the upper right hand corner, a sketch rendering of a lady with long brown hair wearing white dress pants, blue pumps, and a blue suit jacket with a clipboard in her left hand, a sketch rendering of a group of three men wearing suits and ties, sitting at a table together with a laptop shared between them, and a sketch rendering of a lady in the bottom right hand corner wearing a yellow skirt, black pumps, a black suit jacket, and a green dress shirt, delivering a presentation. The text reads "The Mission Within Presents The Janky Job Jamboree," a series devoted to low-quality job postings, red flags in a job vacancy, red flags in a job posting, and exploitative employers.

If you’ve been in the job market for any length of time, whether it’s for a day, a week, a month, a year, or worse yet, even longer, then you’ve probably come across job postings or job vacancies that made you go ‘hmmm.’ You may have come across some during your job search that ended up being entirely different than what was advertised, and others that didn’t even come close to matching the description of the category it’s in.

Welcome to the first installment of Janky Job Jamboree, a new series in the style of Spammers’ Showcase, where I get screenshots of actual job postings from a variety of sources, chock full of job posting red flags and fuckin’ flamethrowers. We’ll talk about the postings, show you what to look for in order to steer clear of them, and have some fun while we’re at it.

Translation: I’m roasting these sacks of nuts, partially out of revenge for the way companies like this added to the torment I was already dealing with during the last year of my mom’s life in 2021, but more importantly, as a public service to vulnerable, desperate job seekers.

As always, all identifying details will be obscured as my favor to the companies who posted these dumpster fire so-called “opportunities.” This includes the company name, logos, and any specific locations listed. If they’ve listed a generic location, like a country name, then it stays.

If you think you know who they are, as a favor to me, I want you to leave them alone. Don’t contact them, don’t even name them in the comments. We can call them Company 1, Company 2, etc. We’re not gonna sully this blog with any mention of their actual names, whether they’re good, bad, both, or neither.

But honestly, how good can a company really be if these are the kind of job postings they’re putting out? Asking for a friend.

On the flip side, if you’re the one who posted these opportunities, I’d love to hear your side of the story, in all seriousness. If you don’t feel like you can comment, you’re welcome to reach out through the contact form off to the side. Full disclosure, I will be posting your side of the story.  However, I’ll leave out any identifying details as my solid to you.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Company 1

First up, we’ve got us a Junior Copy Writer role at Company 1. Awesome, let’s take a look, and see what they’re all about. Junior Copy Writer, entry-level, so far, so good. 34 takers in one day as of the date of this screenshot. That’s not looking too promising, but that’s just me.

A job posting for a "Junior Copy Writer (Remote)" role listed on LinkedIn as being out of the United States, with company name obscured in green. At the time of this screenshot, it was posted one day ago, with 34 applicants. This job posting is listed as full-time, entry-level, with a company size of over 1000 employees in the Information Technology Industry. "See how you compare to 34 Applicants, Try Premium for Free" is written below the company size and industry. This company is "Actively Recruiting."

The second half of the job posting for the Junior Copy Writer reads as follows: "How you will make an impact: Writing everything from hedlines to experiential to emails. Understanding of how to write for both digital applications/ environments and social channels as some of our client's experiences transcend both digital and analog environments. Seeing a self-starter, organized, collaborative: someone who takes feedback well. Contribute to brainstorming and concepting sessions, develop original ideas and flesh them out. This position will report to Creative Leads. What you will need to succeed: 5+ years as a Copy Writer. Experience writing headlines to experiential. Knowledge of writing for both digital environments and social channels. Preferred qualifications, B2B experience a plus. Our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A “Junior Copy Writer,” yet demanding at least five years of experience. This role is listed as being “entry-level.” There’s no way they posted it in this category on accident. An accident is picking up Corn Chex when you meant to get Rice Chex for a new batch of muddy buddies. (True story on that one, btw.) This is on purpose. In this role, we’ll be “writing everything from headlines to experiential to emails.” What’s the “experiential” content we’ll be writing? This can mean anything and nothing at the same time, so whose experience are we talking about? The users, or what?

“Seeing a self-starter, organized, collaborative; someone who takes feedback well.” Oof. It doesn’t look like whoever wrote this even bothered to edit it.

Pro tip: the word you want is “seeking.”

Then we do a total 180 and see this “someone who takes feedback well.” Ok, this can be fairly innocuous, depending on how it’s delivered. However, I can’t help but suspect that their idea of what counts as “feedback” includes mockery, ridicule, bullying, and other wholly unacceptable and unprofessional behavior toward their submissions, since they specified that the candidate needed to take that feedback “well.”

Since this job poster deliberately listed a role requiring a bare minimum of five years of experience in this arena as “entry-level,” and with the knowledge that there are companies out there who use the term to describe their pay rate in a job posting, it seems as though this role will be wildly underpaying for the workload and the demands they’re asking for. To the company that posted this, shame on you for underpaying your employees like this. I hope it comes back to haunt you but good.

Company 2

Onward to our next contender, a Healthcare Digital Content Writer role. It looks like this role’s remote, and with a fairly decent-sized company. 19 takers in one week as of the date this screenshot was taken. Hoo, boy, this isn’t a good sign.

A screenshot of a job posting on LinkedIn for a "Healthcare Digital Content Writer." Information related to the company and the person who posted this is obscured in green. The location for this role is Iowa City, Cedar Rapids Area, (Remote), posted one week ago with 19 applicants. Full time role, company has 51 to 200 employees, and is actively recruiting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we hit that “Apply Now” button, let’s see what this company’s all about.

The text reads "Reach patients across the U.S. with your healthcare writing skills [Company X] serves academic medical center and hospital institutions across the nation with ominchannel, user-centric web and blog content. If you are an SEO expert with a keen eye for healthcare content strategy, consider joining our fast-paced, growing team. Fully remote, hybrid, or come to the office. Wherever you feel most productive and can best collaborate with our clients. Competitive salary and benefits-we reward exceptional talent. Apply on LinkedIn or [redacted company website.] Experience requirements: 5 years or more of healthcare digital content writing (writing for digital, not writing that ends up online) to include webpages, blog, ad and landing page, and email content. 3 or more verifiable examples of your digital healthcare writing."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow, we get to pick whether we want to be on-site, remote, or hybrid?! Sounds like a case of someone throwing whatever they can think of at the wall in the hopes that something will stick in order to get any takers here.

The text reads "Must have abilities: Conduct subject matter expert interviews (academic medical center faculty, doctors, nurses, dietitians, etc.). Find the "story" and weave strategy into content about a general topic. Weave narrative into web content pages and/or patient or student-facing blog content. Ghostwrite in the client's voice/brand style. Visualize content layouts as you write to provide migration insights (nested headers, calls to action, etc). Thrive in an agency environment (tight deadlines, surprise assignments, diving headlong into new-to-you work you learn on the fly). Conduct user journey and content audits. Connect interpersonally with colleagues and clients (many of whom are remote). Work independently but know when to ask questions. Be OK with vagueness, and collaborate with team to find clarity. Interpret clinical interview and researched content into lay terms for patients, community members, and prospective medical students, residents, and fellows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someone’s got a favorite word, don’t they? It’s ok. I’ve got several favorite words, so join the club. I’m not being facetious here, I promise!

Nothing like beating a dead horse while romanticizing being monstrously overworked and hideously underpaid, eh? In this role, we’ll get to interview industry experts, “weave” this and that, remain true to customer brands, and do a lot of visualizing. “Vagueness,” meaning “don’t expect us to help you. You can figure it out for yourself.”

Drive your employees into the ground, and expect them to duke it out on their own. Way to set people up for failure, you dolts.

But wait, there’s more!

Text reads "Bonus skills" CMS experience (content migration, content publishing). 2 or more years of content project management or similar expertise. Project management software experience (Basecamp, Slickplan). Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). Interpret GA or heatmap data."

 

 

 

 

 

CMS experience, PM software experience, Google Analytics, Office, and multiple years’ worth at that. If I didn’t know better, I’d think this was at least a mid-career, possibly a junior management-level role. But nope. All of this, for an “entry-level” role. Yes, this indeed showed up when I limited the search to entry-level roles, and there’s no way this was an accident.

BTW, this company’s reviews are legit horrifying. I won’t get into them, but I’ll say that there’s multiple allegations going back years indicating a toxic work environment in some way or another. 19 desperate, vulnerable job seekers looking for someone to give them a chance, and companies like this take utter advantage of them. Shame on them, times a thousand.

Company 3

Let’s see what we’ve got here. A Field Marketing Content Writer opening with a super-obscure company I’ve never heard of. Looks like this can be full-time or contract, or both full-time contract. And they’re “Urgently hiring!”

Great, because I’m “Urgently Seeking!”

Someone sure needs an ass in that seat, don’t they?

A screenshot of a posting for a "Field Marketing Content Writer." The company name is obscured in green.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someone’s looking for a content writer in a super-specific niche, and looking for someone full-time or contract. Maybe keeping their options open?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I stand corrected. This is a contract-to-hire role! Right on. The whole “try before you buy” thing. Got it. Not taking on work visa seekers, ok. Not everyone’s in a place where they can. Let’s see what we’ll be doing in this role.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collaborate, research, and assisting others. Ok, fine. But how do we “proactively draft engaging content?” Are we supposed to be mind-readers here? We need specifics, honey. “Some kind” of insurance background? Either you know what type of insurance background and how much of it you want these applicants to have, or don’t bother.

Screenshot of a job posting from Indeed, with text that reads "Application Question(s): Are you independent of a VISA Sponsor for employment? (i.e., have your GC-EAD, Green Card, or U.S. Citizenship) (Deal breaker). Please provide your base salary expectations and if relocation is a option for you. (Deal breaker). What is your hourly pay rate you are looking for? (Deal breaker). Do you work on W-2 or Corp. to Corp? (Deal breaker). Work location: Remote. 30+ Days Ago" A gray button that says "Report Job."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow, tell us you’re a racist, prejudiced mofo without actually spelling it out. Denigrating work visa seekers, how fuckin’ despicable. It’s fine if you can’t take on work visa seekers, but there’s no reason to be a jerk about it.

Fun fact: I found something on the company’s review page indicating that they have a history of expecting their employees to work off the clock. Tres lame. Anyone looking to get a work visa has officially dodged a bullet, and besides, they can do so much better than this dumbass company.

In order to put up with you butt weasels for more than 10 seconds, I’m expecting 250 bucks an hour. How ’bout them apples?

I originally had plans for a fourth job posting, but since it turned out to be way longer than I remembered it being, let’s call this a wrap. Over to you, readers. Have you found any job postings that made you go ‘hmmm’? Have you applied for them? I hope not, but if you did, what was the outcome? I’d love to hear your thoughts and takeaways, so drop ’em like they’re hot below, and let’s talk.

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