6 Green Flags You Absolutely Want To Read in a Job Description Instead of ‘We’re a Family'

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April 22, 2024 at 4:11AM UTC

You’ve probably done some double-takes while reading a job description that has the likes of “we’re a family” or we’re looking for a “rockstar.” Often, these terms are coded for “we’re toxic, and require all of your personal time,” or “we need someone who can do anything and everything,” respectively.

If you know what to avoid, what about what you should look out for? Here are a few green flags you want to see in job descriptions, and what they actually signal about a company.

1. “Growing.”

“Growing” can mean a few different things depending on how the company uses it in their job description — but regardless of where they do, it’s generally a good thing. If they’re a “fast-growing company,” this position might get you in at the ground level and give you a chance to really make an impact at a company that’s potentially going places. If they’re “growing” their team, this is a good sign for the company’s financial health and can indicate some signs of security. If you get the chance to interview, don’t hesistate to ask about the company’s growth plans and dig a little deeper about what they mean by the phrase. You might get some clarity and hopefully more green flags.

2. Salary or salary range.

While this soon may be required in some states (nice job, Colorado, and looking at you next, New York), a company that puts their salary in their job description is actively promoting salary transparency. Showing the salary upfront avoids the dreaded waiting game and stops wasting both job seekers’ and recruiters’ precious time. If the salary is lower than you want but you still want to apply, you can still negotiate based on the number in the description.

3. Benefits.

Like listing salary, listing benefits within a job description beats the chase and lets candidates know upfront about the (literal) benefits of working at the company. Information about PTO, parental leave and healthcare can make or break whether a candidate applies or even accepts the role — so when a company puts that information up front, they’re being transparent about what they can actually offer.

4. Location.

In a world where working on-site is no longer guaranteed, a company that’s upfront about its return-to-office or work-from-home plans isn’t going to trick you into coming in when you don’t want to. Like the salary, there may be room to negotiate this depending on your position and the company’s history with remote work.

5. A caveat about qualifications. 

Some jobs do require technical skills, yes, and if the job does require them, the job description should list them. However, if there’s a long list of required skills, that can discourage some applicants from applying — even when it’s likely that the employer doesn’t expect to hire someone who has 100% of them.

Job descriptions that acknowledge that candidates should apply even if they don’t have all of the qualifications may actually help promote gender equality in their applications. Women are less likely to apply to jobs unless they’re 100% qualified; while men are likely to apply even if they’re only 50% qualified.

6. “Diversity and inclusion.” 

A company that includes their dedication to diversity and inclusion in their job description hopefully is making good on their word. While you should dig a little deeper to see what representation they have on their team (especially their management team) and what efforts they’ve made, a company that shares this willingly within their job description is more likely dedicated to an equitable workplace than not.

Of course, just because a company includes something in its job description doesn’t mean it’s 100% factual. See if these green flags check out by looking into the company culture, health and employee reviews — and don’t be afraid to ask about it in the interview.


This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

What are the “green flags” you look out for in job descriptions? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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