View of a periwinkle ballpoint pen with silver top grazing a job spec in a newspaper.
Image: © Wally Stemberger/

Should you apply for the role? Here’s how to tell based on the job spec

17 May 2019

Here’s how to tell a real job opportunity from a fake, and other indicators that you maybe shouldn’t apply for that role.

The job hunt is complicated enough without scores of fraudulent postings floating around the internet.

‘Job scams’ are, unfortunately, all too common in the tech world, as many bad actors will post listings or contact candidates under the guise of representing some of the most recognisable brands and companies in STEM. The consequences of falling prey to these types of schemes can range from merely wasting your valuable job-hunting time to having your money or identity stolen.

Even setting the scam element aside, there are certain job postings that aren’t worth your time applying for, for various reasons. The spec could be out of date and for a position that has already been filled. There could even be early indications that the role could be a terrible fit for your current needs.

Fortunately, there are some indicators that a trained eye can quickly spot, and has kindly put together this infographic detailing them.

For example, if a job was posted more than a few months ago, it is likely not worth applying for. In many cases, the position has already been filled and the company has merely forgotten to take the ad down. As you can expect, big firms will advertise across numerous different platforms so it stands to reason that occasionally, one ad may slip through the cracks.

Jobs that have premium-rate phone numbers attached to them should be avoided, as should postings without official company emails provided. Asking for sensitive information upfront, such as your payment details, is also a major red flag.

So, presuming you have dodged the scam job specs and passed over the expired postings, you still should be vigilant. Do you think you’ll actually enjoy the role, and will it give you the opportunity to live up to your full potential? Do you think the company will be a genuinely nice place to work?

The best way to move forward in your job search, ultimately, is to combine these practical nuggets of advice with your own intuition. Ultimately, if it doesn’t feel right don’t go for it.

To get some more tips on judging a role by the job spec, check out the infographic below.

Job spec infographic

Click to enlarge. Infographic:

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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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