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Job posting red flags: The 10 details applicants find most ‘unappealing,’ according to a new report

Last month, job growth exceeded expectations with 528,000 new jobs being added, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But employers are still struggling to hire as labor force participation rates remain low – and unappealing job postings could be the reason why.

 According to a recent survey from Paychex, workers are a lot more particular when it comes to analyzing job postings, and there are several red flags job seekers look out for when weighing listings.

"Broadly, job seekers are looking for a fair, clearly outlined salary and job description," Rachel Sweeney, a Paychex HR coach, tells CNBC Make It. "Candidates were specifically concerned about how the posting handled salary details; no salary range specified and a low base salary were job postings' top red flags."

Paychex surveyed 805 Americans who've looked for a job in the past year to assess their standards for evaluating job postings.

These are the top job search red flags:

  1. No specified salary range (65%)
  2. Low base salary (60%)
  3. Experience requirement too high for the position (50%)
  4. "Pay commensurate with experience" (49%)
  5. Spelling and grammar mistakes (48%)
  6. Long list of job qualifications (43%)
  7. No mention of paid time off (36%)
  8. No mention of paid sick leave (36%)
  9. Mention of occasional work on the weekends (33%)
  10. Too many interview rounds (33%)

Pay transparency is a major priority for today's job seekers and many states have recently followed suit, making it a requirement for employers to disclose salary ranges. As of April 2022, California, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Washington have all passed or amended legislation in favor of salary transparency.

"Pay transparency is important to show that an employer values pay equity, and some states and localities have started to pass laws requiring it in various forms," Sweeney says. "As these requirements start to appear across the country, an employer proactively providing this information as part of a recruiting strategy would be better positioned should a future pay transparency law apply to them at some point."

Another trend amongst job seekers is the lack of interest in lengthy interview processes. Most of Paychex's survey respondents consider "any more than two rounds of interviews excessive."

Certain phrases also deterred job seekers from applying to roles, with 'commission-based salary' being the number one alarming phrase across all generations.

"Other problematic phrases were those indicating a variety of duties for one role, such as 'willing to wear many hats,' or phrases that could describe the culture such as 'must handle stress well' or 'fast-paced environment,'" says Sweeney. "These types of phrases are likely more worrisome today than in previous years, as employees remaining at their workplaces during the Great Resignation may be feeling more burnout and anxiety."

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