Job ads are as vague as ever. Their purpose is to get you in the door, not give away all the details.
However, if know you what to look for, you can avoid these situations. The better you understand the different types of postings that are out there, the less likely you'll be taken by surprise.
So here are five types of job ads and what you can expect from each one:
1. Legit direct-hire ads posted by the company hiring for the job
The most effective way to ensure that you are indeed applying for a direct-hire position is to search for the name of the company.
Few companies post well-written ads that rise to the top of job boards. The person who writes the ads probably does not have SEO experience. As a result, a lot of good jobs get lost in the Careerbuilder (or whatever job site they're posted to) shuffle.
If you click on a position posted on one of these job boards, a legitimate direct-hire position should take you directly to the careers section of the company's website.
If you're still not sure, avoid the big job boards altogether. If you know what company you want to work for, your best bet is to check their website regularly for jobs as they become available.
If you're unsure of what kind of job you want or which company to search for, this career guide can help you get started.
2. Positions posted by placement agencies and career consultants
Agencies and career consultants represent different companies. They find candidates to fill open positions. Since their job is finding jobs, they spend time improving the ads of the companies for which they're hiring. They've figured out the formula that gets them to the top of the search results.
So, how do you know if someone from an agency or a consultant wrote the ad? It should say so. This may be fine-print information at the bottom, but it should be there.
You'd be surprised by how many candidates have no idea when they're interviewing with an agency and not the company that's hiring. This shows the recruiter you didn't read the ad, and that doesn't make you look like an attractive candidate.
Placement and career consulting fees (as well as who ends up paying them) vary by state. Some agencies specialize in contract jobs, while others do direct-hire for full-time positions. The ad should make some mention of all of this information somewhere.
So, it's best to research the agency and make sure it's a route you actually want to take. Agencies and career consultants can provide you with great opportunities and services you may not have come across otherwise, so don't completely dismiss the idea -- especially if you haven't had much luck on your own.
3. Scam ads that aren't for real jobs (they just want your money)
Ever notice how some job ads on huge boards may have a little dollar sign next to them? This lets you know the job may require an investment on your part. It's also a dead giveaway that the job is a scam.