Red flags to be aware of when looking for a marketing role

We know how difficult it can be to find the perfect marketing role for you. Trust us, we’ve been there. However, it can be even more difficult to find a marketing role you love when there are so many things to look out for.

How do you know what the culture is really like? Why doesn’t it state the salary in the advert? What does ‘we’re one big family’ even mean?

Red flags to be aware of when looking for a marketing role

We recently ran an anonymous research poll on our Instagram, to which we had so many responses from marketers sharing what they consider to be a red flag with employers. It’s definitely not okay for employers to take advantage when advertising a marketing role, and we shouldn’t be left second guessing what’s real and what’s a false promise. 

We’re here to share with you some of the most common red flags to look out for when searching for your next marketing role.

1. When employers don’t disclose salary in the advertisement

If you’re a freelance marketer, you can set your own rate when working with clients. However, for any marketers working in a 9-5 role, applying for a role without knowing the salary can feel scary.

Often, employers will ask what YOUR salary expectations are before disclosing what they’re willing to pay. Most of the time, they’re waiting for your response so that they can pay you as little as possible. Make sure to be careful declaring your salary expectations without any understanding of what the employer is willing to pay. 

Sometimes a good way to get around this is to ask for a salary range at the application or interview stage so that you have a clearer idea of what this might look like.

2. When all of the ‘benefits’ should just be standard practice

Be wary of companies that advertise standard policies such as sick pay, maternity leave and basic holidays as ‘benefits’. This gives a good indication of the type of workplace that they are and may be a good sign to steer clear, or at least do a little more digging!

Company benefits should be just that – additional perks to working for the company and they shouldn’t just be surface level like ‘free drinks on Friday’ or ‘team lunches’. Try to find out what additional support the company offers to their employees e.g. mental health support and mentoring opportunities.

3. Companies asking you to disclose your age or family plans

If a company asks you to tell them your age, family plans and/or asks if you have children or are looking to have children soon – this is a huge red flag and you should run the other way.

Particularly for women, this can be a common occurrence in interviews and is a sign that the employer is already thinking about how ‘difficult’ it may be having you work for them. If they see childcare commitments or the need to take maternity leave as a problem, they’re probably not a company that you want to work for!

4. The job description doesn’t match the job title

We’ve seen this so many times before and it can definitely trip up a lot of marketing job hunters! Just because a role is advertised as a ‘Social Media Manager’, it doesn’t mean that’s necessarily what the job will involve. Many smaller companies use marketing roles to cover additional non-marketing tasks such as administrative support, sales and even IT.

Double check the job description before you put in an application. After all, you wouldn’t book a hotel without reading the description and fine print so don’t be fooled by fancy job titles either!

5. Employers speaking badly about current or past employees

If employers speak badly about any of their current or previous employees at any stage of the recruitment process, this is a definite red flag.

If people are comfortable with sharing negative opinions about others with potential future employees, it says a lot about the culture of the workplace. Anything but positive vibes should be approached with caution when searching for a new marketing role.

In order to find a great marketing role, look for jobs on trusted websites such as The Girls in Marketing Jobs Board and Marketing Week.

For more support, become a Girls in Marketing member and make use of our courses including ‘Get Hired in Marketing’,  ‘Starting Your First Marketing Job’ and ‘Entering a New Management Role’.