How Job Descriptions Can Reveal If A Workplace Is Toxic

Filomena Kaguako uncovers five red flags to avoid when applying for jobs.

There has been a major power shift in the job market over the last few years. With greater options for further education and remote working on the rise, those looking for job openings can take solace in knowing that the cards are no longer stacked against them in the labour force.

The job market being in favour of the employee means that you have the negotiating power to discuss a better salary and employee benefits, but most of all, it means you don’t have to settle for a job with a toxic work culture.

A toxic work environment can negatively impact an employee beyond the duties of their job. As well as having a negative effect on your work productivity, a poor work culture can also take a toll on your mental health.

Thankfully, there are some telltale signs in a job description alone that can point to a toxic work environment. So if you want to avoid being wrapped up in toxicity in your next role, be sure to keep an eye out for the below…

When you have to “wear many hats”

If a job requires you to put your fingers in a few pies, then the chances are you could be expected to do multiple jobs while only getting paid for one. A role with this description could mean that you’d be stretching yourself too thin, which will eventually lead to burnout.

It also speaks to the value, or lack thereof, that the employer places on their employees, because an employer who recognises the correlation between work productivity and self-esteem wouldn’t put their staff members in a position that may jeopardise their overall performance.

Ambiguous work hours

Some job adverts may allude to working outside the standard nine to five without stipulating the extent of that commitment. Not knowing what your time commitments are with your job could make it difficult to make plans with friends and family, or have a healthy work-life balance.

Also, if your work hours are constantly changing, it may impact team building. The lack of consistency means you might not have the opportunity to develop the healthy emotional bonds with your teammates that are crucial to foster in an increasingly toxic work culture.

Urgency in the description

If you feel there is a sense of urgency in the tone used in a job description, then you are right to take note. “Fast paced work environments” can translate as “chaotic”.

Whether it is urgency about the role itself or urgency around replacing a staff member, this type of language can point to the pressure that is put on staff members over their productivity and performance. Oftentimes, it could mean you would be under duress while carrying out your taks.

While “immediate start date” could sound like a blessing to a job seeker, it can also be an indication that an employer’s staff members have a proclivity to drop like flies. You have to ask yourself if the company has a high staff turnover, and more importantly, why?

Tight-knit family

Any manager who refers to their colleagues as a tight-knit family could have an issue with boundaries. While it is true that some work environments are more casual than others, which can therefore lead to close connections outside the workplace, it is still important to be able to separate your personal affairs from your work life.

At the end of the day, there is a legally binding contract to the relationships that are developed in the workplace, so the duties of a job ultimately come first. A work culture where the lines are blurred between work and your personal life can lead to complacency for some, or in other cases, higher expectations.

Unclear job titles

A major red flag in a job description is an unclear job title. How can you be interested in a job when you’re unsure about what the role entails? A job title that requires you to question your day-to-day responsibilities before a job offer is even on the table will only lead to more confusion down the line.

This could mean that the employer is trying to sell multiple jobs as the one, which goes back to wearing too many hats and possible burnout. A clear and concise job title isn’t a lot to ask for, so definitely take this into consideration when looking for a new job. 

Below are some companies hiring at the moment if you’re hoping to expand your skill set, and you can discover plenty more on the Professional Beauty Job Board.


A leading beauty brand that operates over 2,700 stores across 35 countries, Sephora offers over 340 brands, and recently became one of the first major companies to take the 15 Percent Pledge, committing 15% of its shelf-space to high end Black-owned businesses. Looking to expand on your skill set? Have a look at some of the opportunities available at Sephora.

Laser Clinics

Leaders in laser hair removal for both men and women, Laser Clinics has a global team of over 1,600 trained staff members who administer more than 2.5 million treatments a year. Laser Clinic staff are made up of doctors, registered nurses, and trained therapists, so if you’re someone who values high technology and a commitment to delivering the best possible results for a client, check out the job openings currently available at Laser Clinics.

The Body Shop

The Body Shop has an incredibly unique approach to beauty. This international brand specialises in cosmetics, skin care and perfume while making a positive contribution in helping with the climate crisis. If you’re a person who would like to be part of a team that prioritises the environment in the beauty industry, have a look at the job opportunities available at The Body Shop.

If you’re ready to take your career to the next step, check out the hundreds of opportunities available on the Professional Beauty Job Board.

This article was written in partnership with Jobbio.

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