Gilchrist: Pay heed to red flags during job hunt

Tracy Gilchrist / Kamloops Daily News
May 25, 2012 01:00 AM

Grad season's in full swing and part of bravely stepping into a bright future will be the need, for many, to find a summer job.

Maybe it's to help pay for university in the fall, simply to start exploring the working world or the practicality of Mom and Dad's edict: time to get a job.

So if they're not already knocking on doors, members of the Class of 2012 soon will be, and their post-secondary peers already are.

Some will resort to extreme measures in their quest. One stepdaughter started looking in February, leaving university after her final 3 p.m. class one day to drive seven hours here. Then she and her dad began driving for her job interview the next morning in a town six hours away, which became 10 amid winter storms.

Interview done, they hit the road for the return, all for naught as she didn't get the job.

Students will also make tracks to local businesses, dropping resumes at places likely to take them on - fast food restaurants, retailers and the like - but as one of hundreds, efforts can prove futile.

Under such circumstances, it's easy to get disheartened and be willing to take whatever comes along, but my advice is, don't!

There will always be another job - sometime, somewhere - so if there's something that doesn't feel right about what's being offered by a prospective employer, listen to your intuition.

Those of us more seasoned in the job market would likely pick up on something shady more readily that eager newbies might be willing to overlook or not see at all.

For instance, the bar manager that says he'd love to hire you but you have to wear a short skirt and low-cut top. If the request gives you the willies, just say no.

If an employer's description of job tasks seems vague, or she doesn't make eye contact while describing prospective duties, that's another red flag.

If the work is physical, inquire about what safety training and gear will be provided or you are expected to purchase. If the answer is none on both accounts, run the other way.

While student job centres have gone the way of the beta video machine, the federal government still offers a job bank for students or youth online at

On Wednesday, the site featured only eight jobs in the Kamloops area (which included Salmon Arm and Cache Creek; hope you've got a car) offering hourly wages in the range of $10.25 as a cook or restaurant cashier up to $15.50 to be a personal support aid with the Canadian Mental Health Association.

The site notes while attempts are made to verify employers are legit, job searchers are encouraged to do some research themselves, for instance via the Better Business Bureau (website, which lists accredited companies (operating for at least a year and meeting certain standards), as well as consumer complaints in the last three years about specific businesses.

And there's nothing like word of mouth for learning about employers to avoid. If something sketchy happened to someone you know, it may happen to you, too.

The all-important summer job is a necessity, but not at any cost. If it seems too good to be true (or the opposite), move on to the next opportunity.

© Copyright 2015 Kamloops Daily News

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