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There is a sneaky trick companies use to attract promising workers to low-paying jobs: Often, vacancies listed as “entry level” require the experience of a more experienced worker. In reality, however, pay is the only thing that reflects an actual entry-level job.

Particularly when the economy is as tense as it is now, it is possible that a website could be overflowing with job openings with entry-level vacancies, some paradoxically requiring more high-level professionals to apply. It is especially difficult to get around this when the labor market is under severe pressure. But there are still tactics – and workarounds – you can use to get at least one company to admit that it isn’t really looking for entry-level workers, and possibly find room for higher pay in the process.

Illustration for article titled Don't Get Tricked By Certain Entry-level Jobs

How to understand whether a job is really not an entry

It’s pretty easy. A real entry-level job doesn’t require years of experience, and offers for this type of job shouldn’t require myriad tasks spread across a full page. Although the corporate sector used this tactic for years prior to the pandemic, COVID-19 has accelerated the demand for jobs across the board, often forcing more experienced workers into jobs that they would normally be overqualified for.

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It is a two-tier dilemma that affects not only seasoned workers looking for employment, but also graduates who are expected to do jobs for which they have little experience. As Breanne Harris, Country Manager of the talent management and assessment company Cubiks said the company for human resource management in 2019:

We keep hearing employers talk about the huge skill gap between the new college graduates and the demands of employers. The problem is, employers keep raising the bar. At some point it becomes a barrier to entry.

If ever this applies to a job you’re passionate about, chances are you’ll get a feel for the gap between responsibilities and pay during the interview process – all justified under the guise of a novice. If the question seems too strict, or if hiring managers ask if you are happy with long hours and high pressure, you will likely get a starting wage, but one that is accountable above your level.

Illustration for article titled Don't Get Tricked By Certain Entry-level Jobs

Tell the hiring managers what you think

There is no reason to dance around the problem of being fooled into an entry-level job that has a burdensome responsibility. When you reach the final stages of an interview process, address the problem directly, albeit with the finesse and care required of a formal process. Since at some point you’ll be talking about compensation, it’s fair to note that you don’t necessarily think the suggested salary matches the duties of a job or your experience.

If the company you’re interviewing with wants to hire you, they will at least try to put together a more enticing package, even if their economic reality is rightly called into question. But for the most part, you can articulate (in a respectful, thoughtful manner) why the responsibilities described for a job don’t necessarily match those of an entry-level performance. Triggering this dialogue speaks volumes to your self-confidence and perception, while blindly accepting the thinner salary can only do you a disservice.

When you get to a point where you can negotiate your salary, stick to the traditional game book. This includes finding salaries in your industry for similar positions (even if these are not “entry level” positions) and real game art. It may be difficult, but being honest about a deceptive job description and title can show how empathic and rewarding you are to an employee.