4 Things to Watch Out For in Job Ads

When you first start applying for jobs it’s easy to overlook acronyms and be blown away by the pay figures. The advice below will help you ask the right questions and make sense of what is on offer. 

OTE, Basic Pay and commission 

On-Target Earnings (or OTE) is used to describe a salary that varies depending on performance. For recruitment roles, your OTE salary will include commission and any bonuses you are likely to receive. However, this can sometimes be a bit generous of an estimate so you should ask for a full breakdown so you can understand what your basic pay will be (with bonuses and commission discounted). Remember not to let large commission figures blindsight you – if they are very high you should question how hard it will be to make a sale. 


Big bonus figures can also be misleading, so you should consider the following: Is the bonus quarterly, bi-annually, or annually? How likely is it you will get the bonus, how much do you have to bill? Is it based on your own performance or your team’s? Did people in the team get their last bonus?

“Competitive” Salary

A final point on pay is the deceptive use of the phrase ‘competitive salary’. Many employers will use this rather than include an actual number. This can really mean any salary and may require you to negotiate – it’s always best to ask for the exact rate if possible.


Deciding how far you are willing to travel and how much the commute will cost is an important point to consider. Remember a long commute can eat into your personal time and spoil your work-life balance. 

If It Looks Too Good to Be True, It Probably is

Don’t waste your time on job ads that don’t look real and call the agency or employer if you have questions about an ad. This shows you have a real interest in the job and could also lead to more opportunities.

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