8 Reasons Job Seekers Think Your Job Postings SUCK!

By Anne-Marie Orrock

Many employers bemoan that it is hard to find ‘good talent’, yet a lot comes down to how you are approaching the recruitment exercise that may well be the initial problem. Good companies fail to attract the right people, and it can start with your job posting.

These are the top 8 reasons job seekers think job postings suck.

1.Pitched At The Wrong Audience

A lot of job postings on job boards use an out dated language style, or job posting structures that target the wrong audience. A recent study by Millenials Branding and reflects that currently 43% of the work force is Gen Y and this is set to increase to well over 50% of workforce by 2018. Yet most job postings are still using the same language and structure that Gen X’s and Baby Boomers are used to.

Hiring managers and HR should think about who the audience is in their ‘pool of reach’ and who they want to attract. Whilst you can’t discriminate by age, you can adapt varying language styles to speak to a certain audience you want to attract to apply for your roles. A stuffy,  boring, old  job post can deter ideal candidates.

2. Using a Demanding Tone

Being dictatorial in the tone of your job posting is an absolute turnoff for job seekers and can leave candidates wondering what kind of autocratic psychopath they may be working for. Once again, out dated writing styles that use such terms as ‘You will be’, ‘you must be’, or ‘you will have xyz skills’ is patronising, and is all so school-marmish.

Instead, use language that helps create a positive and balanced tone. That is, recognising what you need, rather than what you are demanding. Examples include; ‘we need your sound knowledge of…’ or ‘ you can enjoy exercising your strength in management accounting’, for example.

3. Fail to Nail the ‘WIFM’ Factor.

Similar to point two, failing to follow through with what you have on offer to candidates. Satiate the candidates ‘What’s In It For Me? question, by selling ‘the sizzle, not the sausage’. Many job postings waste 80% of the job post space with pretty obvious information. For example, a seasoned Accountant seeking an accounting role generally understands the make up of the role intimately. Don’t waste the space on standard tasks of the generic role, instead play up the unique factors of the role that set it a part from the ordinary, average, garden-variety accounting role. If you are limited here, then play up the culture and benefits with ‘what is in it’ for the candidate to spend the best days of their lives working at your company for.

4. Being Scarce On Basic Information.

I recently saw a job posting for a Sales Manager that was very limited in the basic core information. This included not listing job location, no salary range, or even the industry the company was in. The rationalisation may be that only sales people who are really driven will seek to find out. There wasn’t even a phone number or a company name to enquire at. So unless they were after mind readers, limiting basic core information will just motivate the job seeker to move onto the next job ad, leaving yours with either a poor response rate, or a short list of the very desperate of job seekers who will apply for anything.

5. Being ‘Untouchable…’

This is not providing candidates an avenue to enquire further about the role directly, by omitting contact phone numbers, email address, or instructing gate keepers to block calls and redirect them back to job ad and ‘just apply’. Not only does it increase your screening pile of potential misfits, but it is a waste of time, if upon interview you discover you are not in the ball park for their salary requirements, or they don’t have flexibility to travel interstate, if the job requires. You also risk losing better quality,  or even passive candidates by blocking access to information and people they want to know about. Many HR and hiring managers don’t have a lot of time to talk to every candidate, however technology these days allows multiple ways to communicate with candidates through videos, podcasts, recorded webinars, that can all be set up once, and then run on auto pilot that can answer their questions, that goes beyond the standard company career site video.

6Job Postings That Are Too Long.

Just as hiring managers and HR scan and screen a resume in 10 seconds, before deciding to spend additional time on the detail, so too do job seekers when it comes to job postings. Job postings that are excessively long don’t do as well for applications, as shorter, well structured job postings. This is particularly relevant for passive candidates who may just spend a quick 5 minutes, whilst at work, dipping their toe in the job market for a little ‘look and see’. They want to peruse lightening fast for something that may pique their interest enough to go back and search for it again later. Make it sharp and impacting and not a novel to read.

7Postings That Sound Perfect….

Only to find when they get to the interview it is a completely different role or a vague representation of what was posted. Nothing gets up a job seekers nose more than the run around. Usually it is unintentional, and it is a case of the same job advertisement being re-posted for a job title over a period of years, when in actual fact the job has morphed and changed through various means such as down-sizing, maternity leave replacement, mergers, etc.  Ensure that you thoroughly review each job posting for its current relevance.

8Poor Key Word Use

Finding the right role is imperative to the job seeker, and likewise getting the best candidate is on the top of the hiring managers mind, particularly if your job role needs specialist, niche skills and expertise.  However response quality is highly dependent on the job seeker with those specific requirements actually finding your job post. Ensure your job postings are key word rich for the key words job seekers will use in their search string, and not what you want. Seek help from current role incumbents in your organisation and ask them what search strings and keywords they would use to find their own job.

Anne-Marie Orrock is Director of Corporate Canary HR Consulting and helps companies with    developing the sophistication of their Human Resources & recruitment strategy around new  technologies, social media, and talent branding.

Anne-Marie is a sought after media commentator on HR, leadership, and business and has appeared  in various publications including Sydney Morning Herald, Boss Magazine, NETT Magazine, Marie  Claire, CLEO, My Business, Dynamic Business, Cosmopolitan & HR Monthly.

In June 2012 Anne-Marie Co-authored ‘Mind Your Own Business’, a guide for small businesses, published by Mithra Publishing in the UK. For free ebooks on the 15 Failures Managers Make When Hiring and Poaching With Finesse visit

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