9 Ways to Kill A Job Advert

Published on: 18 Oct 2017

Kill advert

We come across hundreds of job adverts a week in the OnlyMarketingJobs office. The good, the bad, the ugly; you name it, we've seen it! When a job isn’t performing as expected, it isn’t our marketing department or attraction team we look to for answers. Nine times out of ten it's the job copy! Not only are employers and recruiters squandering their budgets on bad ads but they also spend a good day or two flapping around, wondering why they have irrelevant and darn right questionable applicants (yes we just said 'darn'.) Could you be posting jobs that are set up to fail?

Take note of all of these job advert no-nos and please remember, this is what NOT to do:

  1. Be demanding

    Don’t be ridiculous, be realistic. You probably aren’t going to find a Web Developer with brand marketing experience, from a farming industry background, who speaks native Bengali and is based on the Isle of Mull. However, if you do find a person with this kind of experience we would definitely like to see their CV!
  1. Lots of words and paragraphs. More words. Paragraphs. Maybe some numbers too? A few more words. WORDS!

    There is nothing worse for budding jobseekers than opening the link to what looks like an exciting role, only to be greeted by an eyesore of wordy text, which more than likely has little to do with the job that's on offer. Keep introductions short and concise and only list the main responsibilities of the role when describing the opportunity. You don’t need to bombard candidates with an entire job description.
  1. Be as vague and mysterious as possible

    There’s curiously mysterious (we all love to play hard to get) and then there’s just down right vague. You’ve got to give candidates something to work with or you simply will not get the applications you want. If you're wondering why your advert isn't garnering the kind of response you anticipated, put a little bit more effort into it. If you're a consultancy, get as much information as possible from your client. It will pay off in the long run to spend an extra ten minutes on the phone. 
  1. Leave off all benefits/perks

    It’s amazing how many employers fail to list their benefits packages on their adverts. This is your one chance to set yourself apart from all of your competitors – the same competitors who are probably looking for the same exceptional candidates as you are. When we receive job copy, we'd estimate that the benefits package is completely ignored around 85% of the time, which is absolutely staggering!
  1. Nonsensical job titles

    If you are looking to attract the right candidates, don’t advertise internal job titles that mean very little outside of your organisation. For search purposes we would advise against advertising in this way, for example, 'Marketing Manager' is going to appear in way more searches than 'Brand Champion'. Similarly, we see a lot of job titles which make absolutely no sense in relation to the advert. Studies have shown that 40% of respondents regularly see job titles they don't understand and almost two thirds (64%) say this puts them off applying for the job. 
  1. Include Speling misteaks, grammatical errors and heaps of BJ

    That's business jargon in case your mind began to wander. Studies show that 57% of candidates would be put off applying for a role if the advert was full of jargon, with 3 in 5 candidates finding it highly annoying. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are just embarrassing (the spelling mistake in the heading is purely for dramatic effect!) If you use Microsoft Office there really is no excuse for this. If you're writing the job copy on your phone, then you may as well give up now.
  1. Undersell the job and company with boring job copy

    This is YOUR CHANCE recruitment managers! A job advert is supposed to engage and excite the reader. A study by the Corporate Research Forum has shown that candidates favoured job adverts that included good employer accolades; if you have a workplace award of any kind, put it on there. It also indicated that candidate impressions of companies that carried such seals were more positive. You are supposed to be attracting talent after all. This is particularly important if company culture is a priority in your business, which it really should be. 
  1. Don’t include any essential criteria

    Recruitment consultants who write vague adverts in the name of client confidentiality often miss this very important section off their adverts. This is job ad suicide. Yes you can be too specific (see point 1), but if you don’t outline the essential criteria for your role, you aren’t going to generate the level of talent you need. This doesn’t need to be more than a few points, but a few points can spell the difference between filling your vacancy and looking desperate for candidates 6 months later.
  1. It’s cool to leave location out so make sure you don’t include it!

    This is VERY important! If you don’t provide a location, candidates will not know where the role is based (am I Einstein in the making?) This has an impact for a number of reasons:
  • The role may be commutable from locations that you haven’t even considered during your search
  • If your role is in an awkward location but you offer work from home options, candidates from even further afield may consider a longer commute a few days a week or even a home-based role
  • We wouldn’t apply for a job that didn’t state the location. Would you?


Next time you're ready to post a job, think before you publish. The standard of your adverts can have a huge impact upon applications and this can be detrimental to the recruitment process long term. We offer so much more than a simple job listing at OnlyMarketingJobs. If you need help with your adverts, discover our Dynamic Talent Attraction service, unique job marketing packages and so much more.