5 Ways Job Postings Attract The Wrong People

poor job postings attract wrong personIf you want to avoid treading water in a sea of CV’s that don’t match your role, heed the following common features and mistakes of job postings that attract the wrong people.

1. Using Cliche’s

A recent job posting said ‘We are not looking for your run-of-the-mill manager’.

What is run-of-the-mill? and who is going to consider themselves as that anyway?

Other cliche’s that waste your space on job postings and don’t say what you mean include:

‘Hit the ground running’. Who is going to not apply because they think of themselves as a slower starter?

‘Passionate about their work’. If you were to receive an application from a candidate that had this same cliche in the cover letter, would you believe it?

‘Excellent communication skills’. Once again, everyone thinks they are an excellent communicator.

2. Generalising

If you want candidates that accurately match your requirements you need to be accurate in your job posting. The following terms are generalising and mean different things to different people, depending on their experience or even opinion.

For example, using adjectives such as ‘small’ or ‘large’ (e.g, managing a small team, or is a large ICT digital leader. Say what small actually is. I.e, managing a team of two staff.

‘Fast growth’ is another common generalising term. What is fast to one company, or team is potentially slow to others. Give indicative figures or outcomes that accurately help an individual assess the facts.

3. Posting The Dream vs The Reality

A recent posting boasted they were looking for a thought leader with big ideas to drive the company in fast growth.  Problem was the company was very small (under 30 people) and so was the salary. It didn’t have the capacity to implement ‘thought leader’ ideas, or the salary to compensate for or attract an individual who, as the term indicates, is ahead of the pack. Don’t post an elaborate fairy tale of what you hope the position will be, when the reality is more likely that they will be bogged down with politics, obstacles, bureaucracy or lack of funds. Be realistic to a point.

4. Listing Diametrically Opposed Psychological Behaviours & Traits

This is the most misunderstood area of recruiting people. Psychologists a plenty have undertaken years of in depth studies to find that we have opposing behaviours. Some examples may include introverted versus extroverted people, relaxed and methodical people versus people driven with a sense of urgency, or change makers versus those who are risk or change adverse. The problem with many job postings is that they make a wish list of all the behaviours they expect the person to have and be, without understanding that many are diametrically opposed.

5. Copying Other Postings

This practice is rampant out there in recruitment land, compounding the poor job posting problem. It might sound similar to your job role, however you risk bringing all of the above ineffective practices into your job posting, bringing that negative element into who you need to attract and ending up with the wrong candidates applying.

Next month we discuss how to construct a job posting that will attract exactly the candidates you need, and reduce your time wading through applications that don’t fit your real requirements.


Anne-Marie Orrock

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.

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