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13.05.2022 Talent acquisition

What makes a bad job advertisement (7 job ad mistakes)

What makes a bad job advertisement (7 job ad mistakes)

Not every job ad can be perfect, in fact, there are a lot of bad job adverts on the market. Luckily, a lot of the worst job adverts make a few typical mistakes that you can learn from when crafting your own, perfect job ads.

A bad job advertisement does more than just deter candidates from applying. It can be highly detrimental to your employer branding and can impact your business reputation as a whole.

So, to help you avoid these pitfalls and ensure your job ad is free from red flags or other mistakes that will put off candidates, we’ve put a post together containing the most common job ad mistakes. Along with these, we offer suggested improvements for if you find you’ve made these mistakes.

The following list contains mistakes or factors that can decrease how attractive your advertisement is or cause problems later in the hiring process:

  1. Using the wrong tone of voice

    Using a tone of voice that doesn’t match the culture or atmosphere within your company is a big job advertisement mistake. This can lead to a candidate taking the wrong approach in their application, or arriving at an interview expecting a completely different environment.

    If you’re a formal company, keep this in mind when writing your job advert to assure candidates take this approach in their communication with you. And if you’re a more laid back team, do the same!

  2. Not including enough information

    Check and double-check your advertisement to ensure you have all the vital information you need to disclose on the page. Having a key point missing can either lead to your company looking unprofessional or wasting both your own and the candidate’s time if they apply only to discover information that puts them off.
    Remember, you expect to know all vital information regarding a candidate when they apply, so treat them with the same respect.

  3. Not posting to enough places

    At JOIN we constantly mention the importance of multiposting. And, that’s because it works!

    Posting to too few job boards reduces the diversity in your hiring process, and limits the number of applications you receive. Meaning, you could craft a job ad that is perfect in every way, but without multiposting, the right candidates wouldn’t see it. Posting to multiple job boards combats this.

    The best part is, you can try this out for free with JOIN!

    Post your job to 10+ free job boards with JOIN

    In less than 5 minutes

    Learn more
  4. Not making your ad mobile-friendly

    More than half of Glassdoor’s traffic comes from mobile, proving that job seekers are scrolling on their phones just as much as they are on the rest of the internet. Therefore, if your ad is not mobile-friendly you’re not appealing to a huge amount of your audience. Too much text, for example, will mean a lot of scrolling on a small screen.

    Checking how your ad looks on a mobile device is a must-do before posting.

  5. Overpaying for the process

    While a good hire is certainly worth the price, paying too much for minimal results is always frustrating. Doing your research on where you post your advertisements can help you avoid this.

    For example, there’s a whole selection of free job boards out there that can help you begin to get your job advert out there… without splashing your budget all in one go.

  6. Not having an ad specific to the role

    Hiring for multiple roles? Why not lump them both into one advert to save time, right? Wrong! Not only will this confuse applicants, but it will cause a hassle for the hiring manager, who will have to sort out the mess later.

    Having a clear title that matches your open role, and a clear description of the responsibilities matching this role will mean every candidate knows exactly what they’re applying for. The result? A better concentration of talent.

  7. Making your job advertisement too long

    We’ve alluded to the dangers of making your job ad too long previously but can’t express enough how important it is not to go overboard.

    Job ads that are 1-300 words perform best, however, this isn’t always possible with more complex roles. So, aim for 600 words or less. As a rule, if it feels like you’re starting to drone on and on or repeat yourself, you probably are.

Avoiding bias in your job advertisements

We’ve briefly touched on avoiding bias and promoting diversity in your job advertisements. However, the importance of this cannot be understated.

Including bias in your job ads is a huge mistake, not only as it will put your diversity recruiting strategy at risk, but it will mean you struggle to hire for culture add. There are some more specific steps you can take to ensure your job advertisements are as inclusive as possible.

The following tips will ensure you’re not accidentally showing bias or discouraging applicants from certain groups:

Avoid using gendered pronouns

Considering the fact women already apply for 20% less jobs than men, it is highly important that your company doesn’t discourage applicants from applying to a role based on the pronouns used in your advert.

In some countries, such as Germany, this is more than just common courtesy. Legislation is in place that rules job advertisements must be written in a way that doesn’t favour any particular gender, making inclusively writing them a priority.

Depending on your job advertisement’s language, this could be as simple as using neutral language or it may involve including different gender identities in the role title.

Whichever way you choose, it is essential you do so in each and every job you post.

Keep options open

Another great way to encourage diversity in your job advertisements is to encourage applicants to apply even if they don’t fully match the requirements.

Statistics from LinkedIn show that women are 16% less likely to apply for a job after viewing it than men are. This correlates with an infamous quote from a Hewlett Packard report that women feel as though they need to meet 100% of a role’s requirement criteria, while men only feel as though they need to meet 60%.

Stand-out statistics

  • Women are 16% less likely to apply for a job after viewing it than men are.
  • Women feel as though they need to meet 100% of a role’s requirement criteria, while men only feel as though they need to meet 60%. 

Therefore, adding a simple sentence that says you’re welcome to applicants that think they’d be a good fit, without fulfilling every requirement, will improve diversity. The sentence can be short and sweet such as:

“If you don’t check all of the boxes, but think you’d still be a good fit, send over your application and we’ll still review it!”

Make it inclusive for everyone

Another point to remember when avoiding bias is that diversity is about more than just gender.

Age, class background, sexual orientation, and many other factors come into play when discussing diversity. To help indicate to a candidate that this is a priority of yours, you can add a sentence in the text of your job ad such as:

“We’re a company committed to creating a diverse culture that is welcoming to employees from different backgrounds.”

Of course, including this is only recommended if your company truly works towards this atmosphere. For tips on improving your approach in this area, check out our articles on diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.

Want to write a great job advertisement?

Get started with tips and tricks from our helpful guide.

Read our guide

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