This story is from The Age, written by James Adonis. It’s a few years old but it’s worth reading. Why are job ads so poor?
One of the most demoralising aspects of job hunting isn’t just the insufferable recruiters or the flawed interviews; it’s also the tiresome process of browsing job advertisements, many of which are questionable at best and discriminatory at worst. Here’s a small selection for your reading pleasure/pain.
Exhibit A: Nauseating text that serves little purpose, such as: “If you [are] interested in working with a company that values their staff & work culture, apply here!” That would be just about everyone.
Exhibit B: Illogical filtering criteria that specify particular standards, for example: “Must have a minimum of 2 years Acrylic Nail experience to be considered for the position.” That assumes years of experience equate to quality of work when it’s possible someone with just two weeks’ experience could actually be better at attaching nails than someone who’s been doing it for 20.
Exhibit C: Apostrophe violations or other transgressions of the grammatical variety, like this: “Sales GUN’s wanted for WARM Outbound Telesales.” Come to think of it, the confronting capital letters are probably more offensive.
Exhibit D: Borderline discrimination couched in veiled terms that can instantly rule out entire demographic groups: “A youthful and positive team are just some of the benefits we enjoy!” Good luck applying for that one if you’re of mature age.
Exhibit E: Over-used exclamation marks as though the more they insert the more people will apply: “We need you…….Dentists! Apply TODAY!!” And just in case the exclamation marks don’t work, some capitalisation oughta do the trick, eh?
There’s curiously not a lot of research that’s been conducted in the realm of job advertisements but there are two from this year worth mentioning.
In the experiment, 283 jobseekers were given identical advertisements with only the compensation details differing. What the scholars found was that the more specific the salary information, the more likely candidates were to apply. This was amplified further when an extensive list of benefits was also provided.
Indeed, the jobseekers even used salary information to form opinions about the prospective employers. The conspicuous absence of financial details tended to elicit a negative reaction whereas generous and transparent offers were inclined to make applicants think positively about the organisation and its values.