News & Blog

14 March

10 reasons why candidates don’t apply to awful job ads

and what you can do about it.

1. Your headlines are snore-inducing 

You know all those generic CV’s you have to sift through, swimming in a sea of mediocrity searching for a standout that allows you to ignore the rest? Ordinary job ads are the equivalent of that sea of mediocre CV’s – no one wants to read them, and will only do so if the alternative is dragging their fingernails across a chalkboard for the afternoon instead.

If your description starts with “We are looking for an experienced and reliable…” expect that your reader is already onto the next listing and has no memory of yours. Of course everyone desires experience and reliability – is that the most exciting thing you have to lead with? Insert yawn here.

2. W, X, Z…. the WHY is missing

We all have a why. Why we do what we do. And when you find other people who get your why, you can join together in a gleeful chorus and make magical things happen. People want to do meaningful work that resonates with them, that moves them to dance out of bed in the morning and sing in joyful harmony (okay, maybe I’m watching too many musicals). Your ad is a tool to communicate your culture, your values, your WHY – and find your singing soulmates. Use this tool wisely to draw out your people.


3. And so are his friends Where and When

Details, people. Unless the position you’re hiring for is a top-secret mission a la James Bond, give a clue as to where and when the work needs to be done. Now don’t provide EVERY detail, there is a balance to be found (see #4), but an interested jobseeker needs to know if the basics like time and place will be a fit for them before they’ll bother going forward. Duh.


4. You are word vomiting

You know how when you see a large block of text it looks too tedious to read or even skim and maybe the sentences are too long or the grammar isnt right or basically you get a sentence in and just give up and speed-read or even click away because who has the time for this anyway? Cramming every single (unnecessary) thing into a job ad can almost guarantee it will NEVER BE READ.

Spewing words like vomit is alluring to no one – particularly intelligent job seekers.


5. You are using the wrong language

Seeking a labourer using language that sounds like you want the next Professor of English Lit at Oxford, or you need a creative designer and your ad is all about facts and figures. In other words, the language in your ad doesn’t match who you’re looking for. Unless you’re searching for the elusive left-brained artist, match your tone to the language of the industry you’re targeting.


6. You're using a title that makes you go hmmm

“Babies and Toddlers – Untrained”

Nope, I don’t know what it means either. But it was an actual job title on an actual (very popular) job board. Who are they expecting to apply? Enough said. The only clicks this will get are persons curious to find out who is so stupid.


7. Your application process is like Nightmare on Elm Street

Links that don’t work or take ages to load. Hoity-toity language letting everyone know you’re super busy and will only contact them if you can be bothered. Off-putting ALL CAPS instructions. Requesting materials to be emailed without providing an email address.

If you’re not competent enough to have a clear and painless application process, all that communicates to job seekers is that there is a whole lot more mess behind the scenes. Job ads are sales pitches, and you have to have the follow-through all the way to the end to seal the deal.


8. You only post on the most popular job board you know

And cross your fingers. Who needs research, targets, social sites, additional free exposure… we believe in lucky horseshoes and four-leaf clovers! Posting on one giant job board is setting your ad up to be the proverbial needle in a haystack. White cat in a snowstorm. Waldo. You get the idea.


9. You post on every job board you can think of
Take your dollars and throw them in the wind. A quick search for ‘Australia job boards’ yields results like ‘Top 100 Job Posting Sites in Australia.’ Wait, TOP 100? How many even are there?? Which ones are relevant to who you’re looking for? What kind of traffic will you get? How will your ad be found among the millions of ads on each site?

Bear in mind the average cost to post on a major board is $400 – for one ad, on one board. Even selecting a handful of inappropriate boards sets thousands of dollars blowing in the wind. Or just put it in a pile and light on fire. Choose your own destruction.

Oh and remember the sea of mediocre CV’s? Prepare for the deluge, you’re about to be FLOODED.

10. You’re asking for a unicorn

You have a wish list of skills you want your ideal candidate to have. The perfect image of a flexible, dedicated, qualified employee with all of the desired skills and then some, including a funny personality and a cache of entertaining party tricks – you may as well advertise for a unicorn. You’re looking for a legendary mythical creature with magical powers to fulfil your every need (and want). A commonly quoted statistic is that women tend to apply for jobs when they meet 100% of the skills listed, and men 60%. That means you’re missing out on a whole lot of potential great candidates. Whittle your list down to the essentials - and stop looking for unicorns.


The people at Big Splash know a thing or two about recruitment advertising, so for more advice about where to place your ad, or if you would like us to write and design your ad; send us your vacancy or give us a call directly on 09 308 7994

10 reasons why candidates don’t apply to awful job ads