Advertising a job – A how not to manual

This week, I was struggling with finding a topic for a blog post, however, earlier today I was rescued by one of my colleagues who shared with me a terrible, horrible, no good very bad job ad.


Let’s start with the job title:

job titlejpg

Right, we’re looking for an “expert web developer”.

Wikipedia tells me that “Web development is the work involved in developing a website for the Internet or an intranet. Web development can range from developing a simple single static page of plain text to complex web-based internet applications, electronic businesses, and social network services.”

That’s quite a range of things, so let’s read further to see what that Expert Web Developer will do…

description experiencejpg

…and that’s it.



We then move on to what we Frenchies, call “intellectual masturbation” about the company and the services it offers. In between the multiple awards and the number of clients, please note that the company offers “ample on-site parking”.

 The USPS (Unique Selling PointSssssss?) boast a CEO that won multiple awards (good for them), “many communication methods” (so, phone, email, IM, telepathy) and what won me over: a 4 screen PC. What’s not to like???



Towards the bottom of the page, I finally reach the “requirements” for the job, here titled what “we expect”.

Now, I see you there, reading me and thinking, cool that’s were we learn about the job, right?

No, no, no!

Just a bunch of adjectives. The sort of things you usually find on graduates’ CVs because they don’t have any work experience.

Some of them left me a bit bamboozled…


"Resolution focused"

 I mean, combined with “Enjoys speaking with customers” and “Wants customers to be happy”, that sounds like a great customer service role… but hum… wasn’t it a senior Web Dev role???

 Moving on. There’s got to be more about the job on page 2…


Ok… benefits…

Onsite parking. Wow, that’s the 2nd time it’s mentioned on the ad. Must be a really valuable commodity in… (googlemaps the location) middle of nowhere England… Whatever.

Amazing equipment, Recognition, Employee of the month, qualifications… business cards! Oh yeah! That’s the best thing since sliced bread, I’ll be able to give one of these antiques to my 101 years old granny so she can show her friends!


Exciting, they offer benefits for 5 and 10 years of tenure… Maybe something cool like what Blizzard used to do: 10 years of service and you get the Sword of Azeroth (I know, it’s not THAT sword)…

Mmmh, a letter from the CEO and a pin. Wow, crazy!

tenured benefitsjpg

And when you reach 10 years, an other letter from the CEO, a “classy pen”, a trophy and champagne! Why didn’t you say that earlier! Where do I apply???

The technical bits 

Page 3 (yes, page 3!) brings some technical insights with platforms and coding knowledge… That’s quite a list there. But the general qualification needed only require a B+ in high school subjects. I can do that!


A few “specialist qualifications” that you can get online for cheap if you have some time in front of you, yeah, sounds good too! I’m definitely the best candidate for this Expert Web Dev role!


Oh, working hours! 

Now, that’s interesting. You know with the global pandemic, flexibility and working remotely have become more important for candidates, so let’s see what they offer…

  working hoursjpg

Hum… Evidently, they’re not so good at maths… 8am to 6pm, that’s 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, so 50 hours week? There’s no mention of a lunch break… But they have free snacks and beverages in their benefits, so who needs a lunch break really?!


To be in the office no later than 7:45am… Why??? So… I can’t work from home AND I need to be in the office 15 minutes before my working hours start? Wait, that’s an indentured servant job, right? * scrolls back up * Nope, Expert Web Dev… Colour me confused…


Contact details of any past employer. 

Any? Really? Any past employer?!  GDPRjpg

Let's focus for a minute on what I know about the job

I’m really tempted to apply for this job. After reading 3 pages of job description, I’ve no idea what the job actually entails, the company sounds like the worst place to work, with a massive disrespect for their employees’ personal time, and a middle-age approach to flexibility.


Wait, did they mention the salary somewhere?

Oh, yes they did.


Yeah, right… I mean, Brexit, global pandemic... sure...


And that job has only been open since April 17th

Joking aside 

Suffice to say, writing a job ad like that will not attract the qualified candidates you are looking for. So here is a recipe for a half-way decent job ad.


What do we normally look for in a job ad?

  • A little bit about the company
  • The core responsibilities of the job
  • The “requirements” for the job

That’s the bare necessities, right?


If you’re feeling fancy, you’ll talk about the purpose of the job within the company, the purpose of the company itself and what’s in it for the candidate. Add a call to action to apply for the job and you’ve got a half-way decent job ad.

If you want to go above and beyond, talk about the team, how the person will fit in, what their job will add in terms of value for the company (and to its clients). Tell us why there’s a need for this job, what projects will the person get to accomplish – I get that it’s harder if you’re looking for someone to work on an assembly line, but try to think further down the chain, who will that product help?


Last but not least, write your job ad the same way you would be talking to your best candidate about the job. The war for talent is over and has been over for years: talent won, so get on with your time people and write decent job ad and have human expectation of the people that may one day work for you.