Your Job Ads Suck

Imagine you’re a candidate. You’re doing the job seeking that we, as recruiters, think we understand so well. Candidate you types search terms into Google, Indeed, Monster or Bing (just kidding, no one uses Bing) and off you go… to sort through job adslike the one below. I challenge you to read it, but most of you probably won’t. Why? Because it’s boring and it stinks and I will bet you dollars to donuts that it doesn’t really tell you or any other candidate about the job. Shall we break it down?

Summary of job function: This section takes 8 sentences to describe absolutely nothing. It doesn’t appeal to the senses in any way, nor does it describe a typical day or what it’s like to work for the company. As the subtitle indicates, it’s entirely functional. If your HRIS or job posting service insists on this, at least make it a scannable list. If it’s not a requirement, why not take a minute to tweak it so it’s more like an advertisement? Describe what their future job will be like.

Essential Responsibilities: While there is plenty to criticize about the style of this section, I will point out some perhaps less obvious issues here. This post, which is for a marketing manager, fails to identify who exactly this position reports to and also includes pretty much everyone in the target market. As a marketer, when I read this section, it looks like a catch-all description for whatever the current marketing team doesn’t want to do. On the other hand it is very detailed in describing responsibilities but fails to identify any sort of hierarchy or support staff. One school of thought is that rich description will allow applicants to self-select, while another group of experts feel that the job description should hint at skills needed rather than a to-do list.

Required skills, knowledge and abilities: This is probably my least favorite section of this particular job ad because in spite of its whopping 17 required skills, it manages to once again, say nearly nothing. Take heed, if your job ads include phrases like: “common methods and practices” or references obvious internal models and documents, you’re doing something very wrong.

Now let’s go back to the candidate that we’re pretending to be. Would you understand, respond to or even bother to read through this garbage?

Summary of Job Function
Performs or assists with one or more of the following marketing functions for _____. Participates in the planning and execution of marketing requests, such as company meetings, special events and trade shows.  Manages the marketing needs for one or more product line(s).  Plans and/or develops communication programs for the organization.  Develops, coordinates, and/or participates in advertising campaigns and the production of collateral material in various formats to be used to support sales efforts.  Contributes to all aspects of the corporate Web site.  Analyzes sales records, researches trends and/or estimates market development and potential for prospects. Coordinates or participates in aspects of request for proposals (RFPs) from potential clients.
Essential Responsibilities
Under the direction of the Senior Director, Director, or an Associate Director, work assignments are typically marginal in size, marginally complex in nature, and require regular contact with internal and/or external clients.  A Marketing Manager’s work responsibilities include the following:
  • Works with business development, customers, product management, sales and other business partners in support of client-customized, content-rich marketing collateral, such as proposals, corporate communication, and other marketing related information.
  • Provides support for the strategic direction, growth and vision of the company via all aspects of communications, including but not limited to corporate and media relations and trade shows and events.
  • Interfaces with many areas within the company as well as subsidiaries, and communicates marketing information internally and externally.
  • Supports multiple pieces of marketing collateral, including the company’s annual report, company magazine, corporate newsletter, press releases, broadcast messages, internal announcements and campaigns, trade shows/events information, website and/or portal content.
  • May support and develop product promotion and subsidiary launch strategies.
  • Creates communication from planning to implementation, and at times, may be required and created in a quick, critical setting.
  • Manages relationships with internal contacts, external communications consultants and/or agencies.  Meets with internal and/or external clients to understand their ongoing strategies and how ________ can deepen its relationship and reach within the client’s organization.
  • Works directly with strategy, sales, and other internal clients to appropriately portray and communicate the company position and market strategy to shareholders, prospects, clients and team members for all media.
  • Interfaces with senior management and its subsidiaries on marketing concepts and issues, including but not limited to creative and branding issues.  Takes strategic marketing plans for existing lines and new marketing opportunities and interprets plans into “big ideas” to extend the company’s brand vision.
  • Serves directly as a marketing advocate, communications consultant, and/or liaison for business support units, operational units, and non-revenue-generating units within the organization.  Advises leaders in those units on specific communications issues and coordinates appropriate marketing resources to achieve their functional goals.
  • Supports _______ revenue and market share growth by working with internal clients and/or product developers in ______’ lines of business and affiliates to evaluate and develop the market strategy, competitive research, pricing model and/or value quotient for ______’ products and services.
  • May interface with clients, prospects, industry analysts, card associations, ____’ client services, sales, finance and strategy to understand requests for product development, industry landscape, competitive product sets and pricing.
  • Plans, implements, controls and provides reports of marketing projects within the specific goals of building and delivering campaigns, such as internal and external communications, product launches, new business units, acquisitions and RFP/RFI proposals within planned scope, schedule, cost and quality, and trade shows/events.
  • Supervises no more than 2 team members in support of the marketing function.


Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
  1. Follows the Leadership Expectations
  2. Models observable behaviors identified in Talent Management Core Competencies
  3. Listens well and utilizes information
  4. Ensures meaningful Right Steps meetings and documentation
  5. Understands the clients’ business and collaborates with the clients to meet their objectives
  6. Plans and manages to annual budget for cost center
  7. Understands the factors which enable _____ to prosper
  8. Works well in a fast-paced, high pressured environment with irregular hours
  9. Travels, as required
  10. Possesses and applies specialized knowledge unique to the organization using common methods and principles
  11. Analyzes information for routine problem resolution
  12. Plans and leads the work efforts of others
  13. Provides daily leadership
  14. Guides team members performing specialized duties
  15. Possesses strong relationship management, communication, and decision making skills
  16. Possesses excellent attention to detail, including follow-up, analytical, and problem solving skills.
  17. Possesses advanced industry knowledge.
Education and Experience
Four year college degree and 6 or more years professional experience or 8 or more years professional experience is required.  Previous management experience is required for leadership and previous experience managing teams or projects is required for matrix management.  Appropriate ____ experience is preferred.  Six Sigma Green Belt certification is preferred.

Did you read all the way to the end? Below is your prize.

Worst job ad ever
(Based on way too many of them)

Job title: 
Make up to $65,000 a year with terrific benefits at fun company!
Job description: 
Are you someone who likes to have fun in life and also feed your family? Do you desire out-of-this-world medical, vision and dental benefits? Well, have we got a opening for you! At Dynamics Amalgamated, we operate by our corporate credo of, “Live a Lucrative Life.” Do you think you’re up to the challenge? And the fun? Dynamics Amalgamated is seeking self-motivated individuals for our representative interaction center. The ideal candidate will turn our “Customer Concierge” telephone system into profitable solutions for our enterprise.
Who we’re looking for:
  • Self-starting individuals who have no purpose in life but attaining the high that comes from helping our company make money! And also, feeding their families.
  • People who thrive working eight hours a day in our patented “Cubicle Community” to deliver the kind of results we require.
  • Energetic self-starters who unblinkingly use terms like “energetic self-starter.”
  • People who are FUN!
Who we’re not looking for:
  • If you plan to use this job as a stopgap or as a steppingstone to a different career, don’t bother applying.
  • Those who desire to change the world or otherwise make their mark on society. We need people who are devoted first and foremost to Customer Concierge. The only solutions you should ever think about are our client solutions.
  • If you are the kind of person into occasionally missing work for family-related or other issues, we don’t need your drama here. We at DA believe families should be fed, not heard.
  • Anyone who feels a boss or supervisor should coddle you. Just by reading this, you should already be hitting the ground running. If you ever need help, you’re weak. We will check your references to make sure you’ve never asked a single question at any of your past jobs.
  • People without experience. It’s your fault for being born later than the rest of us. You deserve to be punished accordingly.
  • People who aren’t FUN!

About armansoegito

An HR Professional with more than 25 years experience at one of the largest Indonesian group of companies. Currently owns a executive recruitment & selection firm.
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