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October 8, 2021

What Bugs You About Recruitment Adverts?

Abi Radford


Deciding to look for a new job can be difficult, especially if you enjoy your role and like the people you work with. Being comfortable where you are has its perks. But, for many of us, striving for that next step on the career ladder often means we must look elsewhere.

And that means dealing with recruitment adverts.

We’re living in unprecedented times, and people are still figuring out what they want from their jobs. The movement of people between businesses and industries has increased. This phenomenon has even been given a name – The Great Resignation. This means that there are a lot more recruitment adverts out there, and they’re not all good.

Show Me the Money in Your Adverts

When we asked our followers on social media what bugs them about recruitment adverts, the most frequent response was about salary. This study found that only 12 percent of global companies published the salary details in their job ads last year, even though 67 percent of people say that salary is the top factor they look for in job ads.

On LinkedIn, follower Sam Rennie stated that “not showing pay range" is the worst thing about recruitment ads. Senior Editor, Lucy Bishop, added that "even if you didn't want to specify an exact salary, why not put a salary range?".

We’ve all seen adverts where a "competitive salary" is offered, but honestly – what does that even mean? And don’t get me started on mentions of "salary based upon experience."

Lucy also makes the point that companies should be showcasing their USPs to compete for talent by “making the most of what [they] can offer candidates over other companies, like health insurance, work culture, health and wellbeing, volunteering days.” With the increase in job adverts out there, it will take more than just a footnote on salary to catch the eye of the best candidates.

You Want to Recruit a What?!

Another thing that frustrates people with recruitment adverts is the industry jargon that is often used. In our Mind Tools Career Community Facebook Group, friend Eddie Gear said that "job titles are often not relevant to the industry but are to the company." This creates a lot of challenges for job applicants who may overlook roles that are suitable for them, because they don’t understand the job title.

Product Manager Sean Brown argued that “being location specific for a role that does not require you to be location specific" is one of the worst things about recruitment adverts. With a lot of companies adopting a hybrid approach to work, it’s safe to assume that employers unwilling to be flexible will miss out on the best talent.

Recruitment Adverts Jargon

For one of our own Mind Tools Club coaches, Sarah Harvey, the language used in recruitment adverts is the problem. She said, "It bugs me when adverts say to apply 'if you are flexible …' what does that mean? Do you want me to be able to touch my toes? Hold difficult yoga poses? Or do you mean you want me to work flexible hours or be flexible in where I work? Please say what you mean!"

Sarah went on to say that another irritation is when the ad says they are looking for a "dynamic" individual. She questioned, "What evidence are you looking for so I can show you I am DYNAMIC?"

So, to the writers of recruitment adverts out there … please be clear and specific: we aren’t mind readers!

Get it off your chest – let us know what bugs you about recruitment adverts!

Are you looking for a new job? What really annoys you about recruitment adverts? What do you think they should include or exclude? Let us know in the comments section below.

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2 comments on “What Bugs You About Recruitment Adverts?”

  1. What I find most frustrating is that people assume you are not qualified for something even though you have transferable skills. After many years working in one industry it is virtually impossible to change because you don't even get a chance at an interview. If I didn't think I could do the job I wouldn't apply. Also reading today's comments about removing words like energetic from job ads because they won't appeal to us oldies I'm only 55, I've got a good 15 to 20 working years ahead of me and yes I have loads of energy!

    1. Thanks for your comments Sarah. I agree, it can be very frustrating when employers have a very narrow idea of what skills and experience their ideal candidate has and where they would have learnt them.

      MindTools Team

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