Future of HR

Learning How To Write Better Job Postings From Lousy Candidates

How many job applications have you deleted today?



When I was actively recruiting for other employers, I was deleting about 50 job applications per day. That’s about 1,000 of them over a month.

If you are constantly reposting a job listing due to irrelevant response, you might like to do some reflection before hitting the publish button again.

And in fact we are shown how not to do it almost every single minute – from your job applicants.

1. Don’t be too generic

Overuse Business Jargon
Overuse Business Jargon Cloud Tag

Do you bother reading the generic cover letter? Or are you the kind that give nods of approval at every overused generic wordings such as:

  • Outstanding
  • Effective
  • Strong
  • Exceptional
  • Good
  • Excellent
  • Driven
  • Motivated
  • Seasoned
  • Energetic

I guess not.

Likewise job candidates will be equally switched off with comparable wordings that recruiters tend to puff their job postings with.

If your job postings carry any of these jargon, you may want to think about replace them with more meaningful expressions or just take them out altogether.

  • Hit the ground running
  • Visionary
  • Think outside the box
  • Innovate
  • Influencers
  • Pivot
  • Paradigm shift
  • Engagement
  • Value add
  • Game changer

2. Stay true to your brand

Boring Resume
Boring Resume

For the longest time resume always look the same. You could randomly select 10 and placed them beside each other. Chances are you will have a hard time telling them apart.

Is your job postings looking like every other competing postings?

Even if there are restrictions placed upon by the job portals, you can try to use different font sizes and/or font colors to make it a bit more appealing and differently so you can capture the attention of the job seekers.

3. Use a human tone of voice

Most unappealing resumes tend to be written in a very neutral, third person perspective.

e.g. Peter has more than 12 years of working experience in Accounting.

Can you imagine Peter talking to you like that?

With the advent of personal branding, everyone of us is our brand ambassador and the key to that is to inject personality.

Similarly organizations who are looking to hire, and potentially making the first impression to job seekers, have to do better in their elevator pitch.

Here is a nice and nifty one that injected personality into the role and the company:

job ad on jobsdb
A job ad with personality

You may only have mere seconds to make this great first impression. Candidates skim dozens, if not hundreds, of job ads per day.

Stop sounding like a robot and start humanizing your tone and words instead.

4. Be realistic with job requirements.

Finding Superman to do the job
Finding Superman to do the job

Remember the candidate that wanted 30% pay increment without any justification? Are you having the same unrealistic expectations on who you want to hire?

It is really easy to get carried away when you are trying your best to find the perfect fit for your client. While it make sense that you want to hire someone who ticks all the boxes, writing down the impossible laundry list of requirements is only going to turn your good job candidates away.

And these job candidates might actually be the superman you are looking for. But they might see themselves more of a Clark Kent.

You need to get them to connect before you can become their Professor X and discover what their super powers are.

5. Social Media Presence

Lousy Facebook Page
Lousy Facebook Page

It’s pretty normal for recruiters to run through social media to find out more about the job applicant we are interested in. And we usually go meh if they don’t have an online presence to read up on.

Likewise candidates will want to know more about the hiring company or agency to learn more about what they do and how they do.

Make sure your website and social media content are consistent and has a common message you are trying to bring across to your audience, which are your job seekers.


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