4 Things Qualified Candidates Hate Seeing in Job Posts

You've probably made these mistakes before.


By Raquel Guarino

So your company is hiring, and you’re looking for the best of the best. Your time and budget are important, so you make sure to cram as many keywords and phrases into the description as possible. That will definitely attract the perfect candidate, right? Unfortunately there’s no secret recipe to attracting the best talent, but there are a few common mistakes you can avoid. Take a look.

Too Many Cliches

It’s a common gripe you’ll read on popular Facebook group Austin Digital Jobs: buzzy, catch-all phrases for the ideal candidate that send the wrong message to your audience. Phrases in this category include: rockstar, ninja, and unicorn. Jobseekers say these words are a turnoff because they likely mean the employer has unrealistic expectations for their employees.

  • Replace with: Specific skills or traits the ideal candidate would embody. Instead of writing “ninja,” you can write that the ideal candidate is a “motivated self-starter that enjoys finding creative solutions to niche challenges.”

Confusing Job Requirements

Many candidates will find your post through job search websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor. The advantage of these tools is that jobseekers can filter out results that don’t match their experience or goals. Inevitably, it gets frustrating when these same candidates search for “entry level” jobs only to see the position requires 3-5 years of experience. Candidates at either experience level may not feel they would be a good fit for the job.

  • Replace with: Consistent requirements that don’t conflict with other aspects of your job post. “Entry level” candidates will likely have 1-2 years experience, be recent college graduates or making a career change.


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Egregious Errors

Candidates with serious experience in their field can sniff out when something is off. If you’re looking for a software engineer with JavaScript expertise and then write “Java” elsewhere in the post, the candidate will lose confidence in your company’s recruiting process (those are two different languages).

In addition to describing the position accurately, it’s just as important to triple-check your post for grammatical errors. No one wants to apply to a company that appears incompetent or unprofessional.

  • Replace with: A description fact-checked by someone with a specialty in the job sought. If this needs to be outsourced, do it. Speak to experts who know the field better than you do to prevent a mismatch or poor fit (or excluding otherwise talented candidates).

Hints of High Stress

The right employees will want to work hard for you. However, even strong candidates can read between the lines of curiously worded job descriptions. For many jobseekers, reading language such as “work hard, play hard,” “hungry,” or “eat, sleep, and breathe XYZ” is a telltale sign they won’t have a proper work-life balance and will be pressured to work long hours.

  • Replace with: Honest and transparent expectations for the job. Employees don’t want to be the victim of a bait-and-switch. Instead of sugar coating the extent of the commitment, explain the work clearly so that neither party is left feeling disappointed.