Question of the day: What is the worst thing you have seen included in a job description?

In follow up to today's RBC Daily:

You have to be mindful of the information you add in a job description. Clients and hiring managers might be clear with recruiters on exactly what they are looking for in a 'good' fit, but that does not mean such information should be part of your marketing efforts. One Connecticut based healthcare staffing firm learned this the hard way yesterday as Onward Healthcare agreed to pay $100,000 in civil penalties in a settlement reached with the U.S. Justice Department. They were accused of placing job ads that limited response to U.S. Citizens only. This is clearly a wrong practice as the Immigration and Nationality Act prevents organizations from discriminating on the basis of citizenship. A good reminder to keep your information focused on the actual opportunity and skills required for the role with less emphasis on the window dressing.

Question of the day: What is the worst thing you have seen included in a job description?

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Just a small comment on the Onward Health situation. If they were in Arizona, the state probably would have paid them for being such fine corporate citizens.

In 1997, back when I was getting my degree in Computer Science, I remember seeing a job listing that stood out on my summer job search.

The programming job required 5 years of Java programming experience.

The problem was that the Java programming language had only been invented the previous year.

Duties include: strategic planning, financial management and reception.


No need to make it political Charlie.
Charlie Allenson said:

Just a small comment on the Onward Health situation. If they were in Arizona, the state probably would have paid them for being such fine corporate citizens.

Job description or actual job ad? If job ad then someone asking for a "good telephone manor" is my favourite error.

PS watch out for some of these, extracts from my list of job ad definitions, what they say and what they actually mean:

 "you're a strategist – you spend your time chin stroking & 'thinking' whilst others do the work

 "We're a friendly team" - until you cross us or screw up, that is


"you'll need to be fiercely competitive" – we have 400 staff, but only 15 parking spaces


"it's a vital role" – Let's face it, that photocopying and filing isn't going to do itself!


"you manage your time well" – you surf the web all day, minimising the browser when necessary


"you're an innovative, dynamic & highly motivated team player" - you're just one big fat cliché


"this is a brand new role" – (as you can see from the very flaky job description)


 "you're sensitive to the needs of others" – bring cakes in on your birthday, or else!


"We’re an innovative company" - We've been using soft toilet paper in our toilets since 1973


“An ideal environment in which to grow” ….tomatoes, the air conditioning is screwed and it’s hotter than the sun’s core

"We're a geographically dispersed team" – not a team at all in fact. More people you will occasionally bump into at the Christmas party and conferences once in a while.


"You'll bring leadership and direction" – it’s total chaos here at the moment


My favorite so far - "we are searching for highly intelligent individuals" - oh please.


Lee said:

Duties include: strategic planning, financial management and reception.


Must have strong focus on detial.

The Company was looking for a front office "person" and were very clear about being very gender neutral in the job duties. While it wasn't part of the job description, the Company policy of "wearing pantyhose or stockings are required" kind of stood out and derailed all of their other very neutral wording. Shame on me for perusing Craigslist (on a whim) for a potential lead, I really should know better!

This is an actual job description for a chiropractic office that I used for my last training seminar  (to a group of chiropractors).  The caps and punctuations are exactly how it read on Craigs.  I love the irony.  


We are in the process of building a team of on-purpose staff who ENJOY talking with our patients, doing phone work and getting a lot done. 

If you are a HAPPY & FRIENDLY people-type of person who has a great work ethic, then please read on..

HOURS NEEDED-- Approximately 10-25 hours per week (If you can't work the hours below, please do not call us):

POSITION QUALIFICATIONS AND INFO (Please Read and Agree to ALL Info Below BEFORE Calling Us to Schedule an Interview ):

1. An assertive and FAST thinker who is willing to be RESPONSIBLE.

2. PLEASANT & courteous voice and mannerisms on telephone and with public.

3. Able to perform MORE than one function at a time with ease.

4. Willing to be a TEAM PLAYER and to have FUN at work.

5. Easily trainable and willing to learn and LEAD; picks up on concepts with SPEED.

6. Is great with NUMBERS.

8. Stellar work ETHIC, on TIME (rarely, if ever, late)

10. We do NOT offer health care coverage.


Most job ads resemble a list of demands versus being a communication piece to attract the target top talent that would be able to succeed in the role. 

To me the worst are ads that are littered with typos, misspellings, poor grammar, incoherent and inconsistent content and sloppy formatting. That gives me the impression that only illiterate people work there and their standards are sub par. 

The other pet peeve is ads that reflect a set of information that people base their decision to apply or not, only to find out during initial screening that the employer is actually seeking something quite different. Whether it be higher/lower level person, different key skill set or something that is essential or a deal-breaker not being prominently stated - this is far too common.

It is a waste of time for all involved when ads fail to accurately explain the specifics that must be met and why those matter. Tell a story that attracts career-focused people and create a performance or success profile so people can understand those "fit" issues when placing the ad. 

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