10 Things Not to Include in Your Job Ad
ApplicantPro Author - Callie Hansen
Callie Hansen

10 Things Not to Include in Your Job Ad

Here at ApplicantPro, one of our primary goals is to help you find more qualified applicants for your positions. There are many factors that play into garnering more applicants, from the job description to the position itself. But the most important part is how you advertise your open positions to job seekers.

The job advertisement is the key to catching the eye of your perfect candidate. The question is, where do you start? How do you know what to include, and especially, what not to include? We are here to help with that. We outline below the top 10 things you should not include in your job ad and why:

1. Short End Date

If your ad runs on job boards for five days or less, it’s possible you are missing out on lots of applicants! People are looking for jobs all the time and job seekers aren’t waiting for the weekend paper to search through the help wanted section. Thanks to modern technology, job seekers are searching for jobs on their computers, cell phones, or tablets whenever is most convenient for them (or when they’ve hit the point in the work day where they really want to find a new job.) Most job boards run on a keyword search basis, which means it doesn’t matter when you post your job. It won’t get bogged down pages later in the system the longer it’s been out, because the applicants you want are going to see your job as long as you have all the necessary components put together in the job ad itself. The important part is whether you’re keeping your ad on the job boards long enough. Letting your ad run from 10 to 30 days is the perfect amount of time to let it run, because it gives the applicants you want time to sift through job boards and find your open position(s).

Write Better Job Ads Today!

Download our "Guide to Writing a Killer Job Ad" that will walk you step-by-step through the process of writing job ads that get dramatic results.

2. Preferred Requirements

One of the most common misconceptions and deterrers of job seekers is the “preferred” misnomer when it comes to education and experience requirements. Job seekers want to know exactly what the employer is looking for. “Master’s degree preferred” is mostly mis-leading and confusing to job seekers. What this tells job seekers is you really, really want this Master’s degree candidate, but will settle for less if those are the only applicants who come through. This deters job seekers to apply because they may qualify for everything listed in the job description, but only have a bachelor’s degree so they think the employer won’t hire them because they emphasized they want a Master’s degree. What job seekers really want to know is what degree and/or experience is actually required. This won’t deter candidates you are looking for and will turn away those you don’t want because they know they aren’t qualified. Don’t confuse potential applicants away from your position, and tell it to them straight.

3. Location in the Boonies

The whole point of advertising your jobs on job boards is to garner more applicants. If your job is located in a place that may not be well-known by many people, don’t advertise with that location. Use the nearest metro location. In any circumstance, using the nearest metro location will catch the attention of more candidates interested in your position, and increase your applicant pool. An important thing to note, is that most job boards require zip code locations when advertising a position. When you use the nearest metro location, make sure you know the zip code for that location. The true location of the position can always be listed on your career site, but location when advertising is an important factor in gathering more applicants.

4. Abbreviations in the Job Title

In a previous article, we discussed how abbreviations in the job title is killing your job ad success. This is super important because if you are abbreviating words such as full time or part time to FT/PT, you could be missing out on applicants. As we established earlier, most job boards are keyword-search based. Applicants will search for full words, not abbreviated ones, which means your job isn’t showing up for these applicants. Make sure that your job ad title is keyword sensitive so that it comes up in more search results for job seekers to find and apply.

5. Vague Job Title

Similar to using abbreviations in the job title, a vague job title isn’t going to get you very far. Use words in your job title that job seekers are using to search for in your position. If it’s a sales position, don’t call it a “Marketing Coordinator,” because it will lead applicants to assume you’re looking for a marketing position – which it’s not! Optimize your job title so that it’s keyword friendly for job board searches and pulls in more applicants.

6. Unnecessary Photos

Sure, they make your advertisement look pretty, but that’s all the job seekers are going to see. People tend to look at the pictures more than they’ll read the text (of anything) and if it’s not what it looks like on the surface, they’ll move on to the next best position. Keep images limited (if you use them at all) and make sure they apply to the position when you do use them.

Make your ad stand out from the rest and outline the perks of the position and why your company is great

7. Absent Compensation

During a job search, the job seeker’s eye is on the perks. They are especially looking for what compensation is being offered. One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is not listing the pay offered for the position. The upcoming workforce is graduating from college tens of thousands of dollars in debt. These graduates not only want to get a good job out of school, they want a job that will pay well so they can pay off those college loans. Knowing the pay offered ahead of time – even if it’s just a range based on qualifications and experience – gives the job seeker an idea of what they could be making if they get the position. It’s important to note that many job boards, especially state workforce agencies, require salary info in order for the job to be posted. Salary is key to every position, because frankly, money rules the world! Don’t forget to include it when you advertise your position on job boards.

8. Excessive Details

In the job advertisement, it is not necessary to list every single skill/duty/responsibility that the employee may ever accomplish ever. Is it a requirement to the position that will deter candidates from being considered from the job? If not, then cut it. A job seeker isn’t searching for specific skills and duties and responsibilities for a position on job boards, they’re searching for jobs they are qualified for. If an applicant is seriously considering the position, they can find all of this information on your career site. There they can make the decision to apply or not to apply based on what will be expected of them, in addition to the qualifications needed to get the job.

9. Super Long Description

All of the unnecessary information in your job description does not need to be in the ad description. The sole purpose of advertising your job on online job boards is to pull in as many applicants as possible. When advertising your jobs to job boards, it is not the place to list the full job description where you outline everything you are looking for in a candidate. Let’s face it, if you have a job description anywhere above 5,000 characters, a job seeker is not going to sit down and take time out of their day to read the whole thing (especially if more than half of it is about skills/duties/responsibilities.) In fact, most job boards limit their job description fields to 3,000 – 4,000 characters or less! If you have a 10,000 character description, there is no way a job seeker is going to read the whole thing, and it won’t get posted by the job boards anyway!

Nearly all job boards use a character count in their descriptions versus word counts. A “character” counts each individual letter in a chosen field and sometimes includes spaces.

ApplicantPro’s job posting service strongly recommends that job ad descriptions be in the 2,000 – 4,000 character range. This allows job boards to approve your listing and increases the likelihood that job seekers will take the time to read about the position and be much more likely to continue to your career site where they can read the full description and proceed to apply.

10. Things that will Bore the Job Seeker

The job seeker is looking for things that will benefit them. Don’t bore the applicant by listing things in the job description that does not appeal to them or make them not want to apply. The best way to attract applicants is to make your ad stand out from the rest. This could be anything from changing how the ad looks to actually altering the job description itself. Your biggest challenge is trying to convince the job seeker why they should work for you. This is where you can describe why your company is the best place to work. Outline the perks of the position and why your company is great. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask your employees what they love most about working with your company and what made them want to apply in the first place. You can compile these testimonials and include a few in the ad description and more especially on your career site!

Learn more about advertising your job positions to 500+ job boards.

Learn how to write a killer job ad

Want to learn how to write better job ads?

Download our "Guide to Writing a Killer Job Ad" now! This guide will walk you step-by-step through the process of writing job ads that get dramatic results.

First Name*
Last Name*
Share this article

Trying to compare Applicant Tracking Systems?

This buyer's checklist will help you weigh all of your options!

Get My Checklist

Curious what ApplicantPro is all about?

Find out how we can help you streamline and optimize your hiring process!

See a Demo

Related Articles

light bulb - power to solve your applicant shortages
How to Fix Your Applicant Shortage Problem in No Time

Take the reins! It took Thomas Edison 1000 unsuccessful tries to make the light bulb. You have the power to solve your applicant shortage problem.


welcoming applicants to company
Successfully Convert Followers into Qualified Applicants

Facebook is a powerful sourcing tool when used correctly. If you want to use Facebook groups to recruit... it is not a post and pray structure.


job board funnel
Power Source Flywheels Are More Efficient than Job Board Funnels

A job board works like a funnel. It doesn't build on itself. Change your sourcing methods by using a flywheel, a self-reinforcing cycle.


Want a tour?

Schedule a Demo

Let's get started!

FREE Trial