Employers: Your Job Postings Suck, Part I

Editor’s Note: The blogosphere and Twitter are abuzz about recruiters that will throw your resume in the discard pile for even one typo… yet seem incapable of writing a high-quality, compelling job posting. This contradiction, in the eyes of many candidates, makes their job search much more difficult than necessary, and ensures a less than pleasant candidate experience.

Over the next two days, YouTern wades into this issue with posts by Chanelle Schneider (founder of #GenYChat) and another by YouTern’s CMO, Joe Gagliano. First, we’ll detail the problem… and then propose solutions for candidates to make it much easier to work around poor online postings – and recruiters with a “do what I say, not what I do” attitude…

A recruiter, stating the obvious to a job seeker:

“Spell/Grammar check every email u send to a prospective employer. We are judging everything you do before we #hire you.”

The current unemployment rate for Millennials is 14% – quite high compared to the 9.2 percent national rate. Among such steep competition, job seekers pore over their resume, editing and revising until its grammar is perfect – all in hopes of providing the best possible first impression to potential employers.

When hiring companies fail to apply the same level of effort when publishing their job descriptions, posting information loaded with grammar and other errors, is there an opportunity for the job seeker or should the offending company’s job post be skipped?

With that in mind, please examine the following job description:

Position: Social Media Strategist
Status: Full Time
Estimated Duration: Possible Full Time (Which is it… “Full Time” or “Possible Full Time”?)

Job Description:

Our client, a marketing services company, is seeking an experienced Social Media Strategist. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 3+ years experience in digital media. (No problem here.)

In this roll you will be responsible strategizing and executing social and emerging media strategies as well as consulting clients on how to engage / leverage social media. (Wait…what?!  In this “roll”?? And, you left out “for”.) Experience with tools such as Sysomos, Radian6, Traackr etc (Minor issues here).

Crisis Management, and Investor Relations experience a plus. (More minor issues)

Excellent listening, oral and written skills. (Really?? This ad doesn’t suggest your client cares about writing skills.)

The number one piece of advice offered by recruiters is to solve a problem. Research the company. Fill a void. Yet, with an ad like this, the job-seeker has no idea what company to research.

Further, there is no way to identify the company culture. Is this company too busy to do quality control? If so, do you want to work for a company in an industry where public blunders can lead to PR crises?

Bottom line: The “do as I say, not as I do” mentality evident in this job description is not indicative of a supportive culture where one might find willing mentors – or great listeners in their co-workers.

Recruiters: Would you suggest a job-seeker apply for this position? If so, what would you recommend they say to stand out from the competition?

Job-seekers: How do you feel when you put energy into creating a pristine digital footprint – knowing your resume will go into the reject pile for just one typo – only to see the people on the other side of the table skating by? Most important, would you apply to this posting? Why or why not?

 Be sure to take a look at Part II of this series!

About the Author: Chanelle Schneider is the Founder and Moderator of #GenYChat where the traditional online focus group is modernized, discussing a range of topics among Generation Y, Generation X and Baby Boomers on Twitter. She is often traveling to and from marketing or blogger conferences and is never without her ‘Droid. Chanelle has served as Social Media Strategist on the Honda Civic Study Break event and the Teach Newark campaign while guest blogging and designing WordPress sites and marketing collateral for clients. Find her on Twitter @WriterChanelle and @GenYChat, on LinkedIn, and inquire about her services.

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  • http://greatintern.com Eric Woodard

    Chanelle! Thanks for the post. You’re right – a lot of job postings suck. You’re also right that – one typo on a resume can be a death knell. It’s totally unfair!

    But let my humbly ask: who is making the assumption that things in the work world are fair? I think the sooner internship/job seekers understand that the work world isn’t fair, the more effective they will be in their job search. 

    There’s no whining in job hunting.

    • http://www.officialtherefromhere.com/blog/2010/10/26/find-internships-adults/ Chanelle

      Hi Eric,
      Thank you! I appreciate your opinion here. May I contend that the unfairness of the work world is responsible for the bitterness and anger many feel with their places of employment? I believe that tolerating a company culture that would request one thing of their potential employees while they are doing another precludes trust, which is essential to creating an environment of motivated people.

      • http://greatintern.com Eric Woodard

        Hi Chanelle,
        Thank you! You’re right – in a perfect world employees would be highly motivated, and employers would walk the walk they talk. But we don’t live in a perfect world.

        Given that reality, the trick then is to know how to thrive at work despite unfairness. Once students/young professionals approach the dilemma from that angle – now they’re getting somewhere.

        Pointing out how things ought to be is fine, and it’s good to move the world in that direction when we can. But I would argue that it’s better to meet people (aka employers) where they are, not where we’d like them to be. Engage them where they are and try to fix the work world from within.

        The alternative is separate oneself from the world, and that’s no fun.

        • http://www.officialtherefromhere.com/blog/2010/10/26/find-internships-adults/ Chanelle

          That’s understandable, Eric. What suggestions do you have for modifying the company culture once you’re in it?

          • http://greatintern.com Eric Woodard

            When you become the boss, run things differently. :)

          • http://www.officialtherefromhere.com/blog/2010/10/26/find-internships-adults/ Chanelle

            Ah. That must be the reason for the high percentages of Boomers and GenY’ers who start their own businesses.

  • oneblankspace

    You may qualify based on experience or based on a degree.  You must have 3 years of experience or a master’s level degree.

    In addition, you must have one year of experience past that.

    That’s what many of the ads I look at for federal government positions say.

    • http://www.officialtherefromhere.com/blog/2010/10/26/find-internships-adults/ Chanelle

      Do those requirements prevent you from applying?

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