Turn offs in job ads

I’ve been reading a lot of job ads lately: some of the have been delightful; some of them have made me want to pull my hair out.  A few of them have sent up red flags of “You don’t want to work for this company.”

Here are a few of those things:

  • Key criteria involves caring about when I eat / use the washroom / make tea. If a job requires set hours (e.g. you are a receptionist that needs to be at the reception desk, you’re answering calls in a call centre, or you’re the on-call person for when the servers blow up), it makes sense to give people a heads up (and to care about these things). Since I’m not looking for that kind of work, this just gives me the sense that this employer is likely rigid, and potentially micro-managey.  Sometimes people need to go look at things that aren’t their computer screen; sometimes a brief walk can help think through a roadblock. If I’m worried that my performance will be evaluated based on how much time I spend typing, I’m not going to apply.
  • Using tons of organizational jargon.  If this job is open to external applicants, I’m not sure why you assume we’re already familiar with the myriad of intranets, products, and technologies you utilise, especially if they’re specific to your organisation. Similarly, acronym abuse. I’m not a big fan of acronyms: I find them confusing, cumbersome, and unintuitive, especially when the thing isn’t defined at its first mention. I recognize that they have a place, and I use them from time to time, but the abuse of acronyms drives me bananas.
  •  – Reporting to the Manager, Planning & Support, the candidate will liaise with OCIO, ETS and Line of Business TS teams to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the Technology Senior Executive Team (TSET)
    – Supporting the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Technology Solutions Executive Team (TSET), the candidate will work with the OCIO, Enterprise Technology Solutions (ETS) and Line of Business Technology Solutions (TS) teams to accurately report operational metrics and trends across the Bank on a regular basis.

    Does TSET stand for “Technology Senior Executive Team” or “Technology Solutions Executive Team”? Do I need to care either way? Also: why can’t they just write it all out? This whole posting would be so much less confusing if people just wrote it out such that a person who doesn’t already work for (in this case) TD Canada Trust can understand without needing to draw a flowchart.

  • Being stealthy about remuneration. I understand that negotiation is a key component in the salary discussion, but giving me a vague range can help me to know if I want to apply for a position. Some really interesting companies are looking for interns, and I’m happy to keep my options open. I’m not happy to work for free, though. It would avoid wasting everyone’s time if this was stated up front.

This is far from an exhaustive list, but it’s the three things that have been consistently ruffling my feathers over the last week or two. I do plan to write a similar list of things I love to see in job postings over the next few days.

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