Antipattern: Bore People to Death With Your Job Ads


A common piece of advice to job seekers is: Don’t focus your resume and cover letter on what you want; focus on how you offer what the hiring company wants. This advice also applies in reverse to a hiring company writing a job ad, but in practice, it’s almost never followed, which is why this ad for a position at the Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) jumped out at me:

Businessman sleeping on toilet

We are THE model for public school foundations and THE difference between a first class and a world class education for our kids.

You will lead us to our full capacity by building a resource development juggernaut within our organization! Join our team and be on the ground floor of the next wave of philanthropy for public schools. Three years from now, we will look back and you will be a key hero who led us to new heights. At IPSF, you will have a blast coming to work every day and you will be respected and valued for your contribution to our community. We are looking for the top person and have allocated the resources necessary to recruit him or her.

Woo-hoo! Sign me up!

Contrast that with the following ad run by a local company for a management position. Don’t feel bad if you can’t get all the way through it. I started snoring after the first sentence. Actually, you can jump into the ad at any point and feel the same soul-crushing impact.


  1. Determines most efficient use of personnel, financial resources, physical property and equipment to minimize costs while supporting company-wide objectives.
  2. Develops and implements budgets to maintain tight controls on cost. Determines where business unit can be more efficient. Designs and implements plans to take advantage of these efficiencies.
  3. Responsible for the efficient management of administrative services, including functions such as typing, filing, purchasing, printing, mail and messenger services, telecommunications, and facilities maintenance.


Position requires supervisory responsibility. Responsible for the following:

  • Performs interviewing and hiring of new staff members.
  • Conducts performance evaluations and counseling of staff members.
  • Assists staff members in carrying out their responsibilities.
  • Resolves conflicts between staff members.


Man snoring
  1. Track and maintain copies of software licenses, warranties, maintenance agreements, and vendor contracts.
  2. Develop, establish, implement, and enforce supplier and outsourcer guidelines, obligations, and service level agreements to the organization.
  3. Compare licenses, warranties, maintenance agreements, and vendor contracts against audits to ensure company’s legal compliance and asset upkeep, upgrades, repair, and replacement.
  4. Identify opportunities for volume purchasing to obtain price breaks.
  5. Assist with defining purchasing recommendations that support business goals, in collaboration with senior management and stakeholders.
  6. Monitor and analyze trends in company spending and inventory control in order to make recommendations for the future, and to identify areas for possible savings and/or asset optimization.
  7. Effectively communicate asset management strategies to team members and stakeholders in a timely and clear fashion.
  8. Standardize equipment, where practical, to lower total costs.


  • Ability to multi-task numerous projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to prioritize, organize, and coordinate projects.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent customer service skills.
  • Ability to adapt quickly to change.
  • Ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job the employee is regularly required to talk or hear. The employee is frequently required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel. The vision requirements include close vision, distance vision and ability to adjust focus.

  • Nature of work environment: Traditional indoor office environment.
  • Number of hours per week: 40-50 with occasional work on weekends and holidays required.

Key takeaway: The second ad contains a list of common, everyday, garden variety management tasks and skills, most or all of which, if you think about it, probably pertain to the IPSF job as well. The difference is: IPSF doesn’t give you a chance to think about it! You’re going to be a superhero!

Which is more appealing? This:

Work with us and become a legend in your own time! Be valued and respected in the community! Oh! Did we mention that we’ve already allocated the resources appropriate to a top candidate like yourself?

Or this:

Work with us and get ready to multi-task, prioritize, organize and coordinate! Develop, establish, implement, and enforce! Work weekends and holidays! Buy in bulk to save money! We’ve allocated the resources to land someone with hands who can (with reasonable accomodation) talk and hear, see things close-up, see things far away, and look back and forth between the two. Oh! By the way, this legalese mumbo-jumbo should tip you off that anything you try to do around this place will be stymied by a series of legal and other compliance hurdles.

  2 comments for “Antipattern: Bore People to Death With Your Job Ads

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *