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Why your job ad is attracting the wrong people

If your job postings don’t seem to be attracting the right candidates to open positions, this blog is for you.

Simply copying and pasting a job ad for a similar position at another company is a bad idea. Customize your job posting to reflect your organization’s goals and culture.

The right job ad will attract the perfect candidate—and a poorly-worded job ad will push them away.

Here are the top mistakes hiring managers make when creating job postings:

The job ad uses the wrong language.

Finding the right fit for a job is about more than hiring for skill set. You must also consider the behaviors required for success in a role.

Imagine you’re hiring an executive assistant. You may look for someone collaborative, organized, and detail-oriented.

Your job ad should reflect those qualities—and avoid any conflicting qualities. In the case of an executive assistant, you wouldn’t want your job ad to also say “independent, flexible, and fast-paced.” These behaviors are the opposite of what the role requires.

Are you attracting or repelling your dream candidate?

Find out with PI's AI-powered Job ad analyzer.

The job ad doesn’t represent your company culture.

While role responsibilities may be the same from company to company, culture may vary. If your job ad doesn’t speak to your organizational culture—or if the language used doesn’t reflect your culture—you’ll attract candidates who are a poor fit.

For example, if you run a small business that’s tight-knit and team-oriented (which indicates lower dominance), you wouldn’t want to use words like “competitive,” “driven,” or “ambitious” (which indicates higher dominance).

Why your job ad is attracting the wrong people

The job description and responsibilities are too long.

A laundry list of responsibilities can be off-putting to candidates. Focus on the top five to seven responsibilities a candidate will take ownership of. Ask yourself: What are the absolute essentials? Which responsibilities are most representative of what this person would be doing regularly?

Paring down your job descriptions can also encourage inclusivity. A Hewlett Packard internal report showed women may not apply for a position unless they’re 100% confident they can meet all the job requirements.

The job ad isn’t customized to the needs of your organization.

The needs of a role may differ from organization to organization. For example, a lawyer for a fast-paced startup will need different behaviors than a lawyer in a highly regulated industry. A startup might require a lawyer who’s more risk-tolerant and can move quickly, while the regulated industry would require a lawyer who’s risk-averse, methodical, and detail-oriented.

When crafting your job posting, consider the traits necessary to succeed in your organization—not just the role.

100 words and phrases to use in your job ads

Learn how certain words can attract the right candidates.


Shannon is a product manager at PI. She has a mirror-image twin sister—but they didn't discover this until they were 26.

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