A job advertisement is the perfect opportunity for a company to sell itself and encourage a broad variety of people to battle it out for the chance to become part of their exciting and innovative team. One would hope that employers actually do some research before uploading job advertisements on online job boards, after all it’s not that difficult to get an idea of what a job advert should look like, however that’s not always the case. Sometimes companies drop the ball and while it is one thing for a company to post a job advertisement which is poorly written and vague, it is an entirely different matter to post something which will send future job prospects running in the opposite direction.
The list below features the worst ten job advertisements you’ve ever laid your eyes on. You might even think that most of them are publicity stunts, but no, unfortunately there are companies out there that are just that clueless.
1. Manipulating Wives for the Sake of War
Let’s kick off the list with a job advertisement created back in 1915. This World War I poster boldly stated: “Women of Britain... some of your men folk are holding back on your account... prove your love of your country by persuading them to go”.
There is nothing like emotionally bullying women into sending their loved ones off to war! Hopefully, our society has progressed enough that such a sexist and manipulative piece of propaganda would never appear again if another world war kicked off.
2. Arrogant and Self-Important Twats Desired
Though it might seem hard to believe, this advertisement is actually real. If this does not convince you to apply, I do not know what will!
“My client [sic] are a massive bunch of indecisive twats who like to think of themselves as being better than they actually are. They are now looking for likeminded twats to join them. You will be arrogant and have a high level of self-importance, along with a real desire to rip customers off to make lots of money.
“Salary on offer is £18-22,000, although at interview my client will tell you that they you can achieve manager status in 2-3 years with a salary of £35k plus, however this is rubbish at the same idiots have been managing the same branches for many years.”
At least you cannot fault their honesty - how many employers have promised you an opportunity for growth accompanied by a salary which sounds too good to be true, only to find yourself stuck in the same cubicle spinning your wheels for the same salary year after year? However, it’s not the advert itself that’s most surprising, it’s the fact that this advert received at least eight applications for the role. There must be some desperate twats in the world!
3. Wanted: Interns With no Life
In 2012, the US publisher Dalkey Archive Press made international headlines after posting an advert which encompassed a number of different roles available in its London office. Projecting an image of the work environment from hell, DAP specified that its prospective candidates should not have “...any other commitments (personal or professional) including but not limited to family obligations, writing, involvement with other organisations, degrees to be finished, holidays to be taken, weddings to attend in Rio, etc.”
After clarifying that potential candidates should have no life whatsoever, the listing went on to add: “Any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping, misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company polices.”
Heaven forbid that a family emergency arises and you have to - gasp! - answer a personal phone call or leave work ten minutes early. What a way to strike fear into the hearts of future employees, knowing that they must be available around the clock and that they could get fired at any moment for taking too long to respond to an email.
The company’s MD claimed that the ad was satirical and simply stated what most employers were too afraid to admit they wanted. The best part of this advertisement is that it was for unpaid intern positions! They are going to need a whole lot of luck to fill those positions as there aren’t that many people who are desperate to work and be treated like slaves while no paycheck is in the horizon.
4. Politics Students Need Not Apply
When a new burger bar in Auckland, New Zealand was disappointed by its response to a more traditional job vacancy listing, it instead placed this advertisement in its front window. It did not take long for the ad to go viral on social media, and for Murder Burger to receive 665 applications. The ad called for “a bunch of people to hang out with, make burgers and talk shit. No previous experience is needed as we teach you everything you need to know and we kind of factor in you buggering something up along the way.” It also specifically called for arts, architecture and humanities students, as well as student nurses and student teachers, based on the boss’s romantic preference towards those groups. Simultaneously, it discouraged politics students from applying - nothing personal, of course.
5. Apply to Make it Rain on Them Hoes
Those in creative fields are notorious for designing witty and engaging advertisements, however, it is easy to take too many liberties when doing so. This ad for a software developer, posted by the Helsinki-based tech company Sportacam in 2014, crossed the line into becoming downright offensive.
As part of what the company can offer its employees, the ad listed “meeting and parting with international sports superstars, drinking beer instead of Jolt-coke, making it rain on them hoes and salary and/or equity”. No, that third perk is not a typo.
The most memorable criterium which the company expected from potential candidates was to “be totally gay for code”.
While I am sure the company would have received a number of interesting applications, they likely also lost out on a great deal of interest from those who were too offended to apply.
6. Fatties Required
Depending on which way you look at it, the following advertisement could sound terrible or like heaven on earth! The owner of a cake and dessert business in Edinburgh posted the following vacancy on Gumtree, with the header “Do you like cakes? Do you love eating and want to get fatter?”
The body of the advertisement states: “If you love cakes and desserts and want to get paid to eat as much cake and dessert as physically possible then this is for you! This job is ideal for someone with a very big appetite who would love to gorge themselves on cakes. For the ideal candidate this would be a very fattening position!”
Given the increasingly food-obsessed nature of our society, I cannot imagine this being the only job advertisement of its kind. In the meantime, if anyone needs me, I’ll be in Edinburgh.
7. Work for a Fat Bloke With a Drinking Problem
In 2013, a London-based PR firm called “Just In Time” placed an advertisement for an account manager position, which specifically requested that the candidate be on antidepressants (because "people who need drugs to keep them going are generally the most interesting"), someone who does not care about global warming and someone who has spent at least one night in a prison cell. What was unique about this position was the person you would be reporting to: “a fat bloke with a drink problem and a moral compass that only ever points South”.
I do not think the selected candidate would ever find themselves short of interesting conversational material with their boss.
8. A Promising Expedition
This is another old, yet strangely enticing advertisement from 1914. In this advert, Ernest Shackleton asks for assistance on his expedition to the Antarctic. He warned that the journey would be hazardous for minimal payout, and that a safe return home was "doubtful". Although it sounds tempting, I think I’ll still be in Edinburgh.
9. The Worst Job in PR
As a cheap airline which is frequently in the press for both good and bad reasons, it should not have come as a surprise that, when Ryanair advertised a Head of Communications vacancy back in 2012, they referred to it the “worst job in Irish PR”. The ad called for a “brave soul” to "take over the high profile and incredibly overpaid position as Ryanair’s Head of Communications”.
At least prospective employees would have been well aware of what they were signing up for. We just hope they got some free plane tickets to go with the position.
10. Undead Required
Either this restaurant cannot do basic math, or they are expecting the walking dead to work for them. I would be curious to see who arrived on their doorstep! However I’m not sure I’d be all that willing to go in as a customer and be served by a zombie.
If you are an employer or job recruiter, take this list as an example of what not to do. By all means, take some creativity liberties in producing a job advertisement, but do not take it too far.
What’s the worst job advert you’ve ever seen? Would you be tempted to apply for any of the positions above? Let us know in the comments box below.