The Recruiting Nightmare #3 – Good Post, Bad Results, No Ideas

OK, so maybe a recruiter gets out a really good job posting.  They may have written it themselves, had someone else do it, had a team effort, whatever.  Either way it stands out from the bland, bullet-pointed nightmare of most job postings.

Then it doesn’t work.

See, here’s a terrible irony, a job posting that is well-written, clear, concise, perfect can still fail colossally – and you may not know why.

So you don’t get any hits?  Well no one is exactly providing you with feedback on the whole issue anyway, so you could assume your job posting is awful.  But it could be the site you used, right?  Or is it the time of year?  Or is it . . .

Yeah.  So your perfectly crafted job posting can turn out to yield nothing, and your feedback is pretty much nonexistent.  You don’t have any idea why it failed and you can’t really improve in most cases.  Try that frustration hat on for size.

Job postings fail for many reasons, even when they’re good.  But the position isn’t filled, so you have to keep trying and hoping you figure out just what’s wrong, end if it’s even under your control.

On fop of this you have very subtle differences that can influence if a job posting gets result.  I’ve noticed two factors myself:

  1. Subtle position title differences, especially among if a job requires some specialty or a level of seniority.  Differences that may mean nothing to a lot of people may affect search results.  These are easy to miss, and can sometimes be negatives – you may get better results if the title was shorter (looking for an “Integration Architecture Manager” may get less results than “an Architecture Manager.”)
  2. Language used to describe positions can vary by region and change over time.  This affects what people are looking for and how they do job searches online.  Or in short, be sure search strings bring up your posting that you think people use.

These are issues that are easy to miss (I know – I’ve missed them before).

So that great ad?  May not do anything.  Worse, you probably won’t know why.


  • When you search for jobs throw your nets wide – because there are so many ways you can miss things.
  • I always say “when in doubt, apply” because people want talent.
  • Give feedback on your job search results to people interviewing you, because they don’t get that much.   It also helps you connect with them.


  • As noted, give recruiters feedback on their job postings and everything else they do – they need it.
  • Help them brainstorm about why job posts aren’t getting answered.  It’ll help them out to get a different perspective.


  • If you’re good at demographics, text analysis, or something similar, it’d be great to see what mathematical models could be done on job posting success.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach for professional and potentially professional geeks, fans, and otaku. He can be reached at