bad ad

Ideally a job advert will be able to inform candidates as to whether it’s worth applying for a job or not. Sounds simple enough, however there are some ads that would make almost anyone want to avoid an employer forever. Whether they’re obnoxious, condescending or just plain outrageous, here are the worst adverts of all time – can you imagine anyone in their right mind applying?

A job for one man

It’s good for job adverts to be specific about what they’re looking for, but when Santa Clara University in California were looking for a writing lecturer last year, the advert seemed just a little too exact:

The successful applicant will have at least 25 books on topics ranging from the history of Silicon Valley to the biography of microprocessing to interviews with entrepreneurs…to home life in the UK, and water conservation; will have worked as both a journalist for a print newspaper and for magazines; will have hosted television and radio productions for PBS, cable television, and ABC; will have worked in electronic media such as being editor of Forbes ASAP or a weekly columnist for…will have professional connections to Oxford University in the UK…

Could anyone fit this bizarrely specific CV? As it turned out, one man did – the man who already held the position, Michael S. Malone. The university was required to advertise the role but didn’t want to lose Mr. Malone. That’s how this ad, which ruled out practically everyone except him, came to be written.

Four jobs in one

It’s often a challenge to hire for IT roles, especially as employers don’t always understand what they’re searching for. But controversial video games company Penny Arcade should have done better when they advertised for a techie who, if they existed, would be worth much more than they were offered.

This ad promised long hours (‘You are expected to be on call 24/7’), low pay (‘you should know up front we’re not a terribly money-motivated group’) and, even better, the workload of four completely different, yet highly specialised, positions. It’s worth reading this analysis of the ad to see how borderline abusive the position described was.

Unfortunately this vacancy probably received a lot of applications due to the cult popularity of Penny Arcade in the world of gaming – no word on whether the chosen candidate survived the ‘offensive environment’ or ‘really bad sense of work-life balance.’

A very personal assistant

Some people write a dating profile when they’re lonely and want to find that special someone. Others, like Eros de Grey, place a job advert instead. He was looking for not just a literary assistant, but a fantasy partner, who would live with him in his Sicilian villa and measure up to his supposed level of intellect.

It’s hard to know where to start with this advert, so we’ll just quote a few sections:

As well as my literary assistant, you will need to triple as a sedulous personal assistant and glamorous hostess managing the social events calendar for a busy Sicilian villa… as happy feeling her way through a page of the Song of Solomon, as mooching with me through a Sicilian rose garden, testing my knowledge of ancient and voluptuous vocabulary, as slipping in to a cocktail dress for a revival Grecian dinner party or as tugging on a pair of hiking boots for a day’s march through the tombs of Etruria.

We’re not sure whether this lonely hearts ad is serious or not, but it’s fairly cringe-worthy either way.

Too much honesty

Finally, it looks like somebody at a recruitment company was a little too honest when putting the word out about a sales job with a less-than-scrupulous client.

My client are a massive bunch of indecisive ****s who like to think of themselves as being better than they actually are. They are looking for likeminded ****s to join them,‘ it said – and that was just the first line.

You will be arrogant and have a high level of self-importance,‘ the ad went on, and advised that the candidate will be ‘responsible for selling to customers things they don’t need, at grossly inflated prices.‘ According to the counter alongside the ad, at least eight people actually applied for this position.

In an odd way, all of these job descriptions succeed in their purpose, in that they tell the would-be candidate that these jobs are in no way worth having or applying for. Luckily there are plenty of amazing roles out there – why not search our site to find the right one for you?!

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