Article: What does an inverted job ad say?

Life @ Work

What does an inverted job ad say?

A hiring notice reveals something about the work and place even when it is silent on both.
What does an inverted job ad say?

Imagine, two companies require accountants. One opts for a crisp situations-vacant nugget whereas the other makes a content-rich, creative splash. Each serves the purpose, and is telling. One can question if the outcome of a manager/(copy)writer’s effort always represents an organisation and to what extent the talk is walked. Yet, it still reveals something as the following cases indicate.


It is easy to miss a small-chocolate-sized announcement amidst others publicising assorted goods and services in a daily, right? Perhaps not if it is upturned. About a month ago, a private company’s job ad appeared upside down in a Delhi newspaper with a note that this had been done on request. It included a few lines about the kind of members the company wanted, disclosed no opening and ended with a URL. For potential recruits, it used an irreverent descriptor where others might shower words like passionate.

What it suggests: The ‘inversion’ hinted at personality traits and culture-fit being priorities. The advertiser – which has a misspelled brand name – displayed an atypical nature. Employees in the fashion arena would have to do that, isn’t it?

Simple and no-frills

With barely a whiff of promotion, the frill-less are centred on what they are supposed to. On a Singaporean group’s website, a hiring notice (shorter than a page) for an ICT sales manager was devoted mostly to the work profile. Through a half-pager in a magazine, a Western intelligence agency called patriots with diverse “backgrounds, skills and life experiences” to apply to become operations officers, though it obviously did not outline tasks. However, it laid out several requirements such as more than three years of international business experience, and foreign language skills. “Competitive” hopefuls could expect a “way of life that challenges the deepest resources of an individual’s intellect, self-reliance and sense of responsibility.” The resume and cover letter had to be posted (no email). In a space smaller than the agency’s, an intergovernmental entity’s institution looking for a rector said that s/he -- as chief academic and administrative officer -- “has overall responsibility for (its) direction, organization, administration and programmes”. It mentioned the required credentials as well as desirable qualifications and characteristics, including an “established profile in the international community,” and a “successful track record of fund raising”; compensation with a link to a salaries page; and application-related information. Another by an east Asian university stated a potential president’s qualifications and traits, with the addition that s/he be impartial and apolitical in administration.             

What it suggests: Somebody needs extra hands (or heads). They share a signal, signboard, or flyer which carries the kernel.


While less common than before because of the digital medium, many XXXL spreads favoured not only by private conglomerates would generally profile the company – its background, services/products, achievements, and more -- before saying something about the post/s. Their e-counterparts have room for additional helpings. For example, a Dublin-based industrial manufacturer searching for a product developer not only shared the position summary, main responsibilities, requirements, primary (Bengaluru) and work (office address) locations, shift, employment type (permanent) and other points but also links to a frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) page as well as to an email ID for people needing assistance because of disabilities. A US multinational inviting PhD students to work on an artificial intelligence (AI) project first furnished the basics such as role type (individual contributor) and travel. It then presented a note on AI, what it is doing in this domain, and its plan. Besides describing what applicants should possess and would do once in, it highlighted benefits including investments, giving programmes (matching an employee’s time and money given to charity up to a set amount for both categories per year), discounts on products and services, and “generous time away”. One could click on links to interview tips, accessibility support and other items. The corporation also said that, within legal bounds, it would accept those with criminal pasts, too.                      

What it suggests: Such a notification commands attention or receives admiration depending on its message. While one type is too business-oriented, others seem interested in life beyond. Many of these gateways can pre-empt several questions a candidate might have had for the interviewer. 

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Topics: Life @ Work, #GuestArticle, #Jobs

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