More comedy from the job boards: some amusing mis-uses of English in recruitment ads

My earlier posts about euphemisms used by recruiters got a lot of views so I’m always on the lookout for more comic examples while trawling through job ads in search of freelance work.

This week I was amused by two jobs ads in particular, because their rather careless use of English gave them unintended meanings.

Make sure your application is to the highest standard. You will be surprised at how many people apply with spelling mistakes on them,” one ad instructed candidates.

Too many candidates have spelling mistakes on them, according to an unintentionally comical job ad.
Too many candidates have spelling mistakes on them, according to an unintentionally comical job ad.

Now that’s the pot calling the kettle black, isn’t it? “Will” should be “would” but I’ll let that go. The real comedy is in the use of “them”, with the sentence conjuring up images of hapless job-seekers wandering about covered in spelling mistakes.

Meanwhile, a company it would be impolitic of me to name and shame told candidates in a job ad: “[Name of company] is envious of the media industry.”

Now that is a prime example of a business getting its corporate literature written by someone who hasn’t fully woken up after a night on the beer. (“What a cretin!” a friend unkindly remarked when she saw the line in question.) The statement means quite the opposite of what it (presumably) intended to say. If you are envious, you envy someone else; that’s not what was meant. They should have used the phrase “[Name of company] is the envy of the media industry” – which would mean that others envied it. This is a toe-curling mis-use of English considering it was written by a publishing company.

I also chuckled to see in another job post: “Timidity is not in the successful candidate’s vocabulary.” Nothing wrong with the English, but when I see references like this to people’s vocabulary I just can’t help but wonder: “But can they say ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’?”

Anyway, it would be rude of me not to chuck in a few euphemisms (and my own frivolous interpretations) while I’m on. As usual, these are mostly from journalism- and publishing-related jobs, but they could come in handy in any industry.

You will get full credit for every thing that you do and its [sic] an amazing opportunity for young raw talent…”

= The pay is crap.

Payment details: no pay”

= We’re shysters but we’re honest shysters.

Join or [sic] team work with passion, enjoy.”

= We need someone who can spell and punctuate better than we can.

Impeccable writing and subbing skills despite almost impossible deadlines and workload.”

= We intend to get our money’s worth out of you, before you go off sick with stress.

Ability to work in a 24 hour project cycle”

= You’ll never get home.

The role will involve the editor working alongside an advertising manager in order to balance the creative and informative aspects of the title with the commercial.”

= Leave your journalistic integrity at the door; we write only about companies that advertise with us.

And finally, here’s my nomination for Attractive-sounding Job of the Week, from an online marketing company: “You will be working in a relaxed and fun environment with beer o’clock every week, a meeting room dedicated to playing Mario Kart, a half-day on your birthday and a personal happiness budget.”

I liked the sound of that. I feel I’m rather too old for fooling about playing video games in my lunch break – these days I’d rather go and sit in the park – but the other stuff rather appealed. Not quite enough to compel me to apply for the job – the money wasn’t quite in the right league – but still enough to feel a momentary twang of regret that I wouldn’t be able to find out what a personal happiness budget is. If anyone knows, please tell!

Pic credit: Marin at


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