Monday, September 3, 2007

Atrocious Ads: Help Wanted

I perused the want ads in a local free paper this morning (I'm having a book drought and one must read something) and came across a want ad from a company with which I am familiar. I read through the large (and, one would think, expensive) ad only to find this sentence:
“Good PC skills is required.”

Once I'd retrieved my jaw from the floor and re-affixed it to my face , I looked through some of the other ads. I discovered such unusual circumstances as:

“Successful application should have a background in...” Gosh, here I thought they were hiring a person. If they want to pay my paper, I'll be happy to send a resumé. I suspect, however, that they intended to say that the successful applicant will have that background.

According to numerous companies, “this position will...” This is perhaps a more aesthetic objection, considering the limiting nature of want ads, but what these folks mean is that the person who accepts this position will do or have the listed things. The ephemeral, paper-based “position” cannot act.

Then I found the company that feels they are so innovative that they used the word three times in their ad, twice on the same line. They even used the word to describe the person for whom they are looking. If they were that innovative they would have thought to use a thesaurus. Another company described their benefits package as innovative. Pardon me while I doubt.

An ad for a federal agency included the phrase, “the ability to demonstrate experience in a supervisory or management role”. I'm disregarding the fact that it is part of a fragmentary sentence couched between two complete sentences. This is a simple case of word inflation. A far better ad would have read, “supervisory or management experience”. Perhaps they paid for the giant rectangle and needed the words to fill it. Then again, they could have just given the sentence a subject or verb to use up the space.

I won't even touch the Wells Fargo ad that started “Someday, a company that I can grow with.” [shudders] This all goes to show you that HR should not be left to their own devices when it comes to advertising. These things are the first impression of your company that some people get. Have your PR folks read the darn things, Corporate America!