How to Recognize a Good Employer by Their Job Ad

by Maria Magdaleena Lamp March 07, 2018

Look for these signs in job ads to increase your chances of finding a job (and employer) you’ll love.

Detecting high levels of corporate jargon in this job description.

Look for employers who know what they want from you

Ever come across a company that “doesn’t believe in job descriptions” or is a bit too eager for you to “define your own role?” Defining your own role can end up being an awesome experience, but it might also be an early warning sign that the company doesn’t have a plan.

On the other hand, a clearly defined role within an organization indicates that they aren’t counting on you to swoop in and figure everything out for them.

So look for job descriptions that go into a reasonable amount of detail, such as a handful of bullet points with specific tasks/goals + a solid paragraph explaining how your role fits into the grander scheme of things.

Keep an eye out for employers with a sense of humor

A little bit of fun in a job ad is a good sign of a company culture that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If a company isn’t afraid to express its personality this early in the game, they want you to feel at ease when you enter into a dialogue with them.

Smart employers know and embrace that laughter is a fantastic team building tool and creativity booster. So appreciate the odd pun or witticism you see in a a job ad—as expressions of a company’s personality, they’re an invitation for you to do the same.

But remember that workplace humor also has its limitations

Don’t underestimate an actionable set of core values

In a world where everyone and their grandma strives for excellence, it’s easy to dismiss corporate values as meaningless drivel. But core values are a company’s moral compass—another sign that they’ve mapped out where they’re going and how they plan to get there.

Compare your own values and priorities to a company’s to gauge how well your work ethic will vibe with everyone else’s. Look for values you can actually put into practice. At Jobbatical, one of our most important values is:

Choose difficult truths over comforting lies.

It’s damn hard to follow sometimes, which is why it’s more useful than any vague statements of “integrity” ever could be.

It’s so important that we had it painted on the kitchen wall, right next to the coffee machine.

Find the real benefits behind the fluff

Everybody likes a good workplace perk, but what is it that you really need to feel fulfilled at work? Ping pong tables?


The bells and whistles don’t hurt (at Jobbatical, we’re quite fond of our in-house kombucha brewing tradition and the office swing), but if that’s all a company seems to be offering, they might be trying to distract you from their lack of real benefits.

For example…

Flexible hours: a sign that they’re ready to trust you.

Generous leave policies: they want you to be happy and healthy.

Conferences/courses/other self-improvement opportunities: they want to help you grow.

See if they ever actually use the word “you”

Some companies love the sound of their own voice a bit too much. They can’t stop talking about how they’re changing the world, and you—the insignificant jobseeker—feel like an afterthought.

We’re disruptive! We’re revolutionaries! We’re the best thing that ever happened to this industry AND to you!

Or maybe they insist on referring to you as the individual, or the candidate. It’s a vaguely annoying and dehumanizing quirk you’ll often find in job ads riddled with jargon.

A job ad that talks as much about YOU as it does about US is a sign of humility and heart. Here’s a company that cares about working with you, not just having you work for them.



Disclaimer: None of these signs can guarantee that you’ll love a job, much like a lack of any of them isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. Sometimes a job ad is just a job ad—and you won’t know before you apply.

Now go and find that employer who, like, gets you, you know? Plenty of great gigs waiting on Jobbatical👇

https://jobbatical.com/jobs

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