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The Devil in the Detail.

We ran a little experiment and the result was surprising!

The Devil is in the Detail.

This common but often forgotten phrase is one that gets left out of the thought process far to often when applying for a job.

Be honest, how many jobs have you applied for without having read the entire Job Description?

After a consult with a lawyer and an ethical discussion with our peers we put the Candidate pool to the test, just to see if we could get applicants by running a Job advert that clearly states that the Job is not real but rather a Survey.

We composed a very simple advert for a Human Resources Manager position with a Market related Salary, and the Job Description was just a simple copy and paste that I found on

The Job Description was short, only sixteen bullet points preceded by a Summary.

Nestled within the Job Description, but hardly hidden, were two clauses, the first one appeared as the Sixth bullet point and read:

"This is not a real job vacancy, but rather a survey to see how many people read the full specs of a Job description, see our Afpol blog for the result."

The second ‘warning’ was written just before the end:

"Not a real job, just a survey.

Application will be pointless."

As you read this, it can seem ‘silly’ that people would apply and not heed the warning, never mind that the applicants were all Human Resource Managers, who are trained individuals that understand the legal and communicative importance of a Job Description.

But alas, when it comes to applying for a Job, it appears that even the scrupulous HR Manager falters.

We ran the job advert on one of South Africa’s top Job Portals, for three days, starting on a Friday and ending on the Sunday.

Two Hundred and Eighty Nine people viewed the Advert, and a staggering

Two Hundred and Eight applied!

That is 71%.

71% of the people that viewed the advert applied for a job that had two out of sixteen bullet points stating that the Job is not real!

So what is the lesson learned from the experiment?

What did we take away.

Well in truth, if you read my previous Blog regarding the Candidate Experience, you would have made note that Applying for jobs these days is a Click away, and naturally this leads to Candidates simply skimming a Job Description and Clicking Apply.

But as a Candidate you should stop right there.

Reading Job Descriptions may be pretty mundane, especially at the rate at which people apply for work these days, however you are missing the golden nugget, and that is:

The more Job Descriptions that you read pertaining to your line of work, the better your understanding becomes in defining what it is you actually do.

It is one thing to work day in and day out in a job, it is quite another to be able to put that down on paper or discuss it at a Job interview.

Job Descriptions are the perfect Script!

Learn them, and in so doing you will improve your ability to describe how awesome you are!

And there is a lesson for the Recruiters/ Human Resource Managers here to, and that is:

Keep your Job Descriptions brief, and state your key duties in the summary!

Many irrelevant CV’s could be avoided by writing a clear and neat Summary, placing focus on the keywords that define your ultimate selection criteria.

I sincerely hope that this little experiment of ours has brought Job Applications and Job Descriptions into the conversation, as these two processes are not "mundane" or "an irritation", but rather a crucial part of the Recruitment Process for both Candidate and Recruiter alike.

Amor Legere

Konrad Bryczkowski

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