Just in time for Halloween

7 deadly developer job listings sins

Sarah Schlothauer
job listings
© Shutterstock / Burhan Bunardi

There’s nothing scarier than job hunting….except for the job listings themselves. Here are some of the worst sins that recruiters make when searching to hire a developer.

A chill is in the air, horror movies are on TV, and bagged chocolate bars are on clearance. It’s that time of year again for tricks and scares. However, developers are no strangers to horrors all year round, especially devs looking for a new job.

Here are the seven deadly sins of developer job postings:

Time travelers wanted

“We’re looking for a developer with 5 years experience programming in Kotlin!” 

Job postings can be unrealistic when it comes to experience levels. (Especially when it comes to entry level jobs. According to research from TalentWorks, “61% of “Entry-Level” Jobs Require 3+ Years of Experience”.) But nothing is more unrealistic than asking for years of an experience with a technology that hasn’t existed for that long.

Alarm bells ringing after reading a listing asking for thirteen years Android development experience? Reference this tool to see how old certain tech is.

SEE ALSO: 6 common mistakes engineers can make on their DevOps resume

9 to 5 volunteer work

“This six month long unpaid internship pays you in exposure!”

Exposure can’t buy food. Next.

Jack of every trade

“Position: Junior SysAdmin, senior developer Java developer, software engineer, UX designer, dog walker”

Wearing multiple hats is common, but it becomes a problem when a recruiter starts expecting you to wear the entire hat shop. Whatever happened to having concrete roles?

Can you build us a blockchain?

Okay, so sometimes it’s hard to avoid buzzwords when marketing yourself or an open position. Haven’t we all been at least a little guilty of sprinkling our cover letters with some choice keywords.

However, some job listings are packed to the brim with trendy marketing terms and sound like a doll with a pull-string. You could fill up a bingo board with badly applied cliches (and win with about a half hour of searching.)

(Here’s a hint for job listing writers: You don’t have to mention blockchain all the time if it’s not relevant to the career. Same goes for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Ditto for machine learning and big data. As a matter of fact, do we really need to talk about the cloud in an unrelated job listing? Feel free to chime in.)

Looking for a level 5 Java elf

Studying to become a  full stack magician?

Been practicing your code ninja moves?

Are you a code mercenary? Or a UI/UX Jedi?

What about a code monkey?

A team-playing rockstar samurai with strong communication skills?

Frankly, I’m growing tired of job titles trying to sound like RPG classes or Dungeons & Dragons enemies. (Or at least get creative and give me a Full stack orc or Gelatinous cube coder.) Career titles don’t have to be creative, they should just be descriptive and accurate.

SEE ALSO: How to succeed in IT: Tips for students & recent graduates


“Must have experience with: JavaScript, C, Go, Java, C++, Python, Perl, Fortran, BASIC, Swift, Lisp, Kotlin, COBOL, Haskell, Pascal, PHP, Scala, Ruby, cuneiform, hieroglyphics, Old English…….”

Look recruiters, no one is omni-lingual and I’ve already spaced out halfway through.

Life, what life?

Finally, one of the worst sins of job listings are the long haul hours. The traditional 9 to 5 career is quickly disappearing, and developers are noticing. Endless overtime, weekend work, and sleeping in the office aren’t uncommon. You don’t have to look far to find start-up horror stories or Silicon Valley companies full of burnt out employees.

What’s the worst job listing that you’ve ever seen? Been on a horrific interview? Share your stories with us, we would love to hear!

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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