The market for good candidates is competitive and you need to make your job stand out. Candidates are only looking at your job post for about 30 seconds before moving on. You want to make your job ad verbiage a little friendlier and trendier to attract the best candidates. All well and good, but there’s a line between trendy and irritating. Not all buzzwords are dead , but loading up your job post with jargon in an effort to look cooler can backfire:
● 57% of job applicants are less likely to apply for a job with too much jargon
● 60% of job applicants find jargon annoying
● 33% of job applicants find jargon confusing
● 14% of job applicants find jargon intimidating
So dump the field-specific buzzwords that no one outside your office understands. What other words should you avoid in your job posting advertisements?
This is one of those buzzwords people love to use to mean “you get a lot of stuff done.” You want someone who knows how to juggle several kinds of tasks at once, prioritize them, and not get overwhelmed. The reasons you shouldn’t use the multitasking are twofold: for one, candidates aren’t going to look through a job ad, see “able to multitask” and think twice about applying. Everyone thinks they can multitask because most people have multiple responsibilities they juggle all the time. Second, actual “multitasking” (doing multiple tasks that require focus at once) has been estimated to reduce productivity by up to 40%. In reality, having a multitasker on staff could reduce the amount of work you get done (by quite a lot!)
Did you mean: Organized, Focused, Meticulous, Good Work Ethic?
Just like multitasking, a potential job candidate isn’t going to view a job posting looking for a self-starter and realize they’re not the right fit for the job, or look at the job believing it’s going to be a real skill they’re going to have to learn on the job or beforehand. Furthermore, you’re probably not looking forward to having someone describe themselves at a self-starter either, since it’s something employers tend to glaze over as well. It can give a great indication that you expect employees to not need their hands held, but there are better ways to express that.
Did you mean: Dependable, Reliable, Independent, Motivated?
Viral isn’t a terrible word, per se. It works to describe how viruses (or, more commonly in the modern world, anything on the internet) gains traction and spreads quickly to large portions of a population (and gets hits you need). But using it as a catch-all for anything having to do with the internet will dilute your job posting, making it just another word your candidates will ignore. If you’re using the phrase “ viral marketing ” to describe the type of work someone will be expected to do, make sure you’re using it correctly. Most savvy marketers know that you can’t simply make something “go viral”. And those that don’t? Probably aren’t very good marketers.
Did you mean: Social, Mobile, Internet, Web-based, Guerrilla, Low-Budget?
This one might prove to be a bit contentious. Saying you need someone with at least five years of experience in a particular field or with a certain technology is a fair requirement, but with so much literature out there on how to avoid, ignore, and work around this requirement, it no longer holds much significance as a barrier to entry. In the tech field, specifically, there are many individuals with plenty of knowledge and skill with technologies that would make them a great fit for the job, but without the job experience (if they’re just out of college, for example). There’s no replacement for experience, but that doesn’t mean you should hold all candidates to the same time requirement. This is very prevalent in the tech industry, especially among recruiters that don’t know how long a specific language or program has been in existence.
Did you mean: A working knowledge, Proven abilities in, Highly skilled, Proficient?
Crazy Job Titles
You want to stand out and not be the umpteenth list for a “software developer/engineer” but when describing what the job actually is, it’s better to keep things simple. You might know what a “code necromancer” or “App Eviscerator” are, but not all of your applicants will intuit what you really mean. It can work to weed out those who might not connect with your company culture , but there’s the risk of taking this sort of casual language too far.
Maybe your job titles are perfectly normal but lack context. For example, “engineering partner” might mean entry-level at one firm and equity discussions at another. “Lead Designer” could mean one step down from creative director…or the more senior of a three-person team, if your organization has company-specific titles.
Did you mean: An Actual Job Title?
Bottom line? Put yourself in your candidates’ shoes and discover what about your job advertisements sounds…buzzy. And then change it!!